This month we combined card-making with circuitry for our latest Be the Scientist program for grades 3-5. We facilitated this program near Valentine’s Day thinking it would help spark interest. Here’s what we did.

We started the program by talking about circuitry, asking participants what they knew about how a circuit works and what its used for. In addition to talking about how a circuit works, we used a Snap Circuits Jr. kit to demonstrate a basic circuit, pointing out the power source, connecting wires, switch, and light.

This bridged into the day’s activity and we explained how basic circuits can be made on paper with specific supplies. We outline the supplies we’d be using: 3V coin batteries as the power source, copper tape for the connectors, paper clips as potential switches, and small LEDs for the lights. We provided a few sample cards, one very basic and the other a little more advanced, to drive home the concept.

For participants who needed more practice making paper circuits, we provided a packet of templates from Tinker Home and printed them in black and white. Otherwise participants were free to make their own designs using cardstock, markers, scissors and tape. Supplies were left on a back table for everyone to gather on their own time.

Some participants chose to draw out their design with the circuit placement as a draft before diving into the card-making supplies. Others wanted to experiment, and were happy to try again when things didn’t work out as intended.

We saw a lot of creativity in this low-key program, and lots of community building with kids helping each other and sharing their designs. This topic is something we revisit often, either in a stand alone program like Be the Scientist or in our STEAM learning space, the BOOMbox.

Have you tried this type of activity at your library? Share your experiences in the comments. And if you haven’t, we hope you’ll give it a try and report back.