Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Circuitry in STEAM Lab With Conductive Paint #makered #STEAM

4th and 5th grade students in our STEAM lab worked with conductive paint to create simple circuits using LED's and batteries.  We've been studying circuitry and using kits like Snap Circuits, JR to introduce students to the idea.
Before working with the paints, we watched the TED talk from one of the creators of Bare Conductive Paint.
After that, I let the students explore creating their own circuits with the paint.  I challenged them to do one task: Light up their LED.  Easier said than done.  :)

As students explored here were a few of their discoveries.
-The paint takes a while to dry.  As the paint dries, the light bulb grows brighter
-Many of the circuits they created didn't work.  (Our next step will be looking at the ones that didn't work and try to figure out why)
-The batteries AND the LED's had positive and negative feeds.  These had to match up correctly.

Teacher Example
A couple of the things I learned along the way.
-Prepare kids for the time it may take them to figure it out. Support them as they struggle with the  ambiguity and the challenge.
-Let kids share out troubleshooting strategies they discover
-Let kids know that it does take a bit for the paint to dry and start conducting.

Here are the specific supplies we used:

3V batteries with PC pins
Bare Conductive Paint pens
White cardstock
5 mm LED's 

In the next few weeks, we'll apply what we've learned so far and apply switches, create greeting cards, more develop more sophisticated electric artwork.