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Using Paper Circuits for Creative Prototyping in an Urban Planning Design Challenge

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Saturday, December 5, 12:30–1:30 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Susan Brown  
Barbara Liedahl  
Takia Toomer  

Explore the intersection of art and coding through a “paper city” design challenge! We will begin with an introduction to paper circuitry, broadening ideas about what technology can look and feel like. Participants will then dream up paper cities of their own in response to a group design challenge.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Attendees will need a laptop or tablet with an headphone port and a USB A port or adapter.
Topic: Maker activities & programs
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Social studies, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology.
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.
Creative Communicator
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
Disclosure: The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this workshop is to give educators hands-on practice with a STEAM activity integrated into a social science content area. Attendees will engage in design thinking in the context of an arts-integrated, project based learning activity. They will have the opportunity to build new coding skills through a browser-based simulator, then connect these ideas to “paper prototyping” practices using household materials. They will leave with new technical skills and curriculum resources to bring what they have learned back to their own schools and content areas.


20 min: Introduction to paper circuits. Facilitators demonstrate use of the materials and showcase example projects from classrooms.

25 min: Introduction to the Chibi Chip microcontroller. Facilitators demonstrate small microcontrollers that can control lights and motors, then lead participants through a hands-on programming activity using the browser-based Microsoft MakeCode simulator.

20 min: Facilitators introduce the “paper city” design challenge. Participants use household materials (such as paper, cardboard, and tape) to prototype their ideas.

15 min: Participants share their ideas with the group and discuss applications.

10 min: Presenters share classroom resources, including lesson plans and classroom tips, followed by a closing Q&A

Supporting research

Paper Electronics : Circuits on Paper for Learning and Self-Expression - Jie Qi, Doctoral Thesis

Martinez, S. L., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to Learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

Mountsfield Makersville. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2018, from

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Susan Brown, William Wirt MS

Co-author and co-editor of “Makers in Schools: Entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution” published by Edumatch, Susan has previously facilitated workshops featuring hands-on, constructivist activities at ISTE conferences and other National and Regional Conferences on this topic and on Arts Integration, STEAM, and Technology Integration. Certified to teach K-8, Masters of Instructional Technology, and Admin Certification, L. Susan Brown believes that her youth spent as a 4-Her was a major influence on her hands-on, project/problem-based perspective, and that hands-on, constructivist experience from PK-12 is at least half of a well-rounded education.

Barbara Liedahl, Prince George's County Public Schools

Ms. Liedahl is the Media Arts Instructional Specialist in the department of Curriculum and Instruction for Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland. Her responsibilities include managing, training and supporting Technology Integration and TV Production instructors at the middle school and high school levels, coordinating creative arts technology professional development, and supporting all creative arts supervisors and teachers in general. She also serves on several district and state committees. Embracing the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, Ms. Liedahl promotes cross-curricular collaboration with technology and arts integration, including Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

Takia Toomer, Panorama Elementary School

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