Education Project: Enlightened by Bioluminescence

The Power of Community: Fueling Inspiration and Iteration

February 28, 2014

An important part of the littleBits mission is empowering our community of makers, hackers, educators and designers to create and share what they have built. This week’s Bioluminescence lesson by Erica Iannotti is a great example of community sharing and iteration.


Erica Iannotti, of CompuChild, is a big fan of littleBits and was inspired by Melinda Huffman- Schwartz’s 3rd grade project on Bioluminescence and the littleBits Life Science Board. She watched the Edith Widder TED talk, which gives a detailed overview of bioluminescence in sea creatures. Erica says these materials were a great jumping off place to create her own spin on this lesson.

Here’s a bit more on Erica’s process:

 I loved the bioluminescent animals lesson posted on the littleBits website but I wanted to take a step further and make it my own.  In preparing for class I found several fantastic TED videos on the deep sea, which I used to build my own knowledge base. The best resource I found was the David Gallo TED talk – it was short and so high impact, that I knew the students would respond to it.

I also wanted some visuals to bring to class to help inspire students but not “direct them” to make a certain thing.  Kids can be very creative without any outside input, but it also can be intimidating and frustrating to be asked to innovate on-the-spot.  I don’t want to stifle creativity by feeding them ideas either so the inspiration board is my happy medium.  I  found about 40 images from all over the internet and displayed them on a large trifold presentation board; which I then reuse for different classes and lessons.

inspiration board

Erica’s students loved using littleBits and Model Magic to create their glowing sea organisms. The outcomes included jelly fish, starfish, angler fish and a few newly discovered species, ‘Larry’ and ‘Squishy’. See the complete lesson plan here; student workshop sheets are included as downloadable files.

Hopefully Erica’s exploration with littleBits in the classroom will inspire your own lessons. We look forward to seeing what you and your students create!


biolum 1