LED Pull Tab Circuit Lesson
Grade Level:Upper Elementary and up
Students can create a circuit that lights up, using a small battery, some wire, and LED, and a pull-tab switch that they make out of paper. This lesson describes how to make the pull-tab switch component and how to wire the circuit. The paper components can be made using a personal fabrication system, or can be made with exacto knives and scissors.
- Students will identify parts of a circuit. - Students will create a circuit. - Students will explain how a circuit works.
Science standards vary from state-to-state. Consult your local standards.
- A computer with Fab@School Designer installed - Access to a Silhouette digital fabricator - Access to a printer (color preferred) - Sufficient sheets of 110 lb. cardstock paper - Glue stick - 22 gauge insulated wire, approximately 18 inches per circuit. Black and red insulation preferable for ease of labeling positive and negative. - 3V watch battery - LED lights—3 mm or 1.8 mm LEDs work best - Aluminum foil - Electrical tape. Scotch tape will also work. - A printed version of “Pull Tab LED Instructions and Wiring Diagram (444 KB)" - “Circuit Writing” handout
Ideally, this lesson would follow introductory instruction on circuitry. If not, this lesson may be modified to include the basics of circuits. Pre-lesson preparation: To maximize time-on-task in this lesson, a little preparation of materials will help this lesson tremendously. First, pre-cutting and stripping lengths of wire will save a great deal of time. Once you have made a complete circuit to demonstrate, you can use this as a guide for cutting and stripping more lengths of wire. Also, it may make construction of the circuit more efficient if you line the edge of a table or bookshelf with small pieces of pre-cut tape for the students’ use.
Engage the students’ interest by demonstrating the final product, and explain to them that they will be making their own pull-tab LED light in this lesson.
- Distribute the Pull Tab LED Instructions and Wiring Diagram (446 KB) handout. Students can work alone or in pairs or small groups, depending on the situation. If resources are available, students can print and fabricate their own pull-tab components, or they can be pre-printed and trimmed by the teacher.
- Demonstrate to students the procedure of folding and gluing the pull tab.
- Ask the students to fold and glue the pull tab, and also to insert the pull tab into the bottom sheet. Students can also create a glue a decorative figure onto the top of the pull tab once it is assembled.
- Distribute the materials for wiring to the students. As they wire the different parts together, encourage them to be continually testing to make sure that the light comes on. This kind of testing and troubleshooting is a key part of the engineering process.
- As they complete the wiring, encourage students to experiment with placing conductors and insulators between the battery and the light, and observing the results.
- Once students have completed their circuit, have students design and wire their own parallel circuits. Continue to encourage them to test their connections to ensure that they are done properly at each stage of wiring.
Have your students present their parallel circuits to the class.
Have your students complete the Circuit Writing assignment. (111 KB) The writing should take approximately 30-40 minutes.