Check out this STEM project perfect for Valentine’s Day. Your middle school students students will love learning about circuits, using their creativity, and creating one-of-a-kind Valentines with LED lights to give to their family and friends. Read on for a step-by-step guide to this illuminating educational experience.
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- Mini LED light bulbs
- Conductive copper tape
- Cardstock or construction paper
- Coin cell batteries
- Crafting supplies
Create Valentines with LED Lights Step-by-Step Guide
1. Introduce the project
Tell students that they’ll be creating unique Valentines with LED lights. Show students a digital or real life example. Ask them to share any initial ideas they have about how they could get a light bulb to turn on when a button is pressed on their card. Also, have students decide who the recipient of their card will be.
Let students conduct research on basic circuitry concepts, including open and closed circuits and insulators and conductors. Show them the materials they’ll use and discuss how they might be used to build a circuit that turns on an LED light.
Give students time to plan out their card. Have them sketch the design for the front of the card, including the placement of the LED (Check out these Valentine’s Day puns for inspiration).
Then have them plan the circuit that will light up the LED when a button on the card is pressed. They should draw and label the copper tape, battery, and lightbulb in their blueprint.
4. Build and test
Provide students with the materials needed to create their circuits. I recommend focusing on building the circuits first, because this part of the project often takes some tinkering. Decorating can happen later. Remind students that problem solving is a key part of STEM, so if their circuit doesn’t work as planned, it’s ok! They’ll be able to make improvements to their design.
Foster critical thinking by addressing common circuit challenges. For example:
- The longer leg of the mini LED (the positive lead) must connect to the positive side of the battery.
- Students may also inadvertently create short circuits when they close their cards.
Encourage students to troubleshoot and refine their designs, promoting resilience and innovation.
6. Add artistic designs
Once the circuit is working correctly, students can spend the rest of their time decorating and personalizing their cards. Encourage students to add artistic touches, jokes, and details that will make their card come to life.
Finish the project by having students share their unique card designs with one another. Then have students deliver the cards to their chosen family and friends.
STEM Benefits of LED Valentines:
- Hands-on learning: Apply STEM principles in a tangible and memorable way.
- Critical thinking: Foster problem-solving skills through circuit design challenges.
- Interdisciplinary integration: Combine art, science, and technology for a well-rounded STEM experience.
- Real world STEM connections: Expose students to the fields of electrical engineering and product design.
- High engagement: Valentine’s Day can be a stressful day in the classroom. Make it easier with this engaging and meaningful project.
Looking for more support with your project?
You’re a busy teacher with a long to-do list. Let me help you check some items off the list! Grab this low-prep project today. You’ll save your planning time and your students will love designing their unique Valentines Day cards. Win-Win.
This resource includes:
- PDF, Google, and Easel versions of the student project packets
- Background videos for students to learn about electricity and how to make paper circuits with the suggested supplies (LED light bulbs, button batteries, and copper tape or aluminum foil)
- Detailed teacher notes that include tips for facilitating the project
- A slideshow to assist with lesson facilitation
- A rubric for easy grading
- End-of-project celebration certificates