ISTE Standards & NGSS Science & Engineering Practies

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tall Journal with Wooden Covers and Blinking Lights


Like my other creations, I have been working on this book in stages.

This book is 6" X 9", featuring wooden covers, blinking LEDs, and artwork fashioned from copper tape and hand-sewn paper cloth.

While I don't typically use cutesy hearts in my work, I felt compelled to use them for this project. The copper tape on the cover is purely decorative, with the exception of a small piece of foil that triggers the switch.

The signatures are made from lined paper, up-cycled from old student journals.   The end papers are copper-colored.  The front cover currently has a switch that is activated by a clip (the right-most heart).



I have had quite a few little issues come up with this model, which has been a good learning experience. Since I used round LEDs, instead of Lilypad LEDs, I had to drill four holes in the wood and push them all through. As a result, the wires are quite bulky.




When I originally set out to make this book, I'd envisioned the switch being on the inside.  Because the battery is thicker than the switch, I couldn't get enough tension to make it work without a whole lot of fumbling around.

I eventually drilled a hole through the cover, pulled the switch through the front, and soldered it back together.  This works well with the addition of a clip (see below) for added tension.


My favorite feature of this book is the spine, which was fashioned by covering a strip of plywood with hand-sewn paper cloth wrapped with copper tape.

My father cut the boards and spine piece for me back in 2008, so I was thinking about him while I made this.


I initially tried adhering green paper to the inside covers, but the more I worked, the more I disliked the color for this project.  (You'll notice here that a thin piece of paper does not begin to disguise the wires).

I created a clip to help hold the switch connection.


When the heart attached to the blue wire makes contact with the copper on the center right edge of the cover ,the LEDS light up.


 The wires on the inside of the book look bulky (compared with the smooth look of the back cover), even after I applied a layer of felt.




The copper-shaped heart is part of the switch.

I would like to figure out a more elegant way to make a switch, and a way to incorporate the electronics so that the inside of my books look more polished.

How can I make a more elegant switch?









NGSS Framework Practices Addressed

1.  Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
2.  Developing and using models
3.  Planning and carrying out investigations
4.  Analyzing and interpreting data
6.  Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
7.  Engaging in argument from evidence
8.  Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information