During one of our summer heatwaves, I escaped indoors and immersed myself in exploring paper circuitry with Chibi Electronics– learning technology through arts and crafts.
Using the Chibi Lights book’s templates and directions I crafted my own unique designs. The book’s instructions are clear but still offer the potential to troubleshoot why a circuit was not working and to look at the negative and positive flow of energy and placement of the LEDs.
By following the Chibi instructions I learnt how to manipulate the copper tape to create switches, different effects and how to use pressure switches. A sense of wonder and curiosity are fostered by the discovery of how energy moves, light diffusion and how lights can be used to tell a story through art and electronic effects. I documented my circuitry in a Google slide show below.
The Chibi website offers a wide range of products with supporting videos to create different circuitry for a range of purposes including STEM stories such as the one below.
Chibi STEM Stories
This STEAM Stories electronics kit introduces you to the story “When Thea LED the Way” to teach and reinforce basic electronics concepts.
The book is set on the planet Penumbra, which sees little sunlight. Penumbrans typically gather their light from fallen stars. However, there is a star drought and with no starlight, people are getting Starloss Sickness. Thea is a star-searcher and is struggling to find light to save her father from Starloss Sickness. To find more light, Thea goes on an adventure.
This book will be your cup of TEA if you like Technology, Engineering, and Arts.
Coding with Chibi Electronics
Continuing with my learning, I have ordered Love to Code Volume 1, where students learn concepts in coding and master the basics of electronics. Students use LEDs, make switches and learn how to create loops and multithreading to design interactive elements.
This looks like a fun and creative way to learn to code that I can incorporate into our new Makerspace and use Maker-Centered thinking routines. Learning includes editing and writing code such as variables and conditional statements and the book’s appendix on debugging helps develop the skills to evaluate, find, and fix problems in projects. Students download code and can edit the code to create different lighting effects. I also really like that the code is also available in blockly through Microsoft Make Code and Chibi Chip.
Chibi electronics extends on the wearable technology course for the Year 6 students. Last year, the Year 6 girls showed the Digital Technology Committee how they had made wearable technology.
To start out making our wearable technology, we, of course, had to plan. We got an A3 piece of paper, and designed our bracelet, bag or whatever we wanted. Once it was approved, we started making and building. We started with our coloured felt, and cut it to size. After we sewed on the electrical circuit, most of us covered it up. Last of all, you put in a battery, flick the switch, and wallah!
Educational Technology for paper circuitry, e-textiles and basic electronics
Chibitronics Vimeo instructional videos
Chibi Blog for more crafty electronics such as this Christmas ornament that uses It has the circuit included the batteries, the melody IC chip, the Speaker, and switch parts.
Connections to ACARA
Design Technologies Scope and Sequence: Engineering Principles and Systems
Years F-2: Explore how technologies use forces to create movement in products (ACTDEK002
Years 2-4: Investigate how forces and the properties of materials affect the behaviour of a product or system (ACTDEK011)
Years 5 – 6: Investigate how electrical energy can control movement, sound or light in a designed product or system (ACTDEK020
Years 7-8: Analyse how motion, force and energy are used to manipulate and control electromechanical systems when designing simple, engineered solutions (ACTDEK031)
Digital Technologies Scope and Sequence: Digital Systems
Years F-2: Recognise and explore digital systems (hardware and software components) for a purpose (ACTDIK001)
Years 3- 4: Identify and explore a range of digital systems with peripheral devices for different purposes, and transmit different types of data (ACTDIK007)
Years 5-6: Examine the main components of common digital systems and how they may connect together to form networks to transmit data (ACTDIK014)
Years 6-7: Investigate how data is transmitted and secured in wired, wireless and mobile networks, and how the specifications affect performance (ACTDIK023)
Years 7-10: Investigate the role of hardware and software in managing, controlling and securing the movement of and access to data in networked digit.