Light Painting – coding and making project

Our Year 6 students (10 year olds) have just completed an awesome project to design and code their own light painting sticks and photograph the results.

This project served two main purposes. The first was to introduce the students to using the MakeBlock equipment in ways other than the mBot experience they had last year. The second was to use this project and skills to help assist teachers that would be integrating the equipment into other Units of Inquiry through the year.


The basic task was for the students to design a stick using a MakeBlock board and connected LED modules that they would code in scratch to give interesting lighting and colour patterns. These sticks would then be moved and photographed in the dark at a long exposure to create some interesting light paintings. After a little ideating and tinkering they came up with a simple prototype and attached it to some stiff board with copious amounts of masking tape. The students took these initial designs to our Drama Studio, which was completely blacked out. Using an app called Pablo on iPad they tested their sticks and made a few adjustments to them. This was a great opportunity to not only test their sticks but also to think about the types of patterns that would work well. Pablo is a cool app for testing and even exports gif or video files of the actual movement. It’s disadvantage though is the fact it is only using a mobile camera in the dark and the ipads were not mounted in a very stable way. The results were still cool and useful for the next step.

The students then came back to the classroom and re-evaluated their design and code. They made changes to their sticks and coded different brightnesses, colours and patterns for better results. We then took the revised sticks back to the drama studio and shot 3 second exposures on a proper DSLR camera to get some much more pretty results. These looked stunning and were met with plenty of oooohs and aaaaahs from the students when they saw the results on the camera screen. Here are more of the final images below: