Sew a Circuit! #STEM

Being one of the STEM mentors for my building, I get to learn about, do, & be trained for some super cool stuff! Earlier this week, we learned about e-textiles...wearable electronics. The trainers brought
some examples: backpacks, purses, bracelets, and shirts with LED lights sewn right in (anyone thinking ugly Christmas sweater yet? haha). We actually made a bookmark during the training.

It is surprisingly simple! To do a similar product, you'll need

As part of the lesson on circuits, you can let kiddos explore with the batteries, LED lights, & some alligator clips....can they make their LED light up? Can they get two lights one one battery to light up? Can they get more than two? After they've discovered that you need positive to positive & negative to negative, you're ready to move into creating the bookmark.
Planning is the first step. They'll need to map out their design. Where will the battery pack be sewn on? Where will the LED go? They'll need to map out the line of stitches that will lead from the positive side of the battery pack to the positive side of the LED....& the same for the negative sides. **Make sure that the lines of stitches do not touch or cross. Doing so will cause the battery to short out.**


After planning, you're ready to start sewing. Starting on either the positive or negative side of the battery pack, take at least 3 stitches through the top hole to attach the pack to the felt. Use a simple straight stitch to follow the line of stitches previously planned (I chose a zigzag for mine). When you get to the spot where the LED will be placed, again make sure to use 3 stitches or so to attach the LED to the felt. The three stitches will help make sure that there is a good connection.  Then do the same for the negative side. 

After the pieces are sewn on, you're ready to add the decorative elements. I simply used felt to make a rocket ship on mine. Some people designed theirs with flowers, aliens, monsters, kites, etc.

That's it! It's pretty simple & extremely cool! 
I'm really looking forward to doing this in the classroom with my kiddos! They're going to flip! We're also looking in to the possibility of adding this activity to our Science/Math Family Night. And remember when I asked if anyone was thinking ugly Christmas sweater? How cool would this be as a PBL where kiddos design & create their own ugly Christmas sweater?! How would you incorporate this activity in your classroom or school? I'd love to hear more ideas!