Using some basic engineering and creativity, participants will create circuits to power up LED lights on an accessory they’ve innovated themselves!
- A plastic accessory (*For best results, choose an accessory with a wide surface on which you can build your circuit (eg. wide headband, button)
- Foam paper
- Copper tape and LED stickers from Chibitronics
- Hot glue sticks and gun
- Coin battery
- Paper clip or binder clip
Electricity is the energy that comes from the flow of electrons. Batteries are a power source that gives us a steady supply of electrons. Electrons travel along a closed loop or circuit, and prefer materials like metal and water, which are conductive and make travel easy for electrons! Electrons will power our LED.
- Using hot glue, glue foam paper over the surface of your accessory, leaving one end of the foam paper unglued, so it can be used as the battery pack.
- Draw out the lines of your parallel circuit. These lines should be close enough together that the LED fits in between but not so close that the two lines touch. Make one line of tape about an inch longer than the other (this will allow for your battery pack to connect to both sides without touching each other). Assign one line of tape to be the positive(+) end and the other to be the negative(-) end.
- Cut pieces of copper tape to the length of each of the circuit lines and stick the copper tape down along the circuit lines.
- Stick the LED lights in the spaces between the circuit lines, ensuring that the positive end of the LED is touching the line of tape that you assigned to be positive and that the negative end of the LED is touching the line of tape that you assigned to be negative.
- Place the coin battery at the end of the circuit lines, being sure to use the end of the foam paper that is not glued down to the accessory.
- Fold the end of the foam paper together so that the copper lines touch the opposite sides of the coin battery.
- Secure the battery in place by attaching the binder clip or paper clip overtop of the battery. Test to make sure that your lights work.
- In the event that they do not, troubleshoot by checking the following: Make sure that the battery is in the right way (positive touching the positive line of copper tape, negative touching negative). Make sure that the two lines of copper tape are not touching Make sure that the LEDs are all facing the correct way (positive touching positive, negative touching negative).
- Decorate your accessory in any way that you choose!
- Try the elimination version: The person (or group) that gets into formation last, is out. Play until there is a winner.
- If left on for long periods of time, batteries can overheat. Be sure to remove the battery from the accessory when not in use to prevent overheating.
- Hot glue guns also pose a small burn risk, and should always be low-temperature glue guns used under adult supervision.
- Small coin batteries are small enough to be swallowed by young children. If ingested, they can cause severe chemical burns to the digestive tract, therefore, coin batteries should never be given to children under 4 years of age. Older children should be reminded to keep projects containing these batteries away from younger children as well.
In a parallel circuit, electrons flow from one end of an electron source (battery) down two wires (one positive and one negative). An output (like an LED) can be added anywhere along this surface that closes the loop and connects the circuit, giving energy to that output (lighting up the LED). Many outputs can be placed along the wires, each connection gives energy to the output. Parallel circuits allow you to give electricity to multiple outputs (like LEDs) using one battery.
Actua. “DIY Wearable Tech-Cessories.” Actua.ca. Retrieved online from: https://actua.ca/en/activities/diy-wearable-tech-cessories/