Holy moly... you're going to give everyone STEAM envy with this project (and your kiddos will THANK you for this blast of a STEAM time)! We took one of our favorite old wire face sculpture projects and STEAM'd it up even more by adding a circuit element to it with this crazy cool project!
This project was originally designed to be an extension of a circuit/electricity unit being done by our 5th graders in their classrooms (I am the art teacher :)). Unbeknownst to me, our 5th grade classes got delayed this year and suddenly I was teaching the circuits to the kiddos for the first time with this project! Although this project is IDEALLY an extension project, we found that it can certainly be used to successfully teach and inspire first-time-circuit-kiddos, too. I include VERY simple visuals for basic circuits and LEDs, which our kiddos found to be very helpful. From the visuals, basic instructions and experimentation, my students were able to get a basic understanding of positive, negative, open-circuit (doesn't work), closed circuit (does work), energy flow, conductors, LED bulbs with 'leads' and button batteries. If you are new to circuits and teaching students who are not familiar with circuits, you will likely want to familiarize yourself with the topic beyond the resources I provide in this project.
This project is not filled with concrete step-by-step instructions, as is the case in most of the lesson plans I post on TPT. This lesson does include basic instructions which focus on the STEAM thinking process (STEAM design thinking sheet included in lesson), guidelines, materials, basic circuits, etc. The ‘teacher’ role in this project is certainly still to instruct, but there is a heavy emphasis on ‘facilitating’ the students as they brainstorm, design, create, expand, test and problem-solve. This entire project can be tweaked to fit your unique time frame, space and student needs/capabilities! I do include a link to my unlisted Youtube video which shows sample finished projects and focuses more on tools, materials, ideas and basic process of creating face design with wire. My students found the video to be VERY helpful, and some students who were either absent or need instructions repeated found it helpful to have the video accessible as needed!
I did this project with my 5th grade students. This project can be successful from as early as 3rd or 4th grade (with simple circuits, in my opinion) on up to the high school level. Students will naturally challenge themselves with these fun materials and with the open-ended nature of the project.
INCLUDED IN THIS PROJECT:
Detailed Material List (beyond the material list in this description)
Sample 5th Grade Standards from www.nationalartsstandards.org
Grading Rubric for Teacher Use (geared a bit more towards art)
Detailed Written Instructions
Link to Unlisted Youtube Video (details materials, basic process ideas)
STEAM Design Process Thinking Sheet
Wire Circuit Portrait Planning Sheet
Basic Circuit + LED Information Sheet with Hand-drawn Visuals
Self-Reflection Rubric + Discussion Questions for Students
Materials you will need (if you have questions let me know! More detailed material information included in lesson)...
Needle nose pliers (+ any other pliers), wire cutters, awls, sculpture Wire (14 gauge or similar, ensure it is EASY to bend/manipulate, we order ours from Blick), other thin wire (find online or at any hardware store, especially for the purpose of ‘anchoring’), extra wire (optional), aluminum foil (optional), tape (electrical tape is preferable, but not absolutely necessary), small LED Bulbs with leads (those little ‘legs’ that come out!), button batteries (ensure compatibility with LED lightbulb), cardboard Squares (7x7 inch or similar size), Post-it Notes (optional, for critique at conclusion of project), glue dots (optional, some students found these helpful in accomplishing their designs), copper tape (optional; we did not use, but there are some cool possibilities with this conductive tape!)
Thank you for checking out this STEAM project from the art classroom of Claire Dunaway Cyr!