Chibitronics Paper Circuits, #CircuitGirls, and Aiding #Girlsintech

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Chibitronics Classroom Pack Review

Whoa! This classroom pack from Chibitronics is the best thing since sliced bread! It has 90 LED circuit stickers and 6 rolls of super skinny copper tape!

If your students worked through the STEM Starter Kit, then this would be an excellent way to get them to start designing their own circuits! This is also an excellent tool to run a paper circuit workshop even if your makers haven’t used the kit since Jie has most of the templates available at Chibitronics for free!

While you can use regular LEDS to make paper circuits, I love how easy Chibi stickers make crafting your own paper circuitry. Plus, they lay flat so it’s easier to make art with them. (I love combining paper crafting and circuits for the ultimate STEAM activity!)

My favorite thing about the Classroom Pack are the super skinny rolls of copper tape. For the last two years, I’ve been telling my students to cut their copper tape in half. This skinny tape is much easier than that extra step, plus it’s easier to lay smooth and fold corners. You can see in the pic below that the tape on the right is half the width of the tape on the left. Plus, since the pack comes with 6 different rolls, you can set out a roll of tape for 6 different tables of makers!

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I can’t wait to do some paper circuits with my students this month at Ryan Library Makerspace!

Chibitronics Effects Pack

I also bought the effects pack and had a great time tinkering with ideas for my May-ker Display I’m working on for the last library display of the year. Pretty sure I’m going to have to write up a Donors Choose grant to get a bunch of these packs for my RHS makers!

Note: I didn’t really have any direction for this paper circuit project, I just knew I wanted to use my new effects pack and creative lettering techniques from this book a student requested for the library. My 5th period aide came up with the quote, and I decided to use my Makey Makey soft conductive tape so I could make a circuit through the lettering. Then for the “night time sky” I attempted some constellations and used the awesome skinny tape from the Chibitronics Classroom Pack. The effects stickers are just plain rad and it didn’t take me long to design a working circuit, but that’s probably because of all of the Lilypad Arduino projects I’ve been working on. I probably wouldn’t introduce this effects pack and this concept to my makers at RHS until they’ve designed many of their own working paper circuits!

My History with Chibitronics

I started using Chibitornics notebooks last year when I realized that I needed to “make” room for girls in my makerspace at Lamar. I wrote a Donors Choose grant and was able to start a girl’s tech group called “Circuit Girls.” Every week for the rest of the semester, the girls and I learned about circuitry by creating circuitry art in Jie Qi’s awesome Circuit Sticker Sketchbook. We learned about simple circuits, parallel circuits, and even DIY Pressure sensors. Jie is so awesome she even has these templates available for free on the Chibitronics site! Plus, I love Chibitronics Circuit stickers so much, I’ve included an entire chapter on Paper Circuits in The Big Book of Makerspace Projects using Chibi stickers as supplies. (I can’t wait for you to see these templates with Aaron’s art! If you look close on the cover, you’ll spy one!!)

The Circuit Girls are Lamar were also my first Donors Choose recipients. Normally, it is hard for a library to budget for consumables. For this reason, I crowdsourced our funding so each girl could take home their circuitry notebook at the end of the school year. One of my favorite things about this was that it not only shared what we were doing at Lamar, but the girls would use their new knowledge to create their own light up thank you cards for our donors. Here are a few of their examples:

At the end of the year, I was happy to hear the students enjoyed Circuit Girls as much as I did! I’m also happy to know that the Circuit Girls are still alive and kicking with the new librarian at Lamar, Kristi Taylor.

Kristi’s Circuit Girls Promo for this school year:

So now you can see a little about why I love this light up notebook.  It’s a great way to get girls involved in STEM.

Whenever I host a workshop, I share Chibitronics templates because paper circuits are an excellent way to learn about circuitry! Then students can go even further by learning to sew circuits, and even further by exploring Arduino microcontrollers to create soft circuit wearables or stuffies. (Yep, we have a chapter dedicated to sewing circuit projects in our book too!)

At my high school, I’m getting girls involved in STEM by running #GirlsinTech camp. This way Kristi and Lamar can hold onto the Circuit Girls hashtag and track their fun. I’m not having weekly meetings yet either as the best way for me to get girls involved is to host afterschool camps that I schedule ahead of time. I’m hoping next year that we can get a weekly club going. During our 1st camp, we tinkered with paper circuits and chatted with Jie from Chibitronics, check out the video below for excellent tips from this artist engineer on paper crafting.

I’ll be speaking more about getting girls involved in maker programming at ISTE this summer! So come check that out too!

Disclaimer: I did not receive any funding or endorsement for this review. Chibitronics sent me this pack after seeing multiple posts on Twitter about my love of paper circuitry!

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