LRC Card Game

by Merle Vogel

Merle spent 30 years in the Navy and is now an educational researcher with the Navy Personnel Research and Development Center. Married with two children, Merle describes himself - this is a direct quote - as "bisexual - equally at ease with the Macintosh and with IBM PC's."

Instructional Objective The learner will be able to:

* select the parts needed to complete a simple RC, RL, or LRC circuit.

* calculate inductive reactance given frequency and inductance.

* calculate capacitive reactance given frequency and capacitance.

* calculate the current and power in a simple RC, RL, or LRC circuit.

* calculate the resonant frequency of a series or parallel LC circuit.

Learners/Context U.S. Navy Aviation Electronics Technician "A" (AT "A") School students. Students are learning basic electronics. This game could be used for punctuation or enrichment. It would not be used to teach the objectives, but it could be used to practice and sharpen skills after the students had learned the concepts and principles. Students who had mastered the material presented in the class might play the game for enrichment while the instructor worked with those who needed more help. The entire class might be permitted to play and sharpen their skills.

Rationale The choice of how to use LRC could be determined by student progress. LRC could be played for short periods of time. The cards take up negligible space and are inexpensive. Ideally the game would be interesting enough that students would play it on their own time.

The game would have several levels of difficulty. The levels would correspond to the current stage of student learning. The first level would be the easiest and introduce students to the game. Each succeeding level would incorporate more advanced concepts and relationships. The lowest level has little challenge but the higher levels would be very challenging.

Rules LRC is played like rummy. Each player is dealt seven cards. The cards remaining after seven cards have been dealt are placed on the table face down and one card is turned face up. Players may pick a card from either pile and must discard one card.

The object of the game is to get a run of three cards and a run of four cards that meet the following requirements depending on the level of play selected:

* Level One: Must have a complete circuit consisting of a power source, a resistor, and either a capacitor or inductor (3 cards), and a power source, a resistor, and two capacitors or two inductors or a capacitor and a resistor (4 cards).

* Level Two: The same rules as Level One and additionally, the current rating of the resistor must not be exceeded.

* Level Three: The same rules as Level Two except the four card circuit must be a tuned circuit (must contain an inductor and a capacitor) and the circuit must be tuned to a frequency greater than 1 khz for the first round, 2 khz for the second round. For each succeeding round the circuit would have to be tuned to a frequency 1 khz higher than the previous round.

Another way the game could be played is to deal all the cards out. The players would then play the cards in order. The cards could be played out following the rules of play described above. The fourth player could either complete the circuit stated by the preceding players or start a new circuit.

Card Design Each card has the schematic symbol of a resistor, capacitor, inductor, or power source in its face. Each resistor card also has the resistance of the resistor and the power rating. Each capacitor card lists the capacity of the capacitor. Each inductor card lists the inductance of the inductor. Each power source card lists the frequency and electromotive force of the power source.

Deck Design The deck would have equal numbers of resistor, capacitor, inductor and power source cards. Probably 52 cards would make up a deck. The values of the cards would have to be chosen carefully in order to control the level of difficulty. There might be wild cards.

The challenge for the designer would be to select values for the cards that result in a range of difficulty. With care this can be done so that students with a better grasp of the objectives have an advantage over students who have not grasped the material. This should encourage students to increase their proficiency. It should also result in more competitive play and better mastery of the material to be learned.

Design Process I established the following criteria for LRC:

* The game should be relevant to the project I am working on at NPRDC.

* The game had to meet the criteria of the assignment. After some thought the rummy game came to mind. I showed a draft of this document to a colleague at NPRDC. His remarks indicated I had not described the game clearly enough and led me to realize that it could also be played in other forms. From this I derived the suggestion for an alternative way to play (above).