littleBits can be utilized to introduce younger students to the basics of mechanical engineering and the basic concepts of circuit systems. littleBits provides full lesson plans on their website – helpful summaries of these lessons can be found below. Many of their lessons focus around the invention cycle (explained in the Youtube video below).
Please keep in mind that the sets include an invention guide that has further lesson suggestions as well.
littleBits in the Classroom
- Introducing littleBits (Duration: 45 minutes minimum): This lesson is designed for students to explore the basics of the kit and grow familiarity with all the different material.
- Introducing the Invention Cycle (Duration: 50 minutes): littleBits designed their lessons around the idea of an invention cycle. This is an introductory lesson to the cycle that will guide students to think critically as they build their projects.
- Invent a Throwing Arm (Duration: 90 minutes minimum): Students will learn the basics of circuitry, motion, and simple machines by building these simple projectile launchers. Students are encouraged to create modifications as the lesson progresses. Conclude the activity with a projectile competition! Encourage students to share what they made!
- Invent an Art Machine (Duration: 60 minutes minimum): Students will again learn the basics of machinery as well as constructing their own art machine. Students will manipulate the bits to create their own unique art pieces. Challenge students to replicate their classmate’s masterpieces!
- Invent a Security Device (Duration: 90 minutes minimum): Students will construct security devices for their backpack. Conclude this lesson by having students pitch their product to the class!
- Invent a Self-Driving Vehicle (Duration: 60 minutes minimum): Students will construct their own cars and have a car show at the end of class!
- Hack Your Habits (Duration: 150 minutes minimum): Students will create a project that tracks daily habits. The goal is for students to collect data to inform how to transfer that invention to positively change that behavior.
- Invent a Chain Reaction Contraption (Duration: 120 minutes minimum): Students will follow constraints given by the instructor to create a 2+ step contraption to improve the invention’s functionality.
- Invent for Good (Duration: 120 minutes minimum): Students will brainstorm together to create a device that will help made a difference in someone’s life.
More lessons available at the littleBits website.
The Invention Guide recommends the following tools to use in addition to the littleBits set (highly recommended to gather some of these items or ask students to bring some of these recyclable items from home):
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Craft sticks
- Construction toys (i.e. Legos)
- Paper or plastic cups
- Rubber bands
- Milk Carton
- Pipe cleaners
- Duct tape
- Cereal box
- Cardboard tubes
- Plastic bottles