Published on August 23, 2017
With just an RGB LED bit and most any smart phone, tablet, web or video camera you can VISUALIZE THE SOUNDS that you make with the littleBits SYNTH KIT! There is a phenomenon that occurs when a video device is placed in front of a RGB LED that is pulsing to sound waves. It allows us to examine sound waves much like an oscilloscope.
The electronic reproduction of sound uses different frequencies to vibrate a speaker or headphones which creates waves in the air that your ear perceives as sound. The littleBits synth kit synthesizes sound by creating different frequencies using an oscillator. Simply put, the oscillator is just turning on and off in a repetitive pattern, and creating a sound wave.
It seems complicated, so that's why I was excited when I discovered this SIMPLE method of visualizing the concept with the littleBits RGB LED!
As a teacher I think some of the most effective lessons are those that include a FUN factor and engage the imagination. What could be more FUN than learning from an LED light show???
Students will understand a basic theory of electronic audio synthesis.
Students will learn that sound waves can be represented visually.
Students will experiment with sound and littleBits, observe the phenomena and reflect on the results.
STUDENTS WILL HAVE FUN AND BECOME INTERESTED IN STEAM LEARNING
Encourages students to use multidisciplinary techniques to examine their world and express themselves.
Through observation and discussion, the students understanding of the concepts are made evident.
Example: A students suggestions or answers to questions about how to change the image of the waveform by making or controlling sound with littleBits can allow the instructor to assess their level of experience with / understanding of little bits and the concepts introduced.
Although I use this lesson as a demonstration and participation exercise, students can document their work by saving images and video recordings of their experiments, which could be used for summative assessment.
Energy can also be transferred from place to place by electric currents, which can then be used locally to produce motion, sound, heat, or light.
Standard 9. Understands the sources and properties of energy
Level III [Grade 6-8], Benchmark 8
Knows that waves (e.g., sound, seismic, water, light) have energy, interact with matter, can transfer energy
NYS Art Standards
Music Standards 1-a, 2,-a,b,c, 3 -b,c
NYS SCienceCC 4.4
Observe and describe the properties of sound, light, magnetism, and electricity.
Duration: 15 minute demo - then experiment until the end of the class period.
Credits: I want to thank Peter Edwards and his website casperelectronics.com for being such a cool resource for circuit bending and teaching me about this video phenomenon.