Paper Circuits

This month at our Tinker meeting we talked about paper circuits, LED cards and wearables. This post is going to cover how to get started with paper circuits.

At Evanston Public Library we’ve done paper circuit programs with kindergartners through high school.  It’s a really easy and versatile program that you can adapt to any age group.  To get started there’s some basic supplies you need. I normally purchase most of my supplies from Amazon.com.

LEDs,  copper tape  CR2032 (coin)  batteries, scotch tape (to make the circuits)

Cardstock or construction paper , templates (use Google to find things like a pyramid or house you can use)

Crayons, markers, thumb tacks (to help decorate projects)

Once you have your supplies there’s different approaches you can take depending on the age group.  Here are some ideas for getting started: 

K-2: Have kids color their own picture or use a drawing sheet with the intention that  LED lights will be added to part of the picture.  Explaining circuit basics at the beginning helps. Squishy Circuit Kits of Little Bits are great for introducing concepts.

Grades 3-5: Have kids draw their own pictures or cut out and decorate templates (houses, lanterns, pyramids  etc) .  The have them add the copper tape, LEDs and batteries . At beginning make sure kids understand how circuits work.

Grades 6-12: Have kids draw their own pictures, cut out and decorate templates (houses, lanterns pyramids etc) or design their own piece to light up.  Thumbtacks work great for creating cool patterns on card stock (use cardboard under card stock) to then add the LEDs to. Adding book pages or darker paper also makes cool effects on pieces.

Here are some other resources to check out:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Paper-Circuits/

http://makezine.com/projects/simple-paper-circuit/

https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/the-great-big-guide-to-paper-circuits

http://tinkering.exploratorium.edu/paper-circuits

 

-Renee Neumeier, Evanston Public Library (rneumeier@cityofevanston.org)

 

 

 

 

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