What are littleBits?
littleBits is an open source library of discrete electronic components pre-assembled in tiny circuit boards. All logic and circuitry is pre-engineered in the bits.
This pushes up the design process. Basically, a person who has little knowledge of electronics can now design something using electronics.
The purpose of littleBits is to provide a system where anyone can build, prototype, and learn about electronics. Each modular component you get is labeled with a single purpose, and as you chain them together with their magnetic links you start to form more complex circuits. If something’s not working out, just unhook the magnets that connect each module and start over. In the end, you can control everything ranging from sound to actual moving motors, and it’s all powered by either a 9V battery or a power supply.
All you need to do to get started making stuff with littleBits is to start putting components together in a reasonable order. It’s easiest to start by experimenting with different circuits, as long as the chain goes something like:
What we did:
I held two back-to-back programs, one for teens (age 13-19) and one for tweens (age 8-12). After a very short introduction, the participants started with some simple projects from the littleBits booklet. Some were able to grasp the concept quite easily and already moved on to designing something on their own. We provided the kits (Base kits and Premium kits), lots of craft supplies, and some extra Power bits, 9-volt batteries, and extra cords.
Most teens worked on their own projects and found it fairly easy to navigate through it all with little to no guidance. Most tweens, however, found that collaborating with their friends on single project helped them understand it better. Also, for the tweens program, parents and teen volunteers assisted the kids with tools such as exacto knives and hot glue guns.