January’s Education Project is focused on Challenge Cards. Community members Mrs. J and Max have submitted two examples of these littleBits cards, which are a great way for students to independently explore the basic functions of the Bits modules and engineer circuits based on design prompts.
1. Introduction to littleBits
Mrs. J’s task cards were created for her elementary school library makerspace. These cards are based on the Classroom Set and are a helpful way to guide students through the modules’ functions and simple circuits. All you need are the cards and the Kits to get started. Estimated play time is 2 hours, although you can divide the deck into several sessions to suit your needs. The set can be downloaded from her lesson page here.
2. Take the Challenge
Once students have a handle on littleBits 101, they can graduate into this deck created by Max. There’s no one right answer to the prompts and the challenges get progressively more complicated as you move through Levels 1-16. Max recommends teacher supervision to answer questions and check circuits before students move onto the next card. This deck was designed for the Deluxe Kit, and all you need to play are littleBits modules and a pencil. You can download the deck here and start your challenges today!
Max’s cards reflect his philosophy on education: “The way a child is educated has a large influence of who they become and how they impact the world. What if instead of training kids to chase money, like everyone is doing now, we taught kids to become energetic problem solvers. When they encountered a problem they got excited, because they understood that a problem is just an opportunity to create something new. The bigger the problem the greater the opportunity behind it.”
3. Make Something that Does Something: Design Challenges
If you are looking to increase the complexity of the activity, we suggest adding craft and recycled materials to your circuits. You can use these design challenges to spark your/your students’ creativity:
– Create a code system that enables you and a friend to communicate without words or hand signals
– Move 2 small objects across a table without using your hands
– Design a helpful tool for your family kitchen
– Design a tool for a camping trip
– Design a nightlight
– Design a cooling machine for a hot day
– Design a tool for the future
– Design something that makes the user curious
– Design something to make someone you love happy
Both card sets from Mrs. J and Max are open-sourced, downloadable PDFS from our lesson page; just print, cut and get started. Or get inspired to create a new deck of challenges and upload your own!