Professional development, educator’s discounts, classroom kits teamed with hundreds of pages of supporting content and lesson plans. This is what you get when you decide to bring littleBits to the classroom. All the drudgery has been taken care of for the educator; it’s the perfect storm for creative and engaging lessons. Every time I talk with educators, their primary concern is getting students engaged and passionate about their own learning. STEAM (STEM + Art) is a fantastic way to do it. In fact, there seems to be no better way to engaging students than sparking their creativity. If you are completely new to the concept of littleBits, our take on the basics of littleBits modules and how they work, it will be especially informative.
We have linked to a bunch of the educational resources that littleBits provides educators with for free, and again when they purchase the STEAM Student Starter Kit. I’ll discuss them in a little more depth below, but if you wanted to peruse them before we dive into it, go right ahead! The STEAM Student Starter Kit is a newer kit released by LittleBits in May 2016. Featuring 19 Bits modules, 45 accessories and a handy booklet (See Invention Guide below) it gives you the ability to orchestrate STEAM Learning with 1-4 students. If you are interested in larger packs with the same educational foundation and content, take a look at the Education Class Packs (4 STEAM Student Kits and storage box), the Workshop Set or even the Pro Library. Every one of them is a fantastic kit, with tons of modules for Classroom sized LittleBits fun.
You get a printed copy of this guide with every STEAM Student Kit you purchase, but the PDF is available for download from the littleBits educational resources page. Full of modern, visible and colorful illustrations it’s a really inviting guide that easily captures a student’s attention.
The guide first steps students through littleBits Basics; including the Bit Index and a pretty comprehensive walkthrough of each bit in the kit.
After students have flicked through (due to the sheer amount of beautiful illustration, I really mean flick through) the first section of the booklet, they whack on the training wheels and start off with some guided challenges. These challenges have basic instructions to assemble an invention before moving into the ‘Remix’ phase where they are encouraged to change an aspect of the invention using different modules. There are four of these documented Guided challenges before you move onto the Open Challenges. Open challenges start with an open-ended problem, and your goal is to solve the problem with your newly acquired littleBits toolkit.
Toward the end of the book, you are provided with a comprehensive Troubleshooting section that deals with the relatively simple issues that come with electronic components. It becomes quite clear that this guide is tailored toward the Tech-savvy student, working toward turning their relationship with tech into one of creation rather than one of consumption.
The teacher’s guide is tailored toward the educator, using language that educators are familiar with to keep them one step ahead of their students. First off teachers are introduced to the different modules in the kit along with the resources available to them via littleBits' online environment. The guide then moves onto the littleBits invention cycle with an entire section on becoming an invention adviser. For American educators, littleBits has connected each lesson to NGES standards and they are set out quite clearly, it would be simple to adapt these to Australian standards.
The Invention log is outlined next, it’s a standalone document that can be printed for each student; it provides a sensible way to document their littleBits learning journey. It blows out the invention cycle into clear places to document what step the student will take and asks them to explain why. A great way to encourage critical thinking and the basis of the engineering method.
The guide then moves into the Lesson plans for each stage of the littleBits journey. Providing teachers with time-sensitive breakdowns of the lesson along with helpful hints and tips for managing a classroom full of buzzers, lights, and excited young student.
All in all, littleBits is so tailored toward educators with all of the above content being available for free! Educators discounts are also available, all that is required is to sign up using your .edu email account. If you want to deck out your classroom with some awesome littleBits gear, get in touch with us and we can help you out!