We began with an overview of the course and a discussion of how to use this space, how to make it OUR space for learning, designing, building, prototyping. Students moved tables around and explored the cubbies and bins.
Our first topic was circuits, how a battery works, and what it means to have an open or closed circuit. After a brief video, B is for Battery from Adafruit, and a demonstration of how a circuit works using the feltronics circuit mentioned in an earlier blog post, we explored LittleBits.
LittleBits kits are useful as a fun, quick way to get up and running with simple circuits and simple machines. Students learn there must be a source of power, and some kind of output, be it LED, fan, motor, or buzzer. In between are the inputs, like dimmers, motion sensors, light sensors and more. While LittleBits kits don't illustrate the concept of a circuit (unbroken circle) they do allow students to see the relationships (cause and effect) of various components, a theme that will show up many times in the projects ahead.
In the second session this week, students were tasked with building a simple machine using the basic LittleBits and some extension Bits. They could also integrate any other materials we had in class to enhance their machine. One student built a cardboard robot, while another experimented with conductive tape. Another team spent a little bit of time (no pun intended) using the kits, but quickly decided upon their first project for the course, a color-changing flashlight. They started to note what materials they will need. I look forward to seeing that project, and discovering what direction other students will take for theirs.