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The use of project circuits (a photoplethysmograph circuit and a simple audio amplifier), introduced in a sophomore-level electric circuits course utilizing active learning and inquiry-based methods, is described. The development of the project circuits was initiated to promote enhanced engagement and deeper understanding of course content among students. The new activities were assessed by student surveys, student scores on essay exams probing deeper learning, and classroom observations by an assessment specialist. The results are compared to similar assessments made before the introduction of the project circuits and are related to other applications of active learning approaches in the teaching of electric circuits.