What’s your current role and location?
I am the STEAM Coordinator, grades K-6, at Riverside Presbyterian Day School in Jacksonville, Florida.
How have you used littleBits in the past?
What’s worked best? littleBits have been a game changer in my makerspace classroom. I started with one Workshop Kit which quickly grew into an entire Pro Library with some additional kits on the side, such as the STEAM Student Set and the new littleBits Code kit. I use them in my room to empower students to make their inventions move, light up, and make sounds. The students have made inventions from interactive marble runs, Rube Goldberg machines, animatronic creatures, community vehicles, medieval drawbridges, Greek gods, and more! Providing students with the time to explore, plan, create, and remix is vital but that’s all they really need. Give them littleBits, time, and some crafting supplies and be prepared to be amazed with what they invent!
How do you plan to use littleBits this school year?
I plan to continue using littleBits as a tool to enhance how my students learn as well as to give them an easy and fun way to make their inventions and projects come to life. I am also eager to add the awesome lessons that come with the new littleBits Code Kit into my students coding curriculum. The coding games are so fun and I know my class will be instantly consumed with the joy of learning and invention once again! Each year my students learn more and gain more confidence with using littleBits, it keeps getting better and better. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!
What kinds of skills do you think your students learn using littleBits?
Students learn the basics of electronics and circuitry as well as knowledge of inputs and outputs. They are able to develop their fine motor skills, get hands on experience with coding, and germinate ingenuity, resourcefulness, and communication skills by planning and accomplishing goals with a group. They also build confidence to tackle new things as they create and learn with littleBits.
What do your students enjoy most about littleBits?
They love how easy they are to use and how there are so many possibilities. My younger students are in awe of the control they have. My older students are motivated by the freedom littleBits gives them in the invention process. This year a second grade team created an ice cream truck and were able to learn about the mp3 bit and download a classic tune to make their ice cream truck actually play music! My students see and interact with electronics everyday but with littleBits they are in control of that electronic world and are given the power to create in it.
What’s the coolest invention your students have created with littleBits?
That’s a really hard question. In a way, they are all SUPER cool. They all came from nothing and were created into something creative and exciting. I love the light sensor alarm clock that my 3rd graders made last year. I also have a soft spot for any animals my students create. The animals have their own personalities with wagging tales, nodding heads, or light up eyes. They are the cutest! One of my 6th grade students created a Harry Potter inspired rotating staircase with LEGO and littleBits this year which was super cool. Two of my 5th grade girls made remote controlled walkie talkies and developed an entire code which allowed them to communicate 4 floors away from one another with a series of lights and beeps. I could go on and on….
What advice would you give to people just starting out with littleBits?
Don’t be afraid to learn with your students and learn as you go. The littleBits community is full of people willing to help and share their experiences and ideas. Go forth and play!