littleBits and Pearson bring electronics kits to US schools

Kids will learn how to invent devices that explain scientific concepts.

The littleBits team has long been eager to teach kids about the joys of building electronics, and it's taking that commitment to its logical conclusion. It's partnering with Pearson on the STEM Invention Toolbox, a kit that teaches students at varying grade levels how to design electronics and understand scientific concepts. They can craft circuits that save energy, for example, or a communication device for astronauts. The aim is to learn by doing, and encourage kids to "think beyond the text" -- they're not just memorizing facts or performing canned experiments.

Besides the electronics themselves, the kits come with crafting materials, instructions for the students, a quick guide for teachers and online access to lesson plans. The kits will roll out in sync with science curriculum adoption cycles across the US, starting with Florida in 2018 and California in 2019.

This isn't the first time littleBits has made inroads into classrooms. There are "thousands" of schools in the US already using kits, company chief Ayah Bdeir said. However, the Pearson alliance formalizes the process. Where teachers may have needed to design their own lessons, this gives them a ready-made option that could not only save time, but deploy across whole school districts. In other words, there's a greater chance that your young ones will get hands-on time with electronics that could lead them to science and technology careers.