I had a great time last week hosting “Circuits for Mom” during lunches at Ryan Library.
Paper Circuits at RHS
I’ve been trying to incorporate paper circuit ideas with my high schoolers off and on all year. In the beginning of the year, I had some success showing students and/or logic with Circuit Scribe and littleBits.
We tinkered a bit with Chibi Paper Circuits too and found that regular LEDS stole all of the voltage from the Chibi lights. (These tutorials are included in this STEM starter kit, but also available for free from Chibitronics.com/learn.
During a graffiti street art unit, I also had this group of students decide to light up our library window with a hand-drawn Pacman game and Chibitronics Circuit Stickers.
Circuits for Mom
But overall, I felt like my students really weren’t getting as excited as I thought they would about paper circuits. (Because paper circuits are crazy amazing to me!! Plus my middle schoolers loved them last year. See this post if you missed it.) With my new Chibitronics classroom kit, I knew I wanted to get as many RHS students coming to the library to make paper circuits as I could. So I chatted with my 5th period aide and we decided to have a “Circuits for Mom” workshop during lunches. She designed a flyer, I hung them up, and the next day, students showed up to make their mothers light up cards for Mother’s Day! We had an extensive week of testing and so no announcements were made. I was worried students wouldn’t show up, but we almost ran out of supplies during the first day! I had to reserve some supplies for participants the next day.
One of my favorite things about workshops like this is that I get a totally different crew of makers. In fact, I have some students that frequent the library ALL the time, but don’t really make things in our makerspace, but these were the kids who wanted to get in on this workshop and make adorable stuff. (Different makers prefer different projects. It’s one of the reasons it is so important to ask your students what they want to do in your makerspace!)
Here is one of my favorite cards that came into existence on that first workshop day. I loved that I was able to capture the progression of the card. This student let the lights guide her art:
Kids loved making these cards. It turned out that to get my high schoolers interested in paper circuits, I just needed to give making a purpose. Instead of using a project from our upcoming book, I had these parallel circuit templates from Chibitronics already printed from a previous workshop. I kept the tutorials out and showed students how to make a parallel circuit with the template. Then I taught them how to hack the template to create a DIY switch with a piece of aluminum foil. We taped the circuitry inside the construction paper card once the students got the circuit to function. Best of all was that moment when the students were able to get creative and make art to accompany the Chibi lights! Some students made art and designed circuitry around it, while others let the circuitry guide their art. Many students got their circuits working first and then took the cards home to make the artwork. I’m going to have to replenish my supply of 2032 batteries because the students are still coming in this week and asking to make cards! I’m hoping next year to combine this activity with teacher appreciation week because high school teachers needs lots of appreciation! 😉
I even made my own mom a card. 🙂
What are others doing?
Are you excited about incorporating paper circuits with your students and curious about what other makers are doing with Chibitronics? Check out some of these rad ideas:
- Middle Schoolers light up Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
- Josh Burker takes paper circuitry to a whole new level.
- Drawing and Painting students combine art with technology.
- Some second graders make Mother’s Day cards.
- Build Your Own Bling at the Tinkering Studio Gala.
- Slugitronics– An Instructable on using Chibi lights to protect your plants.
- Even more paper circuit programming ideas from Ryan at the Tinkering Studio! (I love how we are beginning to see the tinkering of language with this STEAM activity!
Bonus: If you are going to ISTE this summer, Jie Qi and the Chibitronics team is hosting a hands-on workshop!