Essential Question: What will you have to know and do to begin your research?

There are a lot of things that I will need to know and do in order to begin my research. I know what I want to find out, but it’s not easily measurable. So, I am very frustrated. I want and need to know if Chibitronics is something my first graders can successfully use in our classroom. Chibitronics “combines familiar adhesive stickers with electronic components, such as LEDs, sensor circuits, and even a programmable microcontroller, to create a play set that educates while adding some flash to one’s works of art or otherwise mundane birthday cards” (Hoopes, 2014). I want to know if it is something that I can add to my future makerspace for our school or if it is going to be too difficult for students to use successfully. I spent $150 of my own money on Chibitronics and batteries (if I purchase different copper adhesive tape, then it will be even more expensive) so I would really like to be able to use them. If my students can’t use them, then it was a huge waste of my money. I need to know how and if I can make them successful, but without a viable research question, I can’t start or do my research.

If I can come up with research that is measurable, then I will be using arts based research because my students will be using their Chibitronics light up stickers as part of their holiday artwork (cards or pictures for parents). In “arts based approaches, the role of the art or image making takes on a more central role. This is often the case in action research studies when participants are asked to create some sort of drawing, collage, or symbol to express something” (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). I found the website that has many ideas for Chibitronics cards and some ideas even come with an instructional video. I especially like the Glowing Rudolph Card (Carrillo, n.d.). I don’t have the stencil, but I think I could easily come up with one for my students to use. I also like how simple it would be for my students to run the copper tape, because it is very delicate and flimsy. The really great thing about the website is that they have many ideas that my students could use and adapt to work for what they would like to make.


I really believe that Chibitronics are a valuable technology to research if I can find a measurable research question. I think my students are going to struggle, but ultimately love the stickers if they can get them to work.


Carrillo, E. (n.d.). Holiday Card with Chibitronics – Glowing Rudolph Card. Retrieved September 17, 2015, from instructables:

Hoopes, H. (2014, January 22). Chibitronics connects circuits with stickers for entertaining electronic education. Retrieved September 18, 2015, from Gizmag:

Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2016). Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


10 thoughts on “Essential Question: What will you have to know and do to begin your research?

  1. I think Chibitronics are so cool. I’m teaching fourth and fifth grade science this year and would love to use them with my kids when we are learning about electricity and currents, but my school doesn’t have the money and neither do I at this point so maybe we will just get on one of the websites and watch the different movies. I think that would fascinate my students as well, just in a different way. I’m interested to know how your students do with the copper tape and putting these together though, so hopefully it all works out for you and that students overcome the struggles you think they will encounter.


    1. Your students would love it. I wish that funding wasn’t such an issue. It would be nice if we had all the resources needed to introduce our students to creative making and thinking. I learned about Spheros this week and I thought they would be great to have in the classroom. The class set costs $1200 or I could buy one or two at $130 each. Of course, I’d need to win the lottery first because there is no way that I can afford them. It seems the “cooler” the electronic the more it costs.


  2. I definitely understand how you feel when you really want something to work out. As a science teacher I feel like many times I am in a similar situation. Just last year I got a few of the probes from vernier, and I am still trying to figure out how best to incorporate them into my classes.

    I had never heard of chibitronics until you posted about them, but they sound really cool. I don’t know much about them, but I am wondering if you could research something involving engagement levels? To me that would seem to be a main reason for using them. I would wonder if students wanted to keep coming back to experiment with them, or if they would either get frustrated or bored.


    1. I might be able to research engagement levels. It will be interesting to see if students give up when they struggle or if they will come back and try again. Sometimes it is hard to find ways to make things work for students. Have you come up with anything for your probes yet? Can they measure body temperatures? Could you use them to study hypothermia?


  3. I liked that you mentioned your research is arts based. I was thinking of s research question with your topic, it’s really hard. You’re off to a good start and you sound really into it. I hope everything works out for you. Good luck!


    1. My topic is hard, but I really would like to make it arts based. My students love art and are very artistic. Thank you for your encouragement. It really helps when I feel so discouraged.


  4. Thank you for the detailed description of Chibitronics. I have to admit, I had no idea what it was. I can completely emphasize with your frustration. There is nothing worse than having a great idea and then struggling to implement it in the classroom. I too have spend time and money on projects that never it made it to fruition. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor.


    1. I only just learned about Chibitronics this year, but they look both interesting and fun. I am sure that all teachers have the same problem at some point or another. It’s our own personal struggle. It is nice to know that I’m not alone in the struggle and that others have had similar experiences. I am sure even if it doesn’t work out the way I would like, I will still learn from the experience.


  5. I am having the same problem with my research topic as well. You said, “I know what I want to find out, but it’s not easily measurable. So, I am very frustrated.”, and I completely agree! I know that I want to improve student engagement by using student response devices, or clickers, but I really don’t know where to start on measuring their engagement. I know that I can make observations and journal, but the scientist in me wants to look at numerical data, like test scores, to measure the research as well. I hope the literature review helps us all see good ways of measuring our research!


    1. I envy people who have their research question figured out. It is so hard to come up with something viable for me and I’m sorry you are going through the same thing. It is no fun being frustrated so early in the research. I hope it turns around for both of us! I think it would help if you made students answer a survey about using clickers (and they could use the clickers). I love looking at numbers too. I’m so much better at reading numbers.


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