Question Sheet: Weaving with Light


Before reading:

  1. How would your everyday life be different without electricity? 
  2. How does your house get electricity? Where does that electricity come from?

During reading:

  1. Where do the Huichol people live? 
  2. How do they support themselves? 
  3. Name three challenges that the Huichol people face in their lives. 
  4. Describe the Portable Light team’s invention. What does a “Portable Light”

    look like? 

  5. How does a LED differ from an incandescent light bulb? 
  6. Why would it be impractical to use standard solar panels to power Portable


  7. For how long can a fully charged Portable Light glow? How long does it take

    to recharge? 

  8. How might Portable Lights change the lives of semi-nomadic people in

    Australia’s Arrernte desert?

After reading:

  1. The Portable Light team has dreamed up a number of potential applications

    for their invention. How do you think Portable Lights could help people in your

    community or in communities around the world? 

  2. Why do you think people don’t use more LEDs in their lamps at home? 
  3. Research energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs. Compare these with

    incandescent bulbs and LEDs. How are they different? What do they share in

    common? (For more information, see:


  4. Kennedy says that Portable Light textiles can survive a fall of 30 feet. If

    you really wanted to test the endurance of this material, what kind of

    experiments would you design? 

  5. How do you think portable light fabrics would withstand everyday use? What

    might be the biggest hazards to the fabric? 

  6. How would traveling to cities change the lives and quality of education

    received by kids in Central Australia? 

  7. What might semi-nomadic people, such as the Huichol and Arrernte, need

    electricity for? What are the three most important things you need electricity



Research the Sierra Madre mountain range in Mexico. What is the terrain like? What types of creatures live there? What types of threats does the environment face? How might these mountains make it difficult to get electricity to the Huichol people?

Here are a few resources that might help:

(World Wildlife Fund);

(Conservation International); (The Columbia



  1. Imagine that you have never experienced electricity. Then, one day, you walk

    into a city. Describe what you see and what you think about it all. 

  2. Design and draw a home that incorporates as many LEDs as possible.


  1. According to Conservation International, the Sierra Madre’s pine-oak

    woodlands used to cover 461,265 square kilometers of land. Today, the forest

    takes up just 92,253 square kilometers. How much forest has disappeared? What

    percentage of the original forest remains? 

  2. If 10 percent of the forest were to disappear each year, how much land would

    the forest cover 10 years from now?