Parents always ask me how to encourage a love of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and I honestly believe that there is a different point of entry for each child. The great thing about STEM subjects is the numerous activities that can be done either at home or school but having open ended materials that will spark a lifelong interest is key.
We’ve been fans of littleBits since they first came on the market. These snap together sets of electronic building blocks capitalize on a child’s natural love of play and curiosity through invention-based learning so it’s not surprising that we love littleBits’ new STEAM Student Set.
Unlike previous sets that have been designed for the home market, the STEAM Student Set, is designed for education. With over 12,000 educators and 2,200 schools using littleBits, the company designed the STEAM Student Set so that any educator, whether they have prior technical skills or not, could bring STEAM into their classroom in a fun and engaging way. The STEAM Student Set helps teachers address some of the challenges that educators and administrators face when trying to integrate STEAM focused national initiatives into their classrooms.
Everything a Teacher Needs for Hands-On STEAM Learning in a Box
The STEAM Student Set is a toolbox supports learners in grades 3-8 with 19 Bits (a.k.a. littleBits’ electronic building blocks) and 38 accessories to bring buzzing, blinking and creative inventions to life.
While home users of littleBits have been inspired by the community submitted hacks and inventions as part of the learning process, the STEAM Student Set comes with an incredible Teacher’s Guide that provides hours of detailed companion lessons, curricular connections, implementation strategies, and helpful tips, while a mobile app provides thousands more ideas for the classroom for built in professional development so teachers can get inventing with students and keep inspiring them to create by appropriately scaffolding their learning with projects that will help them build on their skills.
Comprehensive Student Invention Guide Inspires Self Directed Learning
The beauty of littleBits is that the blocks inspire open ended exploration but for those who want to know all about the pieces, how they work, and become proficient through guided challenges, the 72-page Student Invention Guide is a wonderful resource because it contains guided invention challenges with step-by-step instructions and encourages students to track their habits and invent something to improve their daily lives.
Students can use the guide to learn at their own pace or dive right into projects like “Invent a Self-Driving Vehicle” to explore the concept of friction, to “Hack Your Habits.” There’s also an entire YouTube playlist devoted to projects that use the Bits from the STEAM Student Set.
Encourages Scientific Process
An Invention Log worksheet encourages student reflection and documentation which is an essential part of the scientific method.
Tied to Common Core Standards
Even though learning with littleBits is learning is fun, the projects are tied to Common Core Standards. Teachers and administrators will appreciate that the Curricular Crosswalk chart provides an overview of the Next Generation Science Standards, Grade Levels, and Common Core Standards that can be met by, or extended to meet, specific STEAM Student Set Challenges. For example, when students are challenged to “Invent a Throwing Arm” with littleBits, they’ll experiment with forces of motion and simple machines, and will be asked to systematically document their progress with the littleBits Invention Log.
I received a littleBits STEAM Student Set for review purposes. All opinions are my own.