Thursday, December 21, 2017

littleBits in the Art Room!

Over the summer I got to attend the NAEA Western Region Leadership Conference. It was awesome to meet and work with leaders in other states' art education associations and they even planned cool workshops for us including kinetic sculptures with littleBits! I knew I wanted to figure out how to get those kits into the hands of my students.
Thankfully our school librarian was able to purchase a few kits with some grant money and we were able to use them in my 8th grade art class the last week of the semester.
I showed the students some videos of the kinetic sculptures made in the Western Region workshops and the rest was pretty much learning by doing. Students don't get enough opportunities to learn through play and exploration so I showed them the kits and suggested they start by just putting the pieces together to find out what they do and how they work. There were books with each kits in case students wanted to read first but most were happy to just explore. I asked the students to brainstorm how the parts could be used to make sculptures do different things and that was how they came up with their ideas.
The students had simple materials available- cardboard and other recyclables, tape, wire, and hot glue. I just asked that they were careful to attach the circuit parts with tape so that they would not be damaged. The project was lots of fun and even the students who are not normally that "in" to art were engaged.
Since the projects had to be temporary, we made a record with video which I posted on our YouTube channel.

Since we only had a few kits, not all the students were able to participate at the same time due to groups getting too big, so some chose to try out stop motion animation instead. I just posted a Donors Choose project to try to get two more kits so that the amount available would work better with our class sizes. I also want to ask our awesome librarian to host the new kits, when hopefully the project is funded, so that they can be shared with other classrooms. If you'd like to contribute to our project, here's the link!

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