littlebits.com■ Retail Price: $299.95
Students in Grades 3 and up will enjoy using littleBits, a platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks, for creating inventions. The Code Kit helps student learn to program as they build games with drag-and-drop code.
Quality and Effectiveness: littleBits has been on the market for educators for a few years now, and it has become a “go to” kit for teachers to begin teaching the basics of robotics, engineering, and other aspects of STEM. Now, with the Code Kit, littleBits gives students as young as third graders opportunities to dive into coding in a way that’s familiar, fun, and rewarding. Students are able to develop simple code quickly to create inventions such as a flashing sign to Rockstar Guitar.
Ease of Use: The program is easy to load and operate. Teachers and students can go to the website to get step-by-step instructions on how to build different inventions using the hardware that comes in the kits (power supply, LED display boards, speakers, connectors, etc.). They can then add any other needed items such as cardboard, paper, backboards, etc., to finalize the projects. Once they learn the basics of coding, students are able to adapt, explore, and create new projects quickly. The simple color system and magnetic connections help with the construction of each invention.
Creative Use of Technology: littleBits has been used in a wide variety of programs in schools, including afterschool enrichment clubs, STEM labs, makerspaces in libraries, and classroom extension time. littleBits has established a solid reputation for introducing students to the world of engineering in an accessible, non-threatening way. The company builds on that foundation by introducing this Code Kit. Some of the featured inventions include Tug-of-War, Ultimate Shootout, Hot Potato…of Doom!, and Rockstar Guitar. The opportunities for students to learn, enjoy, and adapt the coding and programs are limitless.
Suitability for Use in a School Environment: Teachers can easily add the Code Kit to add to any of their current STEM or STEAM programs. It’s also a greater starter kit for teachers who want their students to dabble in coding. Because this kit incorporates code concepts such as function, variables, logic, and loops, students will be equipped to use other STEM programs that require coding skills. The website and app help to guide students through creating the different inventions and also give them opportunities to share some of their own DIY projects.
This is a wonderful product that allows students and teachers to become engaged in the coding process. Students who have the opportunity to play with the system quickly adapt to basic coding and are able to move on to more complex systems. littleBits encourages creativity, risk taking, and problem solving in a comfortable, nonthreatening context.
● Introduces students to STEM and coding.
● Easy to use.
● Engaging and creative.