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Creative Coding and Paper Circuits in the Dual Language Classroom

Change display time — Currently: Central Daylight Time (CDT) (Event time)
Location: Room 346-7
Experience live: All-Access Package
Watch recording: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package

Explore and create : Creation lab

Susan Brown  
Chava Cohen  
Eyal Cohen  
Lev Cohen  
Shoshanna Cohen  
Imani Toomer  
Takia Toomer  

Using free online resources accessible to ages 8-108, we'll build and code circuits, illuminating artworks using LEDs. Language-acquisition design strategies that build bridges between linguistic, cultural and individual identities will demonstrate how all students can create their own paper circuits while building academic vocabulary.

Audience: Library media specialists, Professional developers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: USB C to 3.5mm Headphone Adapter
Topic: Maker activities & programs
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Computer science, Social studies
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
For Educators:
  • Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
Additional detail: Student presentation
Disclosure: The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Students will be able to:
-Use circuit design software to create a parallel circuit, then attach the circuit to a microcontroller designed for use on paper.
-Use the Microsoft MakeCode programming environment to program and control actions of their chosen outputs.
-Make their own hand-made programmed circuit to enhance a story of their own creation.

Teachers will be able to:
-Use their hands-on experience to integrate student artworks, interactive art techniques, and computational thinking into dual-language programs as well as grade 2-12 classrooms across content areas.
-Access and use free resources to support “Tangible, Low Threshold, Low Cost Entry to Computational Thinking”
-Use Language Acquisition strategies that can help support all students as they learn about and create their own circuitry projects out of common items.


10 minutes: Introduction - Slide decks: "We are all immigrants" and "Paper Circuits and Language Acquisition Design (LAD) Strategies"
10 minutes Hands-on and device based
-Explain Language Acquisition template and have participants add their own description of vocabulary.
15 minutes: : Hands-on and device based
-Build a Parallel circuit
20 Minutes: Hands-on and device based
-Circuit Design Software: Demo (Spanish and English)
-Add Language Acquisition vocabulary
-Import an image
-Draw circuit
-Save and email to
15 minutes: Hands-on and device based
-Attach chibi chip to sound and power
-Add Language Acquisition vocabulary
-Navigate to
-Download blink
-Apply to drawing
-Save and share link to doc called iste22papercircuits
or tweet #ISTE22papercircuits
15 minutes:
-Resource page
-Questions Parking lot (Digital parking) Save and tweet #ISTE22papercircuits

Supporting research

Brown, Susan, et al. Makers in Schools: Entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 1 ed., Alexandria, VA,, 2018.

Collier, Virginia & Thomas, Wayne. (2004). The Astounding Effectiveness of Dual Language Education for All. NABE Journal of Research and Practice

Lee, V.R., Recker, M. Paper Circuits: A Tangible, Low Threshold, Low Cost Entry to Computational Thinking. TechTrends 62, 197–203 (2018).

Mellis, D. et al. “Microcontrollers as Material Crafting Circuits with Paper.” MIT Media Lab, 2018,
Mellis-TEI-microcontrollers.pdf. Accessed 25 9 2021

Molina, R. Critical Components of Successful Dual Language Programs Association of Two-Way & Dual Language. Critical Components of Successful Dual Language Programs: Research & Implications for Practice. PDF.

Qi, Jie. “Paper Electronics: Circuits on Paper for Learning and Self-Expression.” Paper Electronics : Circuits on Paper for Learning and Self-Expression, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016, Accessed 26 Sept. 2021.

Sanchez, Isabella. “Project GLAD: So Much More to Learn.” NewAmerica,, 21 June 2015, Accessed 25 09 2021.

Tofel-Grehl, Colby, et al. ``Crafting Circuits Integrating culturally responsive teaching and current events into science.” NSTA National Science Teaching Association, NSTA, 3 2021, Accessed 28 9 2021

Vierstra, Gretchen. “Bridging Content & Language: Strategies from a Dual Language Classroom / by.” Teaching Channel, 15 September 2017, Accessed 25 September 2021.

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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.

Chava Cohen, Chibitronics
Eyal Cohen, Chibitronics
Lev Cohen, Chibitronics
Shoshanna Cohen, Chibitronics

Hi! I am a 16th year educator! I have taught as an elementary science specialist, dual language classroom teacher on both the Spanish and English sides of the classroom, as a project based learning instructional coach, as a guided reading specialist, and as an elementary S.T.E.A.M. Specialist. I have also written published curriculum for multiple organizations. My passion is to help educators find the best hands on, interdisciplinary curriculum and projects to ignite the curiosity and creativity in their students regardless of funding possibilities.

Imani Toomer, Benjamin Foulois Academy
Takia Toomer, Panorama Elementary School

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