Northern Lights

Make your own Aurora Borealis light show using Sparkles and the Crumble.

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things you will need

The following items from the Discover Computing kit:

  • 1 x Crumble
  • 1 x Battery pack
  • 1 x Sparkle baton
  • 1 x Sparkle
  • 3 x Red croc leads, 3 x Black croc leads, 2 x Green croc lead
  • 1 x USB cable

A computer with a USB port and the Crumble software installed.

Plus,

  • Tracing paper
  • Black card
  • Tape
  • Box with lid
  • Craft knife or scissors
  • Ruler 
  • Pencil
1

Connect the Crumble to power

Use one red croc lead and one black croc lead to connect the Crumble to the battery pack.

2

Add the Sparkles

  • Attach one red croc lead, one black croc lead and one green croc lead to the connectors on the right hand side of the Crumble.
  • Attach the croc leads to the connectors on the left hand side of the Sparkle baton.
  • Next, attach one red croc lead, one black croc lead and one green croc lead to the connectors on the right hand side of the Sparkle baton.
  • Attach these croc leads to the connectors on the left hand side of the single Sparkle.
3

Connect the Crumble to a computer

Use the USB cable to connect your Crumble circuit to a computer with the Crumble software installed.

4

Code the lights

  • Snap a ‘do forever’ loop to a program start block.
  • Tell the Crumble to set the Sparkle baton to a mix of blue and green colours.
  • Tell the Crumble to set the single Sparkle (number 8) to purple.
  • Tell the Crumble to keep the Sparkles on for 100 milliseconds (you will find the ‘wait 100 milliseconds’ block in the Control section of the menu).
  • Repeat, changing the order of the blue and green colours on the Sparkle baton and leaving Sparkle 8 as purple.
  • Tell the Crumble to keep these colours for 100 milliseconds.
  • Turn the battery pack ON.
  • Send your code to the Crumble (using the green triangle) to test it out.
5

Build the frame

  • Draw and cut a rectangle out of the box lid.
  • Measure a piece of tracing paper to fit over the hole and cut to size.
  • Tape the tracing paper over the rectangle hole on the inside of the box.
6

Craft the scene

  • Cut the black cardboard or paper to be the same width as the tracing paper.
  • Draw an outline of a mountain range on the black cardboard or paper.
  • Cut out the mountain outline.
  • Tape the mountain outline to the back of the tracing paper on the inside of the box lid.
7

Prepare the light show

  • Unplug the USB cable from the Crumble.
  • Place the Crumble circuit inside of the box.
  • Tape the single Sparkle to the top of the inside of the box.
  • Secure the Sparkle baton to the bottom of the inside of the box – making sure the Sparkles are pointing upwards.
  • Turn the battery pack on.
  • Close the box.
8

Turn out the lights

  • Take your light show to a dark room to see the full effect.

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