3 kits to give your classroom a tech twist

The benefits of making with our hands are well known and we’ve been hosting workshops with young people of all ages for years and know what it takes to engage minds, hands and hearts. Here is a list of three kits that can give your classroom a tech twist.

For the youngest of makers, Electro Dough

In a nutshell: A great way to introduce electricity in a safe and playful way, combining dough modelling and circuit building to introduce electricity and problem-solving.

What does it teach?

  • Everyone like to squeeze, squash and model with dough which exercises fine motor skills, but by adding batteries and LEDs, it transforms into a play session where children are beginning to learn about how electrical circuits work
  • This of type experimentation is the cornerstone of developing more complex problem-solving skills
  • This kit is supported by a 10 week session guide with learning objectives to make lesson planning easier

For a middle years makers, The Creative Coder Kit

In a nutshell: Learn the basics of coding, script writing and how to solve problems.

What does it teach

  • Rich in coding, making, creative writing, performance and peer evaluation
  • Start with a simple coding challenge and build up to script writing, set construction and lighting design
  • Supported by a 10 week session guide

For older ages, the BBC Micro:bit range

In a nutshell: Powerful and affordable pocket sized microcontroller that delivers versatility and can be reused in a variety of ways.

What does it teach?

  • Incorporate product design, packaging, persuasive pitch writing and presentations to give a cross curricular experience
  • Combine with free recycled materials to make quick hour long projects exploring inputs and outputs
  • Go for all out with the Micro:mods controllable LED strip and set a Dragons Den style making challenge

And finally.
Something that we have seen time and time again, is the power that making has to engage even the hardest to reach student.

It can provide a space for those who fail in an often academically focussed system to succeed, perhaps for the first time. The student who is reluctant to contribute in class that turns out to be a Jedi with circuits; the school-refuser that asks when the next making session is so they don’t miss it; the excluded teenager that is so happy with an afternoon make session that they personally thank the teacher. These are things that we have witnessed ourselves first hand. Bring making into your school and expect the unexpected.

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