Tree of life

Explore the basics of electricity and electrical circuits using conductive and insulating dough.


You'll need

1 x toilet roll,
2 x pipe cleaner (large),
2 x googley eyes,
2 x LEDs,
brown string,
dark green dough,
light green dough,
glue

Step 1

Instructions

To make the "tree trunk", coil twine string around the tube. Then, secure the ends with glue.




Materials

1 x toilet roll
twine string


Step 2

Instructions

Roll out green conductive dough into a flat circle, just enough to cover the surface area of the toilet roll.




Materials

toilet roll, green conductive dough


Step 3

Instructions

Roll out green conductive dough into ~2cm ball. Then flatten it into the shape of a leave




Materials

green conductive dough


Step 4

Instructions

Place the rolled out dough on top of the textured part of the leaf. Then press the dough down to make an imprint




Materials

1 x leaf, conductive dough


Step 5

Instructions

Place "leaf" on top of the "tree trunk"




Materials


Step 6

Instructions

Repeat step 3 to 5 to create more "leaves"




Materials


Step 7

Instructions

Now, it's time to make the "caterpillar"! Roll out three 1cm balls using conductive dough




Materials


Step 8

Instructions

Roll out plasticine just enough to cover the length of the caterpillar. The plasticine will act as an insulation layer in between the "conductive caterpillar (negative terminal)" and "conductive leaves (positive terminal)". Without this layer, both of the terminals would touch each other and it'll create a short circuit.




Materials

Plasticine


Step 9

Instructions

Mould the insulation layer to cover half of the caterpillar's head. And make sure that it covers the length of the caterpillar.




Materials


Step 10

Instructions

To make its eyes light up, poke the shorter end (negative terminal) of the LED into the caterpillar. Ensure that there is enough insulation in between the LED pins, to prevent any short circuit




Materials


Step 11

Instructions

Before placing the caterpillar onto the tree, we have to test if it is able to conduct electricity properly. To do so, place the negative plate of the battery pack onto the caterpillars body. At the same time, place the positive plate on the exposed ends of the LEDs. If both LED lights up, it means that you're good to go




Materials

Squishy circuit battery pack


Step 12

Instructions

We're gonna complete the circuit now! Simply poke the exposed LED pins into the leaves




Materials


Step 13

Instructions

Slot in the positive plate of the battery pack in between the leaves. To close the circuit, place the negative plate onto the caterpillar's body. It's eyes should light up




Materials


Step 14

Instructions

(Optional - Make a snail) Roll the ends of two pipe cleaners.




Materials


Step 15

Instructions

Your tree of life is now complete! To challenge yourself, add more insects to the tree!




Materials


Code and References

Completed this tutorial?

Spread the word! Let's get this trending on social media with #letsgethacking #Treeoflife