Arduino Series Blink

This first project in the series shows you how to make a LED blink on an Arduino, and then shows you how to connect it to an external LED with alligator clips.

This activity introduces a great way to get started with the popular Arduino microcontroller by connecting it to CircuitBlocks – a make-it-yourself set of electronic “blocks”. CircuitBlocks essentially are electronic components glued to wood blocks and soldered to nails. You can learn how to make your own here:

This project and the rest of the series leads you through introducing the Arduino hardware, the programming environment and building simple circuits you control with the Arduino LilyPad – a variation of the Arduino that is used for e-textiles. In our circuits we connect things with alligator clips which make it very easy to quickly build and change. These projects also make it much easier for kids and adults to explore computer programming by using a graphical environment (while keeping the text-based programming available).

You can find the introduction to the series here:

Happy City

Happy City is a design activity exploring circuits, conductivity and community. Kids add things to a city model to make it a happier place, using LEDs, batteries and motors (optional) to make their creations do something. Since the kids decide for themselves what would make the city a happy place, they become invested in what they’re making and how it will work. This kind of problem-defining and problem-solving is at the heart of engineering design. The activity can inspire great conversations about electricity or community.

Paper Circuits

Using self-adhesive tape made from conductive copper, create a working light circuit on plain paper, or incorporate electronic elements into art, games, or paper crafts.

Circuit Blocks

This is an activity to help visitors play with circuits and electrical components. Visitors will use alligator clips to explore how to create simple circuits. It is a safe low-power activity. People often do not have a clear idea of how electricity works: they may be unsure if they can get a “shock” from battery-powered circuits. We’re using two 1.5 volt batteries together – adding up to 3 volts – very low voltage.

Ready Set Fly

Inspired by Flugtag, the human-powered flying machine event, we turned our Hands-On Science Workshop into a flying machine shop where you’ll get to learn all about the forces of flight, build your own flying machines, and test them out on our human-powered launcher.