CEP 811: Thrifting/Prototyping

I spent the week tinkering with the Chibi Tronics maker kit, Circuit Stickers, as part of CEP 811 week of repurposing. Our readings this week emphasized the importance of rethinking how to use tools in the classroom to foster creativity and problem solving. Mishra and the Deep Play Research Group (2012) discuss the value of (in)disciplined learning, cognitive-creative skills that cut across disciplines, to foster divergent thinkers. This idea is evident in our creation challenge in which CEP 811 students were require to explore a maker kit and create a prototype activity with thrifted items that could be applied to our content area. Check out my prototype activity using Circuit Stickers in an ELA class.

In my new sixth grade cohort, I have a group of four students performing significantly below grade level in literacy. This group of students have deficits in fluency and comprehension of literature. This activity was designed to support students with summarizing literature through the creation of a summarizing flip book that sequence the reading. Here is a video overview of how to use the kit and how to make one page for the flip book.

Details to recreate the activity are listed below.

Chibi Tronics Kit

This is a $30 maker starter kit consisting of 12 LED sticky lights, copper tape roll, two binder clips, two coin cell batteries, and a Circuit Sticker Sketchbook to provide tutorials of circuits and spark creativity to create original circuit designs.

Sticker Circuits

Thrifted Items

The following items were thrifted from my attic:

  1. Navy blue card stock scraps from my DIY wedding invitations
  2. Double sided crafting tape
  3. Gray frame
  4. Various sized close pins
Thrifted Materials: clothespins, craft tape, card stock, frame

The card stock will be used to build my circuit using the copper tape. I can use the clothespins to attach each circuit page together. The tape can be used to mount images on top of the card stock. I’m brainstorming that I can extend the lesson beyond the flip book to creating some kind of visual to represent the theme of the story. That visual could be placed in the frame.

Activity: Create a flip book summarizing “The Lotus Seed” by Sherry Garland

Materials needed:

3 pieces of 4X5 cardstock

3 pieces of 4X5 white paper

Color pencils

felt tip pen

LED stickers

Copper tape

double sided tape

coin battery

  1. Read the text with students. Model how to think aloud while reading by asking questions, making predictions, and inferring character traits. Check comprehension while reading by asking: Where does the story take place? What evidence supports that? What can we infer about the grandmother’s feelings when the seed goes missing? What clues does the author give you to make that inference? What do the grandchildren learn?

img_50652. Have students create a storyboard to recall the beginning, middle, and end in efforts to summarize the story. Brainstorm what images would best represent each part of the story.

Storyboard and written sequence of The Lotus Seed

3.Create circuit designs that illuminate an important part of the drawing.


4. Draw scenes on larger pieces of paper.

Beginning, middle, and end of The Lotus Seed in pictures

5. Use batteries to light the circuit.

Simple Circuit

6. Tape the scene using double sided tape on top of the circuit.


7. Repeat until all scenes are created.

Middle of the story: Grandson takes Grandma’s seed and carelessly plants it in the yard without Grandma’s permission.

8. Clip the three scenes in chronological order using multiple clothespins.

The finished product is not too aesthetically pleasing with all the clothespins on the side.

Extension: Draw the theme of the story and illuminate it using the circuit stickers. Place the scene inside the frame to display the art.

This prototype has room for improvement. One major component that can be fixed would include binding of the pages. Right now, I am using the clothespins to hold all three pages together, but it is difficult to turn the pages. I’m thinking to trouble shoot this, I could use pre-made bound books that can be found in the dollar section of Target. I have some in my classroom already.  The maker kit only comes with 2 batteries. Another quick fix would be to purchase another battery so that each page could illuminate without having to swap out the battery with each page. Lastly, I need to create switches so that the pages can light up as they are flipped.

Including the multimodal elements to the blog allow readers to visualize the components of my project and help map out my thinking during the creation of the project. Each picture builds off the previous picture, providing a tutorial of how to replicate what I created. Photos could help clarify steps if the language did not effectively communicate ideas.

I look forward to seeing what you have created!


Mishra, P. & Deep-Play Researach Group. (2012). Rethinking technology & creativity in the 21st century: Crayons are the future. Tech Trends, 56 (5), 13-16.

Happy Making,


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