I was invited to give a workshop by the wonderful folks at the Virginia Children’s Engineering Conference to 50 elementary school teachers. Participants built blinky name tags that showed our emotions, learned about how electricity moves, questioned how different LEDs “eat” voltage, collaboratively wrote stories, and created our own interactive storybook covers out of paper, conductive tape, LEDs, and craft materials. Aside from learning these design and engineering skills, the goal of this workshop was to open a conversation on how integrating the design process and narrative-based approaches to STEM can build a more inclusive, interest-driven, and creative learning environment.
If you would like to run this workshop on your own as is, I recommend allotting 2-2.5 hours.
- Welcome! (5 min)
- Warmup (10 min)
- Mini-lesson: How does a circuit work? (25 min)
- Activity: Story generator (10 min)
- Check out StoryWeavers from Institute of Play if you like this exercise
- Design Challenge: Create an interactive cover for your story (45 min)
- Share out and Reflection (25 min)
Here are all the materials you need to run your own Soft Circuit Storytelling workshop! Stay tuned for a fuller description and workshop images.
- Materials List (If you are interested in buying full kits instead, Teknikio and Chibitronics have great ones!)
- Circuit Notebook and Cover Template
- Story Generator Worksheet
If you are interested in learning more about why some LEDs eat more voltage (and lot’s more about Ohm’s law), check out this slide deck. If you’d like to learn more about eTextiles, you can access my course materials for Computational Craft here.