LittleBits + Maker Space + Creativity = Inquiry Based Art Projects with Meaning and Purpose
First step was gathering the materials. Using the grant money I put together a mobile kit to take to classrooms to introduce students to Little Bits technology, incorporating Maker Space strategies. I purchased a dozen Little Bits kits and various arts and crafts supplies, and packed everything into a carrying case so it could all be transported to schools.
LittleBits in Action
---Lesson Plan. A colleague in my department and I developed a 2-day lesson plan, inspired by JoAnn Fox’s work with Little Bits and Maker Spaces.
------Day 1: Students were given a brief overview of what the LittleBits electronics can do, making sure they saw the power and the color coding of the pieces in the kit. We then gave them time to explore in groups of 3 or 4. We provided a graphic organizer for students to record their discoveries, asking them to identify the input, the output and then describe the result, and gave them time to share out after some independent exploration.
This first day was wrapped up by asking students to consider the question: “What problem do you want to solve?” Students worked in groups to develop ideas for a Public Service Announcement (PSA) they would create the following day using the Little Bits and the art materials.
-----Day 2: Students collaborate and create on their projects. As they worked in groups, students communicated about how the electronics could be used to manipulate their designs, and used the provided materials (or materials they brought from home).
Lessons Learned/Next Steps
- Lessons should be at least 2 hours, rather than the 1½ originally planned. This will provide enough time for exploration, inquiry, sharing … and clean up.
- We scaled down project expectations after the first class, encouraging students to create poster presentations using a piece of heavy-duty cardboard as backdrops.
- Art supplies go quickly! In the future we will ask that participating teachers support the work by supplying some art materials.
- It would be helpful to plan ahead by ensuring there is time, and space if possible, for student projects to be displayed.
- There has been interest from teachers at the school sites we have visited so far to using the materials with other classes at their schools.
About Dena Hause
I have been teaching for over 30 years, initially as a bilingual teacher at various schools in San Diego Unified, Carlsbad Unified, and Vista Unified School districts, and later teaching ELA, Math, Social Studies, and Tech at Dana Middle School in SDUSD. I received a Master’s degree from SDSU and SDCOE in Educational Leadership with a Focus in Technology in 2015, and I am currently working as an Educational Technology Resource teacher for San Diego Unified.