littlebits pilot inquiry project: day one

Posted on: January 8th, 2014 by jnovakowski

This week I am spending my afternoons at Diefenbaker Elementary in Rick Hikida’s grades 4 and 5 classroom. We are piloting a set of littlebits electronic components with his students. I explained that this would be a STEAM-based project (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics) project and the students were on board before they even handled the littlebits.

We handed out plates of components to small groups of students and asked them to investigate the pieces and record what they noticed along with their questions. Rick noticed that some students began drawing and labelling the pieces on paper while others couldn’t help but start manipulating and tinkering with the bits.

┬áIt wasn’t long before the students discovered that the pieces snapped together and most students figured out that there was a magnetic pull involved so they inferred the bits were magnetized. They also noticed that the bits were different colours and had words and numbers on them.

The students began connecting bits together but were a bit puzzled that they couldn’t get the bits to do what they wanted them to do, especially the ones labeled “buzzer” and “lights”.
One group of students then really looked closely at the power bit that they had and noticed there was an on and off switch but wondered where the power came from. One student asked if we needed to plug it in or get a battery. I went over to the kit and got the 9V battery and cable and then something magical happened in the classroom. Once the students realized that the power bit was truly powerful, they all swarmed around each group of students as they tested their circuits to see what would happen.

The students recorded what they noticed about their littlebits, what they wondered about and what they discovered.

More information about littlebits and the short intro video we watched can be found HERE.

~Janice

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