Introduction: Light Pollution Park Model Project

About: The Adler Planetarium engages teens, undergraduates, volunteers, around the Chicago land area on real-world research. We hope you enjoy our project developed Instructables!

Light pollution is a serious problem in many major cities all over the world. The excessive amount of light in our cities can disrupt migratory patterns of various animals, such as turtles and birds and causing them to be killed, messing up the delicate ecological balance of the different ecosystems. Also, the excessive skyglow from the lights being on all night has caused disruptions in people's circadian rhythms and is overall detrimental to their physical health. This model project can help simulate how lower level lighting and motion sensors can create a more efficient lighting system that conserves energy and benefits both people and animals alike.

*To fully showcase how this lighting system affects its environment and how it works up close, we created two models. You only have to create one if you want.*


for environmental model:

For the environmental model, in addition to the same supplies listed earlier, you will need a variety of supplies some of which include:
-construction paper of multiple sheets and colors


-20 (twenty) wooden sticks/popsicle sticks

-20 (twenty) jumper wires

-Arduino Kit

-glue stick or tape

Gather those materials in a space where you can work.

for up-close model:

-1 (one) empty vitamin bottle with mouth diameter of 4 inches (big enough to put a toilet paper tube in the mouth and have a tight fit. I used a vitamin bottle but any large bottle works really)

-hot glue gun with multiple glue sticks

-4 (four) wide 6-inch popsicle sticks, cut in half

-2 (two) thin 6-inch dowel rods, cut in half

-1 (one) toilet paper tube/small cardboard tube

-any 2 (two) acrylic paint colors (we used black and white, but you can use any colors you want)

-2 (two) large pieces of thick black foam

-1 (one) pair of scissors

-1 (one) Exacto knife

for coding and electronics:

-1 (one) Arduino kit (the kit we used was a Super Starter UNO R3 Project kit from Elegoo. Any other basic Arduino kit will work just as well)

*The following should be in your kit; if they're not, please acquire them.

-1 (one) 830 tie-points breadboard (any long breadboard will do)

-1 (one) 10K potentiometer

-1 (one) SD card sensor

-1 (one) photocell photoresistor

-2 (two) 220 ohm resistors

-20 (twenty) male wires (just in case, you can never have too many)

-1 (one) Arduino USB cable

Step 1: Up-Close Model: Step 1

Take your pieces of foam and cut out a trapezoid with a top base of 3.5 inches, bottom base of .5 inches, and a height of 3 inches. Repeat 3 more times to get four trapezoids. Then cut out a square with 2 inches on each side. Hot glue the top bases to the sides of the square and hot glue the sides of the trapezoids together. BE CAREFUL! THE GLUE IS EXTREMELY HOT. The pictures attached above should be what your final product looks like. The diagram above shows how the pieces fit together and their measurements, if you need it :)

Step 2: Up-Close Model: Step 2

Take your popsicle sticks and split them in half if you haven't done so already. Then glue the halves to the inside of the trapezoids where the corners meet (look at the attached image if that doesn't make sense). Repeat for the remaining three corners.

Step 3: Up-Close Model: Step 3

Take your dowel rods and split them in half if you haven't done so already. Then glue the halves around the square on the inside of the shade (look at the attached image if that doesn't make sense). Repeat for the remaining three sides.

Step 4: Up-Close Model: Step 4

Time to paint your cone! You can paint it however you want, to be honest; you don't even have to paint it if you don't want to. What we did was paint the wooden details inside white and the outside of the cone black to cover up the hot glue marks and touch up any white paint mistakes. Hot glue can be messy so we used the paint to make our project look more uniform. Once you are done painting your cone, let dry for roughly 30 minutes to n hour, depending on the brand of paint you use. Any acrylic paint works; we used Craftsmart paint.

Step 5: Up-Close Model: Step 5

Now take your toilet paper tube and cut two 1.5 by 0.75 inch squares at the edge of the tube across from one another. Cut 0.75 in down, 1.5 in across. (Look at the pictures above if that doesn't make sense.) If you have larger hands, you can make the holes bigger to allow more room to feed in the electronics. (we have tape on a little part of the tube because it ripped).

Step 6: Up-Close Model: Step 6

Now on that same end of the tube that you just cut the holes out of, measure the part you didn't cut and cut out 2 little foam pieces exactly that length and width to reinforce the cardboard. Hot glue those pieces to the uncut parts (one for each uncut part) on the inside of the tube. Then paint the outside of the tube (we did it white) and let it dry for 30 minutes to an hour.

Step 7: Up-Close Model: Step 7

Now glue in your tube in the center of the square on the inside of the cone. When you glue it in, orient it so that the holes point towards two separate sides and that there's some room between the wood dowels and the hole for putting in the LEDs. Now carefully hot glue it in, adding some extra glue to reinforce it.

Step 8: Up-Close Model: Step 8

Now get your vitamin bottle. Paint it over if you want and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Then put the cone into the bottle, pushing the toilet paper tube in just a little bit so it sticks. You DO NOT WANT TO GLUE IT IN! You want to be able to remove the tube from the bottle to mess with the electronics if you want to.

And bam! You have a lamp. Follow the electronics and code instructions to add them to your lamp.

Step 9: Environmental Model- Step 1

For the environmental model, in addition to the same supplies listed earlier, you will need a variety of supplies some of which include:

-construction paper of multiple sheets and colors


-20 (twenty) wooden sticks/popsicle sticks

-20 (twenty) jumper wires

-Arduino Kit

-glue stick or tape

Gather those materials in a space where you can work.

Step 10: Environmental Model: Step 2

Creating the lamp models:

- First take construction paper and cut them into trapezoids (you'll need 4)

- Then cut 1 square, this will go on top of the trapezoid to cover it up

- Use the tape to put them all together to form a 3 dimensional trapezoid

- Before you tape on the top piece of construction paper make sure you insert an LED (yellow) and poke a hole through the top piece of paper so it can fit through

- Once that is in, you can cut out a rectangle, this will be your solar panel and hot glue it to the top of the trapezoid

- To make the actual lamp you will need wooden sticks and you'll have to glue them together into a lamp shape (as shown in the picture)

- Now that you have everything glued in place, hopefully you have a lamp shaped light, you need to attach jumper wires to your LED's ends

- By now you've probably noticed that one jumper wire isn't going to be long enough to connect to your breadboard, so now take more jumper wires and make a chain long enough for the to connect to your breadboard

- Repeat these steps for the other 3 lamps

Step 11: Environmental Model- Step 3

Now that the lamps are made it's time to create your environment!.

First take the two black pieces of foam and in one place a green piece of construction paper and use your glue stick to glue it down, this will be the park models grass. Then on the other piece of the black foam put a blue piece of construction paper (this will be your sky), then you can cut out a sun and a road to showcase a sunset.

Now that you have both of your black pieces of foam with the construction paper on and glued it is time to connect both pieces into an "L" format using tape, where the piece of foam with the green construction paper is laying down and the one with the sunset in standing up.

Step 12: Environmental Model- Step 4

Now it is time to create the playground for our park!

First grab your remainder wooden sticks and use your hot glue gun to glue them together until you form the shape of a playground.

Make sure to first glue 4 wooden sticks onto your piece of foam with the green construction paper and then make a rooftop and connect that to the base, then you can simply add fun colors to make your playground look more playful.

Then you can also create your own basketball hoop! For this, it's very simple just cut out a piece of construction paper into a half circle and then take a wooden stick and tape it on and there you go you have a basketball hoop!

Step 13: Environmental Model- Step 5

Now you can take all your lamps and hot glue them onto every corner, you can also add in some grass if want to!

You are all complete now! Just make sure you make everything look nice and put together and make sure you have all your sensors connected to the breadboard.

Step 14: Coding

Our code is activated by a lack of light hitting the photo resistor. When the photo resistor senses less light it will allow the piezoelectric to activate and feel for pressure. When the piezoelectric feels a large enough amount of pressure the LED will be turned on while there are people nearby.

Step 15: Electronics Setup

For the electronics the piezoelectric is connected to analog ports A0 and A1. The photo resistor is connected to analog port A2 and connected with wire to the positive side of the breadboard and a 220 ohm resistor connecting it to the negative side if the breadboard. The SD card is connected to everything to record the data.