Improvisation Leads to Discovery at Cecil B. Moore

One afternoon at the Cecil B. Moore branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia our Maker Jawn team had a plan: we would get our makers super-excited to work on getting their shoes to light up with LEDs. Who wouldn’t love that, right?

However, when one of our participants found our supply of alligator clips he asked, “What are these?”

A game changer, for sure!

We went on to explain what alligator clips could be used for and had him play with lighting up an LED with a battery and some clips. After a few minutes of tinkering he began to wonder what else could conduct electricity. We were not really prepared to go through all of our supplies and test their electrical efficiency, so one of our Mentors grabbed the nearest object which was an innocuous, fuzzy, bendy,  pipe cleaner and asked, “I wonder if this would work?”

No one knew for sure until our young Maker clipped on a few alligators and we all found out together, at that exact moment, pipe cleaners are relatively decent conductors of electricity! The Maker Mentor team was excited because we found a new tool, and the kids were excited because they were the ones who discovered this new information!

pipe cleaner

  1 comment for “Improvisation Leads to Discovery at Cecil B. Moore

  1. leslie
    April 14, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Awesome discovery! Pipe cleaners can be used for so many projects, too. Can’t wait to see how kids use them next.


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