Hack Your Notebook with Paper Circuits Reflection

I was introduced to the idea of “hacking your notebook” in a webinar that AKTeach hosted this spring. I had never seen circuit stickers or heard of paper circuitry before. My students create science notebooks in my classes so this was a great moment of discovery for me. I was very fortunate to be invited to the two day workshop during the AKTeach Distance Learning Conference.

Jie Qi, David Cole, Natalie Freed, and Nicole Fuerst
Jie Qi, David Cole, Natalie Freed, and Nicole Fuerst. Our workshop facilitators.
Here is a lesson I plan to do with my students this fall. A much richer path to learner how electricity works.
Here is a lesson I plan to do with my students this fall. A much richer path to learner how electricity works.

During the two day workshop, David Cole from Nexmap  and Natalie Freed  of Telescrapbook shared their work with using electronic circuits, sensors, and micro controllers to create expressive art in paper notebooks. Much of their work has been in cooperation with Jie Qi of Chibotronics. This is an amazing intersection of art, creativity, science and invention.  This was one of the best classes I have attended in a long time. The tools and strategies they shared have inspired me to integrate paper circuits into my students’ science notebooks.

In a virtual class, it is often harder for the students to organize. I find that using a paper notebook can serve many goals from organizing, archiving notes, and allowing for creative expression and reflection. I began to use science notebook strategies with my students eight years ago. Each year my skills in utilizing these notebooks increases. Attending this class has opened up whole new possibilities for evolving the use of a paper notebook with my students at a distance. I love the high tech/low tech approach. It is simplistic in a way that is conducive to distance learning classes. The resources that David, Natalie and Jie shared are so well engineered it will make it easy for me to apply this in my distance learning science courses.

The integration of paper circuitry will enhance my physical science unit on electricity. This was the first time that I had built a parallel circuit and then a series circuit where the conceptual differences really clicked. I have taught this lesson many times before. But with the application of an art project in my notebook, it finally makes sense. I am a very visual learner and this process really helped me understand the foundations of electric circuits at a deeper level. I will be a better teacher of this concept in the future. I want my students to experience this kind of insight into the basics of electrical circuits through creative play.

I love the idea of play, invention and discovery before deconstructing a science concept. This seems like a more natural way of learning. Taking this workshop has also inspired me to explore the maker movement as a conduit to teaching students about science. I am committed to Inquiry Science, but have felt that inquiry science lessons are awkward to teach. The concept of tinkering and building as a conduit to inquiry intrigues me. I think my students will have a greater natural desire to make and create through problem solving as opposed to more formal controlled scientific experiments. These are important, but I think students are missing the opportunity to play and tinker as a scaffold to structured inquiry.

This workshop has inspire me to  plan a unit on electricity using paper circuitry:

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This is a book developed by Jie Qi to help learners create their first paper notebooks. Easy to follow and very hands-on.
This is a book developed by Jie Qi to help learners create their first paper notebooks. Easy to follow and very hands-on.

Draft Unit Oultine
1. Conductivity and Insulation (Multimeter techniques)
2. Learn to use copper tape.
3. Simple Circuits
4. Parrallel Circuit Tutorial
5. DIY Switch
6. DIY Blinking Slide Switch
7. Pressure Sensor
8. Advanced options as desired

Materials
Chibitronics Starter Kit $29
Extra Copper Tape 6
White Extra LED Stickers 19
Color Extra LED Stickers 19
Sticker Effects 19
Circuit Sticker Sensors 29
alligator wires
multimeterziplocs
batteries
small binder clips

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