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Can You Create An Interactive Origami Thanksgiving Display?

This STEM challenge aims for students to create an interactive origami Thanksgiving display that includes origami turkeys, pilgrims, and scarecrows. They will use the origami paper circuits kit from Brown Dog Gadgets to make their origami creations move and light up.



  1. Introduce the concept of paper circuits to the students. Explain that paper circuits combine the art of origami with electronics by using conductive tape, LEDs, and batteries to make things light up and move.
  2. Provide students with the origami paper circuits kit from Brown Dog Gadgets and explain its components. Show them how to use the conductive tape, coin cell battery, and LEDs to create circuits.
  3. Instruct students to choose a Thanksgiving-themed origami figure to create, such as a turkey, pilgrim boy or girl, or a scarecrow. Each student will create at least one origami figure, but they can make more if desired.
  4. Guide students to follow the respective tutorials for each origami figure they choose. They can use colored origami paper to add a festive touch to their creations.
  5. As students fold their origami creations, have them integrate the paper circuits from the kit. Show them how to strategically place the LEDs and create circuits using the conductive tape for lighting effects and movement.
  6. Encourage students to experiment with different ways to move their origami figures, such as using small motors or creating mechanical linkages using paper circuits.
  7. Once the origami figures are complete, have students assemble their Thanksgiving display, arranging the different elements to create an engaging scene. They can use additional materials like construction paper or wooden blocks as a backdrop or platform for their display if desired.
  8. Instruct students to test their paper circuits to ensure that the LEDs light up and any moving parts function correctly.
  9. Finally, have the students present their origami Thanksgiving displays to the class, explaining the concept behind their paper circuits and demonstrating how the circuits make the creations light up or move.


Evaluate the students' STEM challenge based on the following criteria:

  1. Creativity and Design: Is the origami Thanksgiving display visually appealing? Did the students incorporate unique elements into their designs?
  2. Functionality: Do the paper circuits work as intended, making the origami creations light up and move?
  3. Understanding: Can the students explain the science behind paper circuits and how they applied it to their origami creations?
  4. Presentation: Did the students effectively communicate their STEM challenge process and the result of their work?

Extension Activities:

Encourage students to research additional Thanksgiving-themed origami figures to incorporate into their displays, such as pumpkins or cornucopias.

Challenge students to incorporate sensors into their paper circuits, allowing the movement or lighting effects to be triggered by external stimuli (e.g., sound, touch, light).

Have students collaborate in groups to create a larger-scale origami Thanksgiving display, combining their individual origami figures into a cohesive class scene.

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