Paper Circuit Greeting Cards

Our school Maker Club has been working with electric circuits: Squishy Circuits, Makey Makey, Circuit Scribe, and Little Bits.  Since it seems important that a Maker Club actually make something, paper circuit greeting cards became a goal.

As usual, the project was harder than I anticipated.  For some reason, I thought that there would be lots of simple instructions on the web; I knew I hadn’t just dreamed up the idea.  But when it came down to it, most of the instructions looked a bit too complicated for our group of 24 second through fourth graders.  You can judge for yourself:

We don’t have a soldering iron, and I didn’t like the look of binder clips on a greeting card, so I pulled together what I’d learned from the above resources, and came up with a variation that would work for us.  First we made Mother’s Day cards.  Next I came up with a prototype for Father’s Day cards that they can make at home using the supplies we have provided in a baggie.

The main items you need to make this work are:

  • Copper Tape (available on Amazon.com) – about 6-8 inches for each card
  • LED Stickers (available at Maker Shed or Chibitronics) NOTE: You can also use LED’s with resistors instead of the stickers. – 1 for each card
  • Coin Cell 3V batteries (available on Amazon.com) – 1 for each card

Chibitronics has a good Starter Kit that is available at several online stores.  It includes a “Sketchbook” which you can also download for free here.  We introduced the students to what we were going to be doing by having them do the simple circuit on page 20.

The hardest thing for the young ones is keeping the copper tape in one piece around the corners.  Instead of cutting it for your corners, you need to fold it over itself to ensure conductivity continues.

Noticing their difficulty, and worried about time constraints for the Mother’s Day cards, I went ahead and applied the copper tape to the die-cut hearts ahead of time.  The students added the rest.  You can see some of the results below.

Each student had 2 die-cut hearts – the bottom one with the circuit and a top one that they wrote on and I punched a hole in. To affix the battery to the bottom, they used glue dots (be careful that the dot is not too high or it will keep the battery from connecting with the tape).  To affix the top heart to the bottom we used foam mounting squares similar to these.

I didn’t want to leave fathers out, but we only have one more Maker Club meeting.  So, I made a new prototype and we will be giving the students these instructions along with the pieces for assembly.  The basic circuit construction is the same as the Mother’s Day card.  I plan to encourage the students to make their own design, but I know that many of the younger ones, in particular, will prefer having some guidelines.

If you are interested in the “Everything is Awesome” portion of the card, here is a free printable.

You can find more “Make” ideas on this Pinterest Board.

 

4 Replies to “Paper Circuit Greeting Cards”

  1. Dr. Bob- Blog Curator – Bob’s has focused his expertise in technology integration in the K-12 community and teacher education. This expertise touches many different aspects of technology and learning. Areas of particular interest include: Learning, Computational Thinking and STEM, Mobile Learning, 1:1 technology initiatives, problem and project- based learning. Bob's experiences have been enhanced through collaborations with Bonnie Bracey-Sutton who formerly worked as President Clinton’s 21 Century Educator and Raymond Rose who formerly was part of the Concord Consortium, a non profit research and development corporation and the lead institution in developing one of the first virtual high schools in the nation. Other important influences include work at Learning Sciences Research Institute as Senior Research Associate at the University of Illinois Chicago where he was involved with studies of best practices of teacher education and technology. Additional experiences include, working with John Bransford at Vanderbilt University’s Learning Technology Center as Project Coordinator for the school’s Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology Grant (PT3). The grant, national in scope, was responsible for disseminating and helping to implement research on learning and technology into grant activities and the activities of grant partners. Bob now heads up the IRIS Connect project at the University of Mississippi and is part of the Mobile Learning Portal Project at the University of Texas - Austin. The Portal project involves Dr. Paul Resta, who holds the Ruth Knight Millikan Centennial Professorship in Instructional Technology and serves as Director of the Learning Technology Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
    Dr. Bob- Blog Curator says:

    Reblogged this on The Sharing Tree.

  2. Heidi Hisrich – Richmond, IN – I am a mother of 2 little science gals, Dr. Pickle and Dr. Bug and a high school PLTW Biomedical Sciences teacher. In my spare time I run Science Saturdays for little kids and Camp Biomed for bigger ones. I'm extremely passionate about helping kids develop a love of Science!
    Heidi Hisrich says:

    Oh my goodness! I just did paper circuits at a science Saturday for local kids and they loved it!! Awesome! I’d encourage you to check out http://www.MMMysteryScience.com for some more science maker activities you could do!

    1. Terri Eichholz – Terri is a curriculum and tech integration specialist, speaker, and author with a passion for engaging and empowering learners. She delivers engaging professional learning, consultations on a variety of educational needs, and professional articles for various outlets . Find out more about Terri on the About page in the site menu.
      engagetheirminds says:

      Thank you for that link! I just subscribed!

      1. Heidi Hisrich – Richmond, IN – I am a mother of 2 little science gals, Dr. Pickle and Dr. Bug and a high school PLTW Biomedical Sciences teacher. In my spare time I run Science Saturdays for little kids and Camp Biomed for bigger ones. I'm extremely passionate about helping kids develop a love of Science!
        Heidi Hisrich says:

        Awesome! Looking forward to learning from you.

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