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Ayah Bdeir
littlebits

littleBits’ new STEAM kit for students emphasizes invention

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We are big fans of littleBits here at TechCrunch. The company, which raised $44.2 million last year, offers a number of different sets that teach kids (and grown-ups) about programming and electronics — and lets them get creative with their new skills.

Today, the company introduced its first STEAM kit. STEAM adds “Arts and Design” to STEM’s science, technology, engineering and math, and so it’s no surprise that the focus of this new set is on invention and designing. The set, which is now available for pre-order, will cost $299.95 and ship by April 22.

This new set is squarely aimed at schools (unlike littleBits’ Gizmos & Gadgets kit, for example) and littleBits will also offer a course for educators who want to use it in their classrooms.

Using this new kit and the 72-page Invention Guide that comes with it, students will get to build their own version of a basic self-driving car, a gizmo to track their daily habits and a throwing arm, among many other projects.

The kit itself includes 19 different parts, including light and temperature sensors, a buzzer, a servo motor and LED lights. There are also 49 accessories (think USB adapter, wheels, servo mounts, etc.).

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At almost $300, this is probably not the best set to get started with littleBits at home (the $99 base kit is probably the better option there). For schools, though, this offers a nice all-in-one package to get students excited about technology.

littleBits wants every student to have the technology literacy and problem-solving skills to create their own inventions, whether it’s a device to assist someone with a disability, an arcade game or a new household gadget,” littleBits founder and CEO Ayah Bdeir said in today’s announcement. “We’re working with educators to provide a way for anyone, regardless of their technical ability, to bring STEM and STEAM into the classroom in a highly impactful and engaging way.”

The company says the New York City Department of Education will use these new sets for grades 2-5 in its Summer in the City STEM program.

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