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Power Park

This series of Power Park books and kits provides opportunities for students, parents, and teachers to explore electrical circuits, power systems, sensors, coding, and microcontrollers in a fun and engaging way.

Each book encourages readers to see how engineering is part of their everyday world with activities that stimulate creativity. The Power Park series aims to help readers gain confidence to use their new knowledge and engineering skills to solve real-world problems. The Power Park books and kits are available for purchase from the National 4-H Supply Service, the e-commerce and mail order catalog unit of National 4-H Council.

Book 1

Explore a Power Park: Paper Circuits is an interactive notebook for investigating circuits and alternative power sources using hands-on paper activities.

Purchase the book: Power Park: Paper Circuits

Purchase the materials kit: Paper Circuits Electronics Kit

Book 2

Design a Power Park: Smart Circuits introduces coding, microcontrollers, and sensors to circuitry projects and explores connections between code and the physical world.

Purchase the book: Power Park: Smart Circuits

Purchase the materials kit: Smart Circuits Electronics Kit

Book 3

Build a Power Park: Lights On in the Neighborhood introduces Adafruit’s Circuit Playground Express; addressable RGB LEDs; temperature, acceleration, and sound sensors; and alternative energy sources to circuitry projects using a three-dimensional neighborhood model that models the power grid.

Purchase the book: Power Park: Lights On in the Neighborhood

Create your Power Park Neighborhood Model Kit before you begin. Make a laser-cut wooden model or a cardboard model. Choose the model type that is easiest for you! Each model kit includes 8 buildings, 1 streetlight, and 1 base. The base has 6 building slots and 1 streetlight slot.

  1. For a laser-cut wooden model: 
    1. Download the Power Park Neighborhood Model Kit Laser-Cut Template under 'Files' below.
    2. Take the template files to a makerspace such as a FabLab. (There are some online businesses that can cut your files and ship it to you, but they are typically more expensive than doing it yourself at a makerspace.)
    3. Laser-cut the model out of 1/4” plywood. The template file needs 24" x 12" sized wood or larger.
  2. For a cardboard model: 
    1. Use any flat, clean piece of cardboard for your neighborhood model! Reuse cardboard from home such as a mailing box or clean pizza box.
    2. Download the Power Park Neighborhood Model Kit Cardboard Template under 'Files' below.
    3. Print the template file on letter-sized paper. You will have 3 separate pages.
    4. Glue the printed templates onto your cardboard and cut along the dotted lines with scissors or a utility knife. 

Purchase the materials: Materials required for the activities in this book are available for purchase through Adafruit, the National 4-H Supply Service e-commerce website, or other online retailers such as Digikey or Amazon. If you purchased kits for Power Park books 1 and 2, you will have most of the items you need. Materials required for Build a Power Park: Lights On in the Neighborhood include:

  • Power Park Neighborhood Model Kit Pieces: 8.5 x 11 inch Base Piece, 8 Building Pieces, 1 Streetlight Piece
  • Assorted LEDs
  • Conductive Tape
  • Scissors
  • Clear Tape
  • Adafruit CircuitPlayground Express, 1 Micro USB Data Cable, AAA Battery Holder with JST Connector, and 3 AAA Batteries
  • NeoPixel Ring (with 12 lights)
  • Solar Path Light
  • Alligator Clip Wires
  • Female Jumper Wires
  • Alligator Clip to Jumper Wires