Exploring Computer Science would like to introduce you to:

An Electronic Textiles Unit in Exploring Computer Science

The Curriculum

In our new curriculum unit, students explore electronic textiles (e-textiles): articles of cloth­ing, accessories, or home furnishings with embedded electronic and computational elements. This curriculum is an alternate for Unit 6: Robotics. After conducting various studies on curriculum design, teaching strategies, student learning, and portfolio designs, this unit is ready for download and classroom implementation by ECS teachers. It is intended to be an alternate unit to either unit 5 or 6.


To make electronic textiles (e-textiles), students first imagine and journal about the project they wish to make, then design circuits that connect a programmable Arduino-based microcontroller with sensors and actuators such as lights and speakers.


Students make four open-ended projects that require them to use high and low-tech materials and hone their crafting skills. Students stitch circuits with conductive thread to create artifacts such as cards, clothing,  murals, and toys that sparkle, connect, and interact.


Students work both individually and in groups to make their e-textiles. Projects blend skills across fields, expanding students’ understanding of what computer science can be and engaging those who may not have realized that it can include their interests.

This unit also offers five modules for more experienced learners:

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Stitching the Loop is a complete package

Unit 6: Electronic Textiles includes a curriculum guide outlining all project activities with detailed information on:

  • How computational concepts and practices are introduced through making e-textile projects
  • How students can document and reflect on their learning by creating digital portfolios
  • How the e-textiles unit builds on other units within ECS, and
  • How e-textiles as a topic connects to CS standards.

In addition, we provide the following three guides to help teachers implement the curriculum with the greatest ease possible:

  • The Technical Guide, which offers tips for constructing and troubleshooting e-textiles projects.
  • A Materials Guide with shopping lists and retail sources for purchasing materials needed for the unit.
  • The Coding Platform Guide, which assists teachers in making decisions about which platforms best suit their classrooms.

The download package for the unit also includes extensive supporting files such as student handouts, starter code, solutions, rubrics, and more.

For more information on the research behind the design and classroom implementation of the ECS E-Textiles unit, please check out this link.

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E-Textiles in Action


Unit 6 Electronic Textiles was developed by Deborah Fields, John Landa, Yasmin Kafai, Tomoko Nakajima and ECS teachers.

Research on various aspects of the curriculum design, classroom implementation and teaching was conducted by Yasmin Kafai, Deborah Fields, Joanna Goode, Tomoko Nakajima, Jane Margolis, Debora Lui, Breanne Litts, Justice Walker, Gayithri Jayathirtha, Mia Shaw, Sari Widman, and Janell Amely.

Funding for developing the e-textiles curriculum and classroom implementations was provided through a collaborative grant #1509245/1510725/1512760 by the National Science Foundation to Yasmin Kafai, Joanna Goode and Jane Margolis. Any opinions, findings, or conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the University of Pennsylvania, University of Oregon, UCLA, or Utah State University and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.