Today at STEM U we worked with paper circuits. We learned about both series and parallel circuits. The materials we used included cardstock, copper tape, LED lights, 3 volt batteries, and binder clips.
First we made name tags. This paper circuit was very simple and easy to complete successfully. I wanted the dot on the “i” in my name to be the LED light, so all I did was creates straight path from the positive side and one from the negative side of where the battery would be placed. Then I placed my LED, taped it down, and was ready to go! At first it didn’t light up, but that was because I had the battery’s poles facing the wrong direction. So I turned it over and voilà! My name tag was complete.
Second, I attempted to create a more complicated series circuit with four lights and a complicated pattern. I made sure that I followed the guidelines required for creating a successful circuit, but I couldn’t get the LEDs to light up. I tried flipping the battery over, adding another battery, and double checked to make sure that the positive and negative ends of each LED were facing the correct direction, but nothing worked!
I would definitely recommend starting out with a very simple circuit like the first one I made, and then have students create circuits that are a little more sophisticated but that are more certain to work. After they have had success completing each kind of circuit I would give them the freedom to explore different ways to make series and parallel paper circuits.