Where does electricity come from? Who invented the light bulb? How do cities use this technology today?

These are just a few questions that we hope to address in this interactive diorama, The Adventure of Electricity!

This project was designed for educational purposes so that younger generations can experience a more hands on approach to learning.  In this project, we show the history of electricity through three scenes.  The first scene shows legendary tale of Benjamin Franklin using a kite in order to decipher the characteristics of electricity and where it is found in nature.  The second scene shows Thomas Edison and his trials to create a light bulb to produce light through harnessing electricity.  The last scene shows the city of Paris, in all its illuminated glory.

How kids interact with this educational tool is through buttons which activate different aspects of the scenes.

* For Benjamin Franklin's scene one can press a button to light up a lightning bolt which in turn will raise Benjamin's hair. (Using Flexinol muscle wire to create the movement.)

* For Thomas Edison's scene pressing the button will light up a representation of the first light bulb ever in history. 

* In the last scene, the viewer can light up Paris one sector at a time until the entire city is illuminated.

This was a fun project to work on but also tedious so we recommend allowing yourself plenty of time to build this 3 scene diorama.

Step 1: Building the Bases

The creation of the base is composed of marking, cutting, and assembly.  It will hold all the objects from each scenery.

2 boards at least 24 * 48 inch
wood glue

buzz saw
thin dowels of wood


width = short edge
length = long edge
mark the circle near one of the edges of the board so we can use as much board space as possible using a pencil
the diameter of the circle is 24 inches. measure 24 inches from the length edge of the board and mark on both edges.  then mark the center by measuring 12 inches from one end length wise on both edges of the board and 12 inches width wise on both edges.  Then draw a line across using a straight edge on the length wise marks.  then draw a line straight down the middle of the long part of the board using the width wise marks.  draw a line on the 24 inch marks you made earlier.  Now, with the center marked at the cross points you just made at the 12 inch mark point. tie a string (12 inch) to the pencil and put one end at the center point and the pencil end at the edge of the board. While keeping the string tight draw a circle around the middle.

2.) The circle now drawn use the protractor to mark divide the circle into 3 120 degree zones.

3.) The leftover part of the board should be 24 *24 inch.  You should divide that into two 12 * 16 inch boards.

4.) The other 24 * 48 inch board should be divided into 4 12 * 16 inch boards which should be divide the same way as the leftovers part.  (optional) to make these more aesthetically pleasing one can round off one of the corners using a protractor.

5) cut the circle out using the buzz saw and then cut out each of the 120 degree divisions

6) cut the other 12*16 inch boards out throwing away the leftovers

7) you should now have 3 pieces of a pie and 6 12*16 inch boards

8.) start gluing each of the 16*12 inch boards to each of edge of the pie using the 12 inch edge as the bottom. 

9.) glue the corners where the 1wo 16*12 inch boards meet.  If there is too big of space in between each board then use the dowels as a medium in between each board and then glue.

10.) At the end of this step you should have 3 scenes which look exactly alike.
Grea Scott, 1.21 gigawatts!!!!!
Nostalgia! Very cool!
Yay! XD
This is amazing! I love the lightbulbs you made. :D
Thanks! Aren't they soooooo cute? :D

About This Instructable


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Bio: A group of 3 students from the University of Colorado Boulder who like to make things that think.
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