A friend, who knows I want to introduce my third graders to the maker movement, told me about an electronics project on CrowdSupply that she thought might interest me. I have to admit I hadn't heard of CrowdSupply and I know next to nothing about electronics, so I was intrigued. CrowdSupply is a product development platform for designers and engineers. The project my friend recommended is the Circuit Sticker Sketchbook. It was created by Jie Qui, a young woman researcher interested in investigating materials and techniques for combining electronics and art.
I ordered the Circuit Sticker starter kit, which includes the sketchbook and all of the supplies needed to do the projects in the sketchbook.
For the first "Simple Circuit" project, this is what I needed:
I read the clear explanation about building a simple circuit, then followed the template to build my first (ever) circuit and turn on the LED light. The copper tape was very easy to work with.
As you can see, when the page was folded at the corner over the coin battery, the circuit was completed and the light glowed.
The only problem I had was keeping the LED snug against the paper. Since the conductors are located on both sides of the LED sticker, I found that adding pieces of copper tape to the top of the LED sticker helped keep the light on.
I flipped to the next page of the book and the LED lit up a lightbulb. The sketchbook instructions said to draw what the lightbulb illuminates. For me, it was my dream classroom.
There are many more projects in the Circuit Sticker notebook, including Parallel Circuits, DIY Switches, Blinking Slide Switches, and DIY Pressure Sensors. There is also a section for Debugging. In case of difficulties, there is also a Learn section of the Chibitronics website with video tutorials.
At $25 a pop, I can't buy each student a notebook, but I can use it to learn the electronics myself and modify the activities for the students using the Chibitronics circuit stickers, which are available from the CrowdSupply website or from MakerShed.
The Einstein lightbulb image immediately made my think of Genius Hour. Maybe our first electronics project will be for each child to light up his or her own lightbulb and sketch ideas about what he or she wants to learn more about. Kevin Hodgson has a great idea for writing illuminated poetry here. Here is a link to Lou Buran's class's art projects using the circuits. I am looking forward to designing activities using circuit stickers.