Friday, December 20, 2013

The Twelve Days of Science! Day 6: Light Up Rudolph's Nose!

On the sixth day of Christmas Science, my mommy made with me...
Reindeer glowing with an LED!



"Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, had a very shiny nose! And if you ever saw it, you could even say it glows..."

One of our favorite Christmas carols is the song "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer". It's a great song to spark the imagination of flying reindeer with glowing noses to light the way through fog. So, with the holidays approaching, I thought it would be perfectly fitting to make our own light up reindeer, with a bright red "Rudolph" nose!

For this project, you'll need to pick up some LEDs and a small lithium battery (watch batteries will work, but I like to use the batteries that are about the size of a nickel). You can purchase these at any electronics store (Frys Electronics, Radio Shack, etc), most hardware stores (Home Depot, Lowes, etc), or you can buy them online through Amazon!

Materials Needed:

1. Small LED light
2. A small flat lithium battery
3. Construction paper
4. Scissors
5. Glue
6. Tape
7. Pencil


Instructions:

1. Make a reindeer! We used an online template to draw from.

2. Decorate your reindeer! Give it a cute little face and a nice collar.

3. Take a look at your LED. One of the terminal pegs will be slightly longer than the other. This is your positive terminal. The shorter end is your negative.

4. Poke the LED through the reindeer's nose on the front side.

5. On the other side, bend the terminals so you can lay them flat on the battery. It doesn't matter which side (positive or negative) is facing up. Make sure that only the positive side of the battery is touching the positive terminal, and the negative side is touching only the negative terminal.

6. Tape it down and watch it glow!

What's Happening? 

LED is short for Light Emitting Diode. When switched on, electrons within the atoms of the light recombine with elements of the diode. When this happens, extra energy is released in the form of photons. When that happens, you get light!

These work by emitting an intense light at low temperatures. You can have a safe paper craft that lights up, without having to worry about excessive heat!

LEDs are an incredibly inexpensive and safe way to play with electronics with your kids. You can use lithium batteries (please make sure they are out of reach of small children and pets who may swallow them!) to power them, and you've completed a circuit!

Now you've made Rudolph's nose glow!

If you'd like to learn more about electricity and circuit building, check out Adafruit Industries kids series, Circuit Playground! With cute puppets, robots, and little projects in electrical engineering, this who will be sure to delight and inspire your little ones!

Here is the first episode, A is for Ampere:




Happy Holidays!

2 comments:

  1. Any chance of a step-by-step picture tutorial for this one?

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    Replies
    1. That's a great idea, I would love to! Unfortunately, I didn't have time to get the supplies (we ran out of LEDs!). I'll do another post soon on LEDs and different methods of circuit building. We play with them a lot at our library's hacker space, and they're super easy to work with. :)

      I'll post a link as a response to you when I have a new post up for them! :)

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