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STEM Activities

STEM Activity: Create a Festive Circuit Centerpiece

Autumn is the season of vibrant hues, colorful leaves and tasty, comforting foods. It’s when family and friends gather around the table to enjoy homecooked dishes and share each other's company.

With this fun at-home activity, your family can create a festive DIY fall centerpiece featuring an LED (light-emitting diode) surrounded by fresh fruit. You can display it on a table in your own home, or gift it to a friend to decorate their space during this season of thankfulness.


Materials Needed

  • Artificial flowers and/or leaves
  • Clay or other modeling material
  • Coin battery
  • Craft materials (e.g., ribbons, pompoms)
  • Floral stick or pipe cleaner
  • Foam block
  • Fruits
  • LED
  • Notebook or piece of paper
  • Pen or pencil
  • Tape

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Grab a notebook and pen or pencil and sketch a design for a fall centerpiece, and add notes about any craft features you want to use.
    • Decide where you want your light to be in your centerpiece (in the center, on the top, off to the side, etc.).
    • Choose what kinds of fresh fruit you’ll arrange around your creation.
  2. Tape the two ends of an LED on either side of a coin battery (long leg to the negative side of the battery; shorter leg to the positive side of the battery).
  1. Tape the LED onto the end of a floral stick or pipe cleaner.
  1. Place the floral stick or pipe cleaner with the LED on it in the center of a foam block.
  2. Cover the foam block with artificial flowers, leaves and other decorations.
    • Stems or sticks on the flowers and leaves can be placed directly into the foam block.
    • You can customize the height of the LED in your arrangement by using a taller or shorter stick.
  3. Consider adding seasonal clay sculptures to your arrangement. You can mold clay into simple shapes like pumpkins, acorns or berries.
  1. As a finishing touch, add fresh fruits like apples, oranges or grapes around your centerpiece.
  2. Display your arrangement in the center of your table, or bring it to someone special as a gift for their home.

    For a fun addition to the gift, consider adding a personalized card or playing Thankful for Invention Trivia!


What Are We Discovering? 

Often, creativity and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) go hand in hand. By sharing a DIY project with a completed circuit that powers a light, you might inspire someone to see what they can create with a little design thinking!

If you chose to add fresh fruit – like crispy apples – that freshness may just be the result of an invention! National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees Sylvia Blankenship and Edward Sisler identified 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), a novel compound that significantly extends the freshness and storage life of fruits, vegetables and cut flowers by lessening the effects of ethylene (a gas that affects the ripening of a flower or plant). We’re thankful for their contribution to fresh produce!


Share Your Circuit Centerpiece With Us!

How did your festive arrangement turn out? We’d love to see it! Share photos with us on Facebook and Twitter, then visit our blog for more fun seasonal STEM activities.

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