This week we will design our own Haunted Houses. Whether you think of Haunted Houses as someplace spooky and scary, or silly and funny  – you can make your house to fit you!

In order to prepare our students to make their Haunted Houses, we need to have plenty of materials for students to be creative and we need to give students time to draw out or plan their designs on paper. You can help students get started by asking them questions like “Is it a scary or a spooky house?” or “who lives in the house?”

Materials

  • Boxes (ordered in amazon supply list)
  • Paper
  • Cardboard of various sizes and shapes, both reused and/or buy new
  • Box cutters
  • Cutting mats
  • Markers/crayons/paint
  • Rulers
  • Masking tape
  • Hot glue
  • Scissors

Let’s make a spooky or silly haunted house! Use the things around you to make something awesome!

We suggest you collect the materials and do this portion of the project on day 2, or period 2, of your STEM time. You will talk about simple circuits as described below and you will have students get creative in adding their lights.

Materials

    • copper tape
    • LED
    • coin cell batteries
    • optional binder clips
    • non-conductive tape
    • Template for the simple circuit

How to talk about simple circuits

      • A circuit allows electricity to flow from a power source (e.g., a battery), through conductive lines (e.g., conductive tape, but usually it’s wires) to a “load”, which does something with the electricity, like light up or move. Then it flows back to the battery. The path must be a closed shape. The word “circuit” sounds like “circle,” but it doesn’t have to be a circle; it can be a square, rectangle, triangle, or any other closed shape!
      • A battery has a positive end and a negative end. Some lights, such as LEDs, have a positive and negative side too. In that case, the circuit has to go from the positive side of the battery to the positive side of the LED (the long leg), and from the negative side of the LED to the negative side of the battery.

Step by step instructions

        • Use this template to place your copper tape. The adhesive on your tape is not very conductive, so unlike in the video, use one long continuous piece of tape for your positive side, and bend around the corner. Do the same with the negative side.
        • The long leg of your LED is positive. Bend your LED’s legs open and place the long leg on the positive side at the gap where the LED is supposed to go. Tape it down with non-conductive tape. Tape the negative leg on the negative side of your circuit.
        • Place the battery in the space where it’s labeled to go. Make sure the positive side of the battery (the side with the words on it) will touch the positive line when the corner is folded. If you followed the diagram, the positive side of the battery should face up. The negative side should be touching the negative line of conductive tape. Use a binder clip to fold the corner and complete the circuit.
        • Place the paper inside your haunted house.

Watch this Video and let’s see if you can add lights to your house like these girls make a circuit in their video!

For this activity students will be studying levers. We need them to understand how a lever works and then use that to make a Ghost (or other haunted house character) pop up in one of the windows)

Here are some pictures of levers!

What is a lever?

    • Levers make “work easier by lowering the amount of force that is required to lift or move something!”
    • A lever has a “fulcrum” or “pivot point,” which is the point where the lever rotates/ turns/ goes up and down.
    • Some common examples of levers include seesaws, crowbars, bottle openers, and wheelbarrows (which also have a wheel and axle—a different simple machine!)
    • “To understand how a lever works – picture a playground see-saw. With the heavier object on one end, the lighter (empty) end of the lever was raised up. By moving the fulcrum closer to the heavy end, you were able to use the lever to help you raise the heavier object when you placed a lighter one on the opposite end. This didn’t change anything about the lighter weight – it stayed exactly the same. Moving the lever’s pivot point closer to the object you were trying to lift changed how much force (or work) it took to lift the object. Moving the fulcrum closer to the object made it much easier to lift a heavy object.”

How to make your lever

    • Directions (adapted from Home Science Tools website):
      • Set the lever (popsicle stick) over the binder clip or clay fulcrum. Position it near the middle so that the stick is balanced.
      • Place a weight (glass pebble) on one end and note what happens to each end of the lever.
      • Move the fulcrum (binder clip or clay) closer to the end with the weight.
      • Place a lighter weight (penny) on the other end. If nothing happens, adjust the position of the binder clip/clay (fulcrum) until the heavier end is raised up.
      • You have just made a lever and used it to lift a heavy object with a lighter one!
      • (Directions from here on are no longer adapted from the website)
      • Now make a ghost or other creature for your haunted house with paper and coloring materials.
      • Tape it to one end of your lever.
      • Adjust your fulcrum so that when you press on the lever, the creature appears in a window of your haunted house!
      • Use one of the weights to hold down the lever if you wish.

Can you make a character pop up in one of the windows of your haunted house? There are lots of ways to do it but one way is with a Lever! What is a lever?

We can’t wait to see all of the pictures of your haunted houses!