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Use alligator clip wires to connect circuit tiles that others have made. How many different ways can you get a light to turn on?

Alligator clips and tiles

A few things to keep in mind:

  • The basic building blocks: power, input, output. You can even make a very simple circuit with just two tiles: power and output.
  • Electricity flows in one direction. Always connect positive (+) terminals to other positive terminals and negative (-) terminals to other negative terminals. If the tiles you are working with aren’t labelled you may need to try flipping the polarity (that is, the direction) of some of your tiles until it works.
  • A circuit must be closed to work. A closed circuit makes a complete circle. The electricity must exit one end of the power tile and return to the other end. If it doesn’t complete the loop it won’t work — that’s why it’s called a circuit!

Start by making a light you can turn on and off with a switch using a battery tile (power), a switch tile (input), and an LED tile (output)

Open circuit
Closed Circuit

When your switch is “open,” the path of the circuit is broken and the light will not turn on. When the switch is “closed,” the circuit is completed and the light turns on. This is the same as how a light switch works in a building.

  • What other discoveries are you making about circuits and different electrical components?
  • What other working circuits can you make with the tiles available to you?

After you finish, take your circuits apart so others can use the tiles and materials.


As you make your cardboard circuits, share your work with the hashtag #MakerPromise.

Next: Challenge #2