Light-Up Wearables

Lindsay @ Strawbees

Incorporate LED lights to Strawbees program them to blink on wearables!



2 x 45-minute Periods

Class Size

30 Students

Group Size

2-3 Students


Learn the basics of flow programming with Quirkbot CODE and make an amazing blinking wearable adding on electronic LED lights. Students will design a simple Strawbees wearable during this lesson or can use a project from a previous lesson. Attach a Quirkbot with LEDs illuminating straws to enhance a hat, necklace, and anything else you can imagine!


USB cables
1/2 sized Straws
1/3 sized Straws
1-Legged Strawbees
2-Legged Strawbee
3-Legged Strawbee
5-Legged Strawbee


Lesson Split Time

Depending on needs, this lesson can be split and taught in two 45-minute periods. With a 15 minute break seperating two sessions for a break or clean-up. An additional 15 minute session at the end is for clean-up.

Stockpile of Cut Straws

Alternatively to letting students cut straws, use a stockpile of trimmed straws, both 1/2 and 1/3 the size of a full length straw, and set aside for students to use for future projects.

Learning Objectives

Begin to understand the possibilities of wearable technology and dive into a building a set of skills to form their own concept.

Introduced to flow programming, a unique way to code with visual clarity and coordination.

Explore the physical principles of sensor interfacing, electrical conductivity, and triggering events.

Understand the process of Invention Literacy, being able to invent from found objects and materials.



Students can register ahead of time with Quirkbot CODE and create an account to save and publish projects. Otherwise, students can log in as an Anonymous User and begin programming immediately.


Before teaching with Quirkbot programming be sure to make sure your classroom internet is setup and you are able to access the You will be unable to create and upload programs.

It is recommended to use Google Chrome to ensure Quirkbot CODE will work.


When plugging in the Quirkbot for the first time to the computer may ask to install a driver. This applies to any Apple OS & Windows Operating Systems.


Charge the Quirkbots ahead of time for students to detach and use for extended periods of time away from the computer.


If a Quirkbot has stopped responding during class you can enable Recovery Mode. While on Recovery Mode the Quirkbot should be detectable again, allowing you to upload new code to it. Before starting lessons with Quirkbot you can familiarize yourself with the Quirkbot Recovery Mode instructions.

Lesson Steps

1. Introduction
5 minutes

Tell your students they are going to make a light-up wearable, nicknamed a blink star with Quirkbot and Quirkbot CODE. They will decide how it will blink and change by programming it. Take this time to demonstrate your pre-made blink star, if you have made one, to show the lumient glow the LEDs make through the straws. Explain to your students that they will design one of these and incorporate it into their wearables of their design.

2. Quirkbot Anatomy
5 minutes

Pass out the Quirkbots to the students and plug them into the computer to let them charge. Students should place the USB cord from the mouth of the Quirkbot to the computer. Have students turn them on once they are connected.

The Quirkbot can be referred to as a creature with arms, legs, a horn, and even eyes! With your students, have them practice and identify which parts of the Quirkbot is the left and right sides of the Quirkbot, then identify the legs and arms.

When talking about the anatomy, we always refer to the parts from the Quirkbot's perspective, i.e. the LEFT ARM is on your right - just like when you stand in front of any other person. Have students practice identifying parts of the Quirkbot for become more familar with the anatomy.

3. Attaching a Dual Color LED to Quirkbot
15 minutes

Pass out one LED per Quirkbot to make sure they can successfully attach one correctly with a Straw.

LEDs can fit snuggly on the horn, legs and arms. They can be are held in place with a straw over it. When putting on an LED, be sure that the longer leg of the LED is on the FRONT of the Quirkbot so it can reach and connect with that metallic surface. The LEDs that came with the Quirkbot kit are Dual Color LEDs you can place on the Arms, Legs, and Horn of the Quirkbot and can be programmed to be blue or red.

4. Connecting to Quirkbot Online
5 minutes

Have your students open the Quirkbot CODE website by this link: and remind your students to open access the website through Google Chrome Browser for everything to work. When arriving to the front page, your students can select Anonymous User to open the platform and begin coding. Be aware that without an account their programs will not be saved if the browser is closed.

5. Programming the Quirkbot with Dual Color LEDs
30 minutes

Have your students drag one Wave brain node and one Dual Color LED output node onto the Quirkbot CODE workspace. *Please note that the LED node is referring to the Quirkbot’s built in LEDs – blue LEDs for eyes and the two green LEDs for its mouth. *

The node to control Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) With two leads and two colors. Like the 3 mm Red-Blue LEDs that come with the Quirkbot kits. It controls LEDs connected to the Arms, Legs, and Head. The light sets the brightness of the LED, the color changes from Red (0) or Blue (1). What would happen if you have a value in between? The place determines where on the Quirkbot the LED will light up. If the LED does not light up, have your students double check the placement on CODE or look at if the legs of the LEDs are oriented in the right position.

The Wave node outputs a continuous wave swinging back and forth. There are a number of different Waveforms (types of waves) that can be selected. The Wave node can be used in many different situations like moving a Servo Motor back and forth or blinking an LED. By changing the type of waves the behavior of the LED's light will change.

Have your students experiment with changing the settings of the nodes and report what they find! Once they light up have your students add one more LED on another limp. To make another light up, they can drag another Wave and Dual LED nodes. Provide the challenge of having students have two different blinking behaviors.

6. Building Wearables
40 minutes

Before testing using Quirkbot, students can begin thinking creatively by making their own wearables. Wearables can range from glowing hats, enlarged shoes, crowns, armor, anything!

For starting to incorporate the Quirkbot into a wearable, have your students think about the bases and what it would take to make it fit and prevent it from sliding around, espeically to prevent the Quirkbot, the heaviest part of the Strawbees project, from making it fall to the ground.

7. Wearable Tech Fashion Show and Reflection
20 minutes

When your Quirkbot is successfully lighting up that way you like, detach from the computer attach it to your Strawbees wearable!

When your students are finished with their projects, have a wearable fashion show. Have students gather in the hallway or start a parade in your current classroom by turning off the lights.

After the fashion show, ask your students what their thoughts were on the design process of making the wearable and programming the behavior to make it accurately reflect what they wanted. Ask your students, if they were to try to improve their designs by making another version of their wearable using additional materials, what would it be?

After finishing, make sure to turn off the Quirkbots and recharge them for the next project!


A woren item, ranging from something that can be woren on your head, shoulders, arms, legs, etc,
To make a draft of an idea where additional versions of it will be developed.
Electronic Circuit
An electronic circuit is composed of individual electronic components, such as resistors, transistors, capacitors, inductors and diodes, connected by conductive wires or traces through which electric current can flow.
A plan for the work process in the creation of a system, object, or interaction.
The combination of various artistic media, usually in the digital arts.

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