Digital Electronics Detailed Outline
Digital electronics is the study of electronic circuits that are used to process and control digital signals. In contrast to analog electronics, where information is represented by a continuously varying voltage, digital signals are represented by two discrete voltages or logic levels. This distinction allows for greater signal speed and storage capabilities and has revolutionized the world of electronics.
The major focus of the DE course is to expose students to the design process of combinational and sequential logic design, teamwork, communication methods, engineering standards, and technical documentation.
Utilizing the activity-project-problem-based (APB) teaching and learning pedagogy, students will analyze, design, and build digital electronic circuits. While implementing these designs, students will continually hone their professional skills, creative abilities, and understanding of the circuit design process. Digital Electronics (DE) is a high school level course that is appropriate for 10th or 11th grade students interested in exploring electronics.
The following is a summary of the units of study that are included in the course. Activities, projects, and problems are provided to the teacher through the PLTW Learning Management System in the form of student-ready handouts, teacher notes/lesson planning resources, and supplementary materials, including simulations, instructional videos, and online resources as appropriate.
While many students may have been exposed to basic circuits and electricity in a science course, Digital Electronics is typically a unique experience for students because of its focus on understanding and implementing circuit design skills. The course is planned for a rigorous pace, and it is likely to contain more material than a skilled teacher new to the course will be able to complete in the first iteration. Building enthusiasm for rigorous exploration of electronics and circuit design for students is a primary goal of the course.
Unit 1: Foundations in Electronics
In Unit 1 Foundations in Electronics, students will explore the fundamental components, concepts, equipment, and skill sets associated with circuit design. They will learn an engineering design process that can be used to guide the creation of circuits based on a set of design requirements. Throughout the course students will learn about.
Unit 2: Combinational Logic
How do you design a circuit to “do what you want it to do”? The goal of Unit 2 is for students to gain in-depth understanding of the combinational logic circuit design. Student will explore creation of circuits with discrete components and how to simplify these circuits to implement more efficient designs.
Unit 3: Sequential Logic
How do you get a circuit to do what you want it to do, when you want it to do it? Sequential logic introduces students to event detection and memory. Sequential logic has two characteristics that distinguish it from combinational logic. First, sequential logic must have a signal that controls the sequencing of events. Second, sequential logic must have the ability to remember past events.
A keypad on a garage door opener is a classic example of an everyday device that utilizes sequential logic. On the keypad, the sequencing signal controls when a key can be pressed. The need to enter the passcode in a specific order necessitates memory of past events.
These characteristics are made possible by a simple device called a flip-flop. The flip-flop is a logic device that is capable of storing a logic level and allowing this stored value to change only at a specific time. For this reason the flip-flop is the fundamental building block for all sequential logic designs.
Unit 4: Controlling Real World Systems
In Unit 4 students make the final transition from the transistor, to logic gates, to integrated circuits, to PLDs, to the microcontrollers and computers used widely today. State machines and embedded controllers allow student to integrate sensors and motors. This allows us to create circuits that exist in the world around us.