This is one of the 48 projects for our Instructables: Made In Your Mind (IMIYM) exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Houston showing from May 26, 2012 - November 4, 2012. Produced in partnership with Instructables, IMIYM is an exhibit where families work together to build different fun, toy-like projects that help construct knowledge and skills related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while instilling a “do-it-yourself” attitude in kids so they feel empowered to explore, tinker, and try to make things themselves. To learn more, check out the article here.
For this project, we were inspired by the LED Bubble Balls Instructable created by ProfMuggs, but there may be others on Instructables that are also similar. Often, the materials and process for building our projects are designed for use with a large number of visitors (we see over 800,000 annually) and the need to ensure safety in a mostly non-facilitated environment. So, yes, many of these projects have room for improvement in both materials and methodology, which is PRECISELY what we want to encourage the kids to do. So please do share your ideas for improvement and modifications!
Step 1: What You Need
- 1 - CR2032 Coin Battery (available at most stores, but we purchase ours in bulk from Batteries and Butter)
- 1 - LED (available at Radio Shack, etc., but we purchase ours in bulk from Leading LEDs)
- 1 - 12” x 12” Piece of bubble wrap (we get ours in bulk from U-Line, but you probably have some lying around somewhere you can use. If not, go buy yourself something nice and use THAT bubble wrap :-)
Step 2: The Video
Step 3: Step 1 - Fold the Bubble Wrap
Step 4: Step 2 - Roll the Bubble Wrap
Step 5: Step 3 - Prepping the LED
Step 6: Step 4 - Putting It All Together
Step 7: To Use
For an educational environment: the LED Bubble Wrap Ball works because of the “squeeze switch” inside. In order for any electrical circuit to work, it needs three parts: a power source (battery), a path for energy to flow (leads), and an output (LED). The circuit inside the Bubble Ball is open (or “off”) until you squeeze it and press the long lead to the battery. This closes (or turns “on”) the circuit, allowing the electrical energy to flow from the battery through the leads to the LED, turning on the light. Also, the LED Bubble Wrap Ball lights up nicely because the light undergoes refraction and diffusion as it passes through the bubble wrap.