Maker Mania

The Maker Movement is the new hot thing in education lately. When I say lately, it’s been quite a few years, but it seems that more recently there has been a push in technology to support the innovative way of the STEM related DIY craze. Needless to say, when Little Bits came around, the intrigue increased.

In an attempt to explore with the maker objects, our CEP 811 class was tasked with finding a unique way of repurposing found objects and transforming them into something useful. After some exploration, I was feeling exceptionally uncreative. I felt limited by the starter kit, but began exploring the vast examples listed on their site and youtube page. I was also looking at other’s projects thinking, “That’s so cool! I could never be that creative.” This leads to another great feature of the Maker Movement: sharing. I was impressed by how open the projects were. Simple too.

In my attempt to create a useful tool, I decided to use the Little Bit motor as a key feature. My kit didn’t come with a fan, but I wanted to create a device that wafts peppermint scent at the touch of a button. During standardized testing we provide our students with mints to help energize their minds. A few students are studying this relationship between mints and focus for their science fair project as well. I didn’t really feel as if this was repurposing material though.

Searching for found objects, I came across a keychain that I purchased at Space Camp. It’s an astronaut with rhinestones encrusted in it and has always reminded me of a disco ball. When our students first got their middle school lockers they were very excited to decorate them. A few purchased fiber optic chandeliers and a few bought magnetic disco balls. I thought that space man deserved his time to shine.

As described in the video, this low-tech space disco ball was attached to a small cardboard box via the Little Bit motor. The materials list is as follows:

  • Cardboard Box
  • Piece of black plastic
  • Exacto Knife
  • Tape
  • Twist Tie
  • littleBits: Power Source (blue), 9V Battery, DC Motor (green), Button (pink), Wire (orange), LED light (green)

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The video show the object in motion and still photos of the building process illustrate the steps. When building something new I like various visual representations in the instructions.  The video shows movement, but not detail.  The photos capture some of the trickier steps of the construction in more detail.

 

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