Using LEDs to Make Masks & Puppets that Light up!

Participants will explore basic circuit concepts by investigating how Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) can be powered by coin batteries. They will learn to design and make their own switches and use these to control their circuits, and use these circuits to create masks and puppets that light up. All worksheets and material ordering information will be provided. using LEDs

This workshop will engage participants in exploring the properties of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and using them to create masks and puppets that light up.

Participants will begin by conducting experiments with red, yellow, green and blue (LEDs): How does one make them turn on? How many can you light at once? How can you make them brighter or dimmer? How can you use them to mix colors? These experiences will support a review of basic circuit concepts and optics. Next, attendees will develop an understanding of switches by conducting a “Switch Scavenger Hunt” (or Switch Hunt) to list and categorize switches in their environments. Based on the outcomes, they will design and create their own switches from common materials, such as paper fasteners, bulldog clips and paper clips, and use these to control their LEDs.

The second part of the workshop will focus on creating masks and puppets that incorporate LEDs. These lights can be controlled by visible or hidden switches, such as a switch that is activated when the mouth closes or opens. The workshop will conclude with a discussion of how these activities can play out in classrooms. Both presenters are part of the team that developed the activities and both have implemented them in their own classrooms in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. All of the physical materials are inexpensive, and curriculum materials are available at no cost at http://citytechnology.org/energy-system/electrocity- .


Donna Johnson

Science Specialist, Community School 21

Donna Johnson is the Science Specialist for pre-K through 5th grade at Community School 21, Crispus Attucks Elementary School, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where she has also taught first grade. She has been at the school for 27 years. She has also been an Adjunct Professor at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and a presenter at annual meetings of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). For the past nine years, she has participated in the City Technology Project.

Cherubim Cannon

Teacher, Ronald E. McNair School

Cherubim Cannon teaches pre-K at Public School 5, the Ronald E. McNair School, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where she has also taught 1st, 3rd and 5th grades over the past 14 years. She has conducted workshops at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). For the past eight years, she has participated in the City Technology Project at the City College of New York.