Before we did the logic gates I gave them a few challenge problems. I gave them a truth table and they had to construct a logic gate to produce the result. We used the logic.ly website to demo. Want to try one? Here you go:
Then they made logic gates with play-doh. The materials are fairly cheap. The most expensive part are the batteries and the battery holders (these run about $3). The good news is this activity works well with groups of 3 - 4 students, so you don't need a lot of these.
I personally do not use the insulating play-doh. I am sure it would be helpful, but I barely have time to cook dinner for my own kids this week, much less make craft supplies.
I left the instructions very open ended. Each group got two battery packs, an LED and some play-doh. The instructions were to make an OR and an AND gate, and take a picture of each.
Post on PlayDoh circuit Ted Talk