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littleBits Online Summer Camp Workshop Guide: Music #NationOfMakers

by lizabits

Published on June 1, 2016


In 2014, President Obama announced the Nation of Makers initiative, a call for students, educators, entrepreneurs, designers, and more to learn the technologies that will let them invent anything. From STEM learning experiences to STEAM tinkering, the National Week of Making is bringing the "Maker mindset" to the masses by focusing on creative problem solving, curiosity, collaboration, and critical thinking. As an educator, take the Maker Promise to get the world inventing.

From June 17-23, it's time to get making and start inventing. This workshop guide is your ultimate tool to run the littleBits’ Online Summer Camp as part of the National Week of Making. We’ve designed to work with each challenge and it’s flexible enough that you can tailor it to your specific needs and goals as an educator. What are you waiting for?! Let’s get inventing.


In this workshop, participants will take one musically themed challenge from the littleBits Online Summer Camp. They will use the Invention Cycle to create beats with Bits, invent instruments, design dancing robots, start a band, and maybe even participate in a moving dance party or performance. O yea. After perfecting their masterpiece, they will upload their creation to the Invent page using the hashtag #NationOfMakers


We recommend 2-3 hours for this workshop. If you would like to spend more time, try doing a two part workshop. If you need help adapting it, post your question on the forum!


Based on the challenge, participants will...

  • Analyze basic components of music to create new and remixed compositions.

  • Use concepts of mechanical motion to invent new percussive instruments.

  • Design a personalized interface for making music and sound.

  • Develop collaborative skills by working in small groups.

  • Use the design process to build an invention that solves a problem.

  • Film a short movie using digital media tools.


From 2 to 25


  • 4-5 participants per group. If you know your group well, make them beforehand.

  • Include a set of bits and craft materials at each table

  • Nametags are always a good idea if participants don’t know each other.

  • Make sure each at least one participant in each group has a littleBits login.


  • littleBits kits (If you don’t have a workshop set, we recommend Gizmos & Gadgets Kit, Synth Kit, and Makey Makey bit. If you want to take it up a notch, try incorporating the Arduino Bit.)

  • Craft materials (colored paper, glue dots, paper towel tubes, googly eyes, craft sticks, etc)

  • Everyday, household objects


  • Scissors

  • Camera or smartphone camera

  • Computers (one per group) or smartphones with littleBits app for participants to upload the projects

  • Optional: Film editing software such as iMovie (Mac) or Movie Maker (PC)


Below are some variables you should take into account as you design your workshop. You can adjust, add, or forego sections depending on your needs. Except for the final reflection - that’s the most important of all!

  • Age: This workshop guide can be adapted for all ages, from late elementary to middle to high school. Think about your primary audience and change it up based on their skills and knowledge. For example, if the challenge is about inventing a new instrument, you could have high schoolers look at the history of electronic instruments and remix one they like. If it’s for elementary, you can have them create a personal drum that they can use to march to their own beat.

  • Time: Do you have 50 minutes, a couple hours, or a few sessions?

  • Number of participants: Do you want them working on one project collaboratively, in small groups, or as individuals?

    • For example, if you have a group of 15, you might think about dividing them into three groups and assigning roles to each member (e.g. director, cinematographer, etc)

  • Participant Interests: What kind of music do your participants like? Focus on that. Music is a universal language that tends to elicit strong opinions and emotions - use it to your advantage to engage your learners.

  • Amount of musical knowledge: Do you have a group of professional musicians, sonic n00bs, or a mix?

Ready to get started?