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Creating a Circuit Puppet is a fun way to learn about circuits, elasticity, and a material’s strengths and weaknesses. Check out my attached PDF with all the instructions for you to use for yourself or for teaching. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or feedback.

Donna
Menino Community Center
Boston MA

Creating a pop-up circuit card is a fun way to learn about circuits, elasticity, and a material’s strengths and weaknesses

Visit http://pbskids.org/designsquad/build/string-puppet... where we learned how to make one without a circuit.

Materials List: (Most of these supplies can be purchased on amazon.com and joanne.com)

  • Card stock paper, variety of colors
  • Paper scraps and arts and crafts bits for decorating
  • Tape
  • Pencils, Markers, colored pencils etc.
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Pin
  • Drinking straws
  • Smoothie/Bubble Tea straws
  • Fishing line (we bought south bend 50 lb monofilament on amazon.com)
  • 5mm LEDS
  • Cr2032 lithium 3 volt batteries
  • Thin conductive wire, we used 26 gaugePanacea Corp florist wire from Joanne.com (even the kid scissors cut it and it is soft and pliable)

Step 1: The Design

Draw, color and cut out 1 large design and 3 smaller designs on card stock paper.

Step 2: Choosing an LED

Choose a colored LED to compliment your design.

Step 3: Putting the LED Through Your Design

Poke 2 holes with a pin and put the LED legs through the holes.

Step 4: Flatten the LED Legs

Bend down the LED legs so they lie flat.

Step 5: The Wire

Cut 2 pieces of wire, 3x the length of the straw.Twist the wire around each LED leg. Make sure the positive and negative sides do not touch. Then tape the wire down. Test to make sure your led to make sure the circuit is working.

Step 6: Attaching the Neck Straw

Put a drinking straw (the neck) through the plus wire and tape it down.

Step 7: Making the Arms

Take 2 additional drinking straws and cut little triangles out of them two – four different places near one end. How many notches depend on how many times you want the straw to bend.

Step 8:

Cut 2 pieces of nylon fishing line, 3x the length of a straw. Tie a knot in one end and put them through the notched straws (the arms).

Step 9: Animating the Arms

Securely tape the nylon to the straw. Tape above the knot. The knot will help prevent the nylon from slipping when you pull on it to animate the arms. Test out your arms, a lot of people smile when they do this.

Step 10: Attaching the First Arm Into the Body

Put the bubble straw through theneck straw.

Put one of the straw arms through the bubble straw. The nylon line should come out of the bottom of the bubble straw.


Step 11: Finishing the Arms

Put the second arm through the bubble straw, position the arms as you want them. Practice pulling them from the bottom to see if they are bending the way you want them too.

When you get them the way you want them tape the connection.

Step 12: Taping Down the Negative Wire

Now tape the negative wire down to the neck and bubble straw.

Have it move over to the front of the straw and end the taping about 2 inches from the bottom of the bubble straw.

Step 13: The Aluminum Foil

Now wrap some aluminum foil around the bottom of the bubble straw entwining the positive wire in it. This will increase the area of conductivity for the switch to connect with.

Cut off any extra positive wire and tape the top of the aluminum foil to the bubble straw. Try not to get too much tape on the aluminum foil so you have a lot of room for the switch to make contact.

Time for a test run. Rest the positive side of the battery on the aluminum foil and the negative wire on the negative side of the battery. Hope your light comes on otherwise recheck your work for a loose connection or a place where positive and negative are touching creating a short circuit.

Step 14: Making the Battery Pack

Time to make the battery pack/switch. Cut out a piece of card stock about 2” by ¾”.

Fold the piece in half. Use a hole punch to make approx. a ½” by ½” hole.

Tape the sides of the battery holder to turn it into a pouch, leave the top open and don’t cover up the hole with tape.

Step 15: Attaching the Battery Pack

Take the negative wire and wrap it into a circle so that it lands over the aluminum foil. You may need to trim it if it is too long.

Tape the negative curled wire to the negative side of the battery.

Slip the battery pack onto the battery and make sure the plus side is showing in the hole. Tape it down to the straw.

Make sure the negative wire is not touching any of the aluminum or you will get a short circuit.


Step 16:

Tape your arm decorations and your battery pack decoration on.

Now try it out. Push the battery pack/switch to light up your puppet. Pull the nylon lines to animate the arms







Step 17: Some Additional Designs

Some additional designs made by the members of our community center ages 6 - 18.

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