This project looks at the designing and building of a nightlight.  This project is linked to the DT and Computing curriculum. The used of recycled material for the housing can also be looked under environmental studies.

Link back to project page

Curriculum Links bottom of the page

Kit List
USB cable
Power pack (batteries)
LEDs / Sparkles
Light Sensor (optional)
Motors (for second project)
Cardboard / Paper / Plastic bottles for Making
Glue or Tape


Question: What is a nightlight? How might it work? What do you want it to look like?
Get the students to think about the design and purpose of the nightlight. Research on what makes the best colour for a sleep.  Video idea PaperMache “Moon” Nightlight Be careful using balloons as some people have latex allergies. Though you may end up with a whole class full of moons. Great for a solar system project. Swap the battery powered tealight for the Crumble.

Paper Activity: Design a nightlight for their bedroom or for Camping.  Do they need to be different or can they design a lamp for multiple purposes. For younger learners design for a single purpose but possibly look at different materials for improvements.

Draw their design on paper
Label their design including materials and keywords from the curriculum


Tasks 1 and 2 can be completed in any order or simultaneously depending on the size of the team. If this is an assessed piece of work then you may want all learners to complete individual projects.

1. Building the nightlight.  Using the design document as a guide for building the housing for the night light.  Gather all the materials selected.  A cardboard box long enough to house all the components.  Cut a hole for the top of the bottle to fit inside. Glue ot tape in place. If you are covering the environment or recycling then this is a good point for a discussion exercise. Grade 3-6 Lesson from BBC

Things consider:
Light Covering
Housing the electrical components
On off Switch
Making your own on off switch or wiring up a switch or button?
Light Sensor

UK County Council Video on recycling process 5mins


2. Coding the LEDs

Crumble LED "sparkle" code

This simple program is to test that your circuit and all the connected components are working correctly. Debugging: If the LED (sparkle) isn’t lighting up. First check the connection between the crumble and the sparkle. Second check that the battery pack itself as sometimes it can be this that is broken.

Crumble Sparkle code

3. Putting it together.

Crumbleboard & Sparkle

Ensure that the connections are secure. Place the battery pack, the crumble board inside the box.

Disco LightHousing for Night/Disco Light

Wrap Up

All students (groups) should have a complete working Night/ Disco before doing the Show n Tell at the end of the lesson.  This should take about 10mins.

Exit Questions: Depending on what you are looking to asses for this project or lesson.  Example questions could include but not limited to.

What did you use in your program to make the code to contiue all the time:   Loop, Forever loop
What is the name of the process you used when you had a problem that you fixed: Debugging

Where Next

Curriculum Links


USA: Computer Science Mapped Common Core

AUS/ NZ Curriculum

Digital Technologies knowledge and understanding
6.1 Investigate the main components of common digital systems, their basic functions and interactions and how such digital systems may connect together to form networks to transmit data
8.1 Investigate how data are transmitted and secured in wired, wireless and mobile networks, and how the specifications of hardware components impact on network activities
Digital Technologies processes and production skills
6.4 Define problems in terms of data and functional requirements, and identify features similar to previously solved problems
6.9 Manage the creation and communication of ideas and information including online collaborative projects, applying agreed ethical, social and technical protocols
8.10 Create and communicate interactive ideas and information collaboratively (online), taking into account social contexts
8.11 Plan and manage projects, including tasks, time and other resources required, considering safety and sustainability
Design and Technologies knowledge and understanding
6.2 Investigate how forces or electrical energy can control movement, sound or light in a designed product or system
8.3 Analyse how motion, force and energy, are used to manipulate and control electromechanical systems when designing simple, engineered solutions
Design and Technologies processes and production skills
6.8 Apply safe procedures when using a variety of materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques to make designed solutions
8.9 Effectively and safely use a broad range of materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques to make designed solutions
4.9 Plan a sequence of production steps when making designed solutions individually and collaboratively
6.10 Develop project plans that include consideration of resources when making designed solutions individually and collaboratively
8.11 Use project management processes individually and collaboratively to coordinate production of designed solutions