The District 75 STEM department is a littleBits School Chapter that provides educational, vocational, and behavior support programs for New York City students who are on the autism spectrum, have significant cognitive delays, are severely emotionally challenged, have sensory impairments, and/or have multiple disabilities. They built the littleBits 5th Birthday Party Train as part of a STEM professional development exercise, and it won first prize in our Birthday Challenge. Let’s find out more about this team of coaches and teachers.
Where are you based?
We are based out of the District 75 main office located at 400 1st Ave, New York, NY 10010.
How would you describe yourself in six words or less?
Our team is creative and inventive.
What was your littleBits “a-ha!” moment? The moment you were bitten by the littleBits bug.
Our co-worker, Susan Abdulezer, learned about littleBits at NYU ITP Camp. We were looking for something that would be suitable for students of all abilities for our Makerspace PD. littleBits certainly fit the bill. The real “a-ha” moment was when we saw our students pick up the Bits and put them together faster than the teacher. Students who could not verbally express what they wanted to do, could build it using littleBits.
When starting a littleBits project, what does your design and video process look like?
It’s a collaborative team effort that first involves brainstorming ideas and assigning roles to team members so that we are on track throughout the project.
After a theme is selected, we engage in the design thinking process: drafting, building, testing, sharing constructive feedback and re-developing, etc. This may involve multiple trials before projects are completed. Once the projects are completed, the group engages in a “Maker Showcase.” This process is replicated in small classroom groups, as well as larger educator maker forums.
How has littleBits impacted you creatively?
It has allowed us to show everyone what is possible when littleBits are given to students with disabilities and those who teach them. littleBits truly provide an inclusive environment for our student populations where everyone is able to ‘do’ and succeed, removing many barriers commonly associated with student learning.
What do you plan on inventing next?
We are hosting our 3rd annual District 75 STEM fair at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in June, 2017. Our plan is to invent a 1:200 scale aircraft carrier using littleBits for the event!