Circuit Illuminations - WICO Summer 2019 2.3

On the third day of WICO summer camp this week we focused on constructing circuits both with breadboards and alligator clips, two techniques that will come in handy when we start combining micro:bit with real world electronic components.

We’ve been experimenting with the best ways to introduce the idea of breadboarding in a playful and open ended way that also communicates the basics of the tool. This week we tried out using a cardboard model to give the group a sense of the connection points and gave people the chance to burn out a couple bulbs to show the importance of using resistors.


For the second half of the morning we opened up the activity to something we’re calling breadboard city where people use breadboards to prototype with components like light sensors, home made switches and RGB LEDs.


There were some really cool creations around the room and ideas spread quickly from group to group. One thing that was pretty interesting was the idea of making a blackout LED with sharpie over the top so that only a little color leaked through. This lead to the creation of some really cool creatures like this monster attacking the city.


Another group brought foil switches into the exploration and make a circuit where they could trigger a light by touching aluminum wrapped fingers. All across the room there were some really interesting creations.

In the afternoon we moved on to light play. This week we started by creating short exploration stations with different themes. We moved around in small groups to explore colored shadows, patterns and reflection/refraction before creating individual screens.


Next we moved to building individual light/shadow scenes that would eventually connect to form a large and dramatic installation. It was cool to see how some of the previous explorations from the week like wind up toys made it into the installation.

We assembled the 3x3 grid of light play boxes to specatular effect and then went around the room to head a little about each one of the vignettes.

I really like to contrast and balance between the front and back of the light play screen. They can both be really beautiful and it’s fun to see all of the complex circuits, engineering solutions and unexpected materials that contribute to the designs.