Exploring Electric Circuits with Little Bits

Students in 3rd grade were the first to get their hands on the Little Bits Kits!  These kits contain electronic build blocks that snap together with magnets.  The bits are color coded: blue bits are power bits, pink bits are input bits and green bits are output bits.  We tied in the reading skill “Cause and Effect” to help us understand input and output.  We learned that the input tells the output what to do, so it always has to come first otherwise our circuit won’t work.  We say the input is the “cause” and the output is the “effect”.  After completing a series of challenges, the students followed the Engineering & Design process to create a prototype of an invention that would solve a problem at school.  Currently, our 4th graders are exploring the Little Bits, and we are hoping to use them with 5th and 6th graders also.  Here is a video of our 3rd grade projects:

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Creating Art that Moves

3rd Graders learned about the Kinetic Artist, Rube Goldberg in STEAM.  A Kinetic Artist makes art that moves.  During this unit students learned about simple machines and were challenged to create 3 simple machines out of recyclable materials.  The goal was to get these simple machines to work together to make a more complex machine.  A Rube Goldberg machine performs a simple task in a complex manner.  For example, students created a device that turned off the lights or turned on a computer.  The students were supposed to create chain reactions and we tied in our reading skill of “Cause and Effect” into our projects.  We followed the Engineering & Design Process (Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create and Improve)  and documented our progress in our notebooks. Here is a video summary of our Rube Goldberg unit: