This past Saturday, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum led a Caine’s Arcade inspired workshop ‘littleBits Mania!’ at the Harlem Design Center. To learn more about the museum’s family programs, check out our interview last week with their education team.
The event was a great success with 20 children and 15 parents in attendance. The lucky workshop participants even got to take their Bits modules home, so we expect to see many more projects out of this group in the future.
One of our superstar community members, Monika Wuhrer of Open Source Gallery, helped the workshop team lead a demo to introduce the families to the modular electronics. To fuel inspiration, the Exploration Kit booklets were used to show sample circuits and projects.
The Bits modules (power, input and output) were handed out and after 10 minutes of experimentation, the kids’ creativity was stirring.
Brainstorming ensued, transforming the brown paper table covers into a circuity canvas.
Participants were challenged to snap together their Bits modules and make something that shows where we see that circuit in the real world. For example, one team had a pulse input and a bright LED output and they created a flashing fire engine. Another group made a movie theater, filled with pipe cleaner people, and controlled the projector and overhead lights (long LED) using a slide dimmer. The electronics were combined with the main construction material, cardboard – along with tape, pipe cleaners, pom poms, rubber bands etc.
At the end of the workshop, each team shared their work. The projects greatly impressed the workshop leads!
The Museum is currently closed due to the government shutdown, but the Design Center remains open for programming. As soon as the administrative offices reopen, more workshop images and the full lesson will be posted on the education page. We can’t wait to see some of the finished projects!