Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1

    Default snap circuits vs. littleBits

    Background: DD just finished her first full-fledge 4-H project year this past week; her project was robotics (Junk Drawer Robotics), and she's done with module 1 (Junk Drawer Robotics | 4-H Robotics Curriculum | National 4-H Curriculum | 4-H). She did basic HTML, & LOGO/turtle a couple of years ago and spent much of this last year working in Python (https://play.google.com/store/books/...cHTA&gclsrc=ds). She REALLY enjoyed the Python programming and plans to move into the second module for robotics in 4-H this next year.

    Question: What's the next logical step? I think the next module for the robotics is about movement and the third module is about adding movement w/electronics to the robot. They were holding a Makers event at the local Barnes & Noble today, and DD was able to play around with both littleBits (https://s3.amazonaws.com/littleBits_...ide_Final2.pdf) and Snap Circuits (Snap Circuits Extreme® Educational 750 Exp. | Model: SC750R | Snap Circuits® | Electronic and Educational Toys). Girl spent way more time working with littleBits, but I think that may have been because the Snap Circuits kit was a tiny one with little room for exploration. The store also had a couple of the local high school Maker teams there demonstrating stuff they built using Mindstorm, littleBits, Snap Circuits, Raspberry Pi, and miscellaneous items. Barnes is selling a Raspberry Pi kit, too. Oy. So many choices.

    None of this stuff is cheap. The kits in the store are ranging from $150-250. On the up side, however, I found out that my B&N educator's card can be used on at least the Raspberry Pi kit (20% discount) and might be usable for the other two (didn't check). We want to get one of the kits for DD's xmas/birthday, but I'm not sure what the logical step is from here. The high school teacher who was with the kids at Barnes was telling me that the kids had to learn Python in order to use Raspberry Pi, so I know DD would have a blast working with that.

    Has anyone worked with all three of these? How about two of the three??
    Carolyn
    caretaker for quirky DD (hatched 2006)

    *************************************
    “My bed is a magical place where I remember everything i was supposed to do that day.” - unknown

  2. T4L In Forum Dec19
  3. #2

    Default

    Hi. So, I think she would prefer the littlebits. I purchased the snap circuits when dd was about 9. She loved it. But, it sounds like your dd is ahead of where mine was for roughly the same age. With that being said, I think she would enjoy the littleBits more. DD played with them inside RadioShack last year and she couldn't get enough. We were in there for an hour and basically had to drag her away. I think it is so full of possibilities that if she does only half the available projects (there are cards that you can print or it comes with) it will dollar out for you. National Geographic site had it on sale for less than Amazon with free shipping a couple of months ago...

  4. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Luv2HS View Post
    National Geographic site had it on sale for less than Amazon with free shipping a couple of months ago...
    I looked at the NG site and it looks like their standard kit is sold out, but they do have the space kit. I don't know why I didn't think to look at Amazon for the reviews. :/ I'm not an Amazon member, so I guess it just isn't on my radar. Thanks for the suggestion...it was interesting to read through some of the reviews.

    Any experience with Raspberry Pi? I'm getting ready to go look into the Arduino thing and see if it's something to add into the mix.
    Carolyn
    caretaker for quirky DD (hatched 2006)

    *************************************
    “My bed is a magical place where I remember everything i was supposed to do that day.” - unknown

  5. #4

    Default

    She's outgrown the Snap Circuits. I wouldn't go there.

    Little Bits is great... but it's super expensive for what you're getting. Think carefully.

    Ds does Raspberry Pi and Arduino. I think you'd be better off with a kit for one of those and a beginner book. So maybe either the Canakit's Raspi model B kit with Adventures in Raspberry Pi. Or... The Official Arduino Starter Kit, which is from the Arduino people and then if she does the projects in there, you can move up to something like Arduino Workshop and buy the needed extra bits and pieces as you go.

    If you feel like you need something that's more like a kid friendly kit, then another direction to go could be the GoPiGo from Dexter. We met one of the Dexter people as a Raspberry Jam - she was awesome and talking about their new kit system where you buy it as a monthly kit subscription like Tinker Crate. The first one is the robot with the Pi, and then projects with parts follow every month (or every two months? something like that...). The GoPi is a cool system, but there are other Raspberry Pi robots to consider that are similar. Ds has the BrickPi which is also from Dexter, but he already had all these old Mindstorms parts and without having that I can't really recommend it.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?
    http://simplify4you.com/

  6. #5

    Default

    Oh, Carolyn, I'm realizing your dd is a little younger than my ds. I think I'd do the GoPiGo with the monthly kits if you can. Or maybe Little Bits... I just kept balking at the cost.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?
    http://simplify4you.com/

  7. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by farrarwilliams View Post
    I think I'd do the GoPiGo with the monthly kits if you can. Or maybe Little Bits... I just kept balking at the cost.
    Thanks, Farrar! I hadn't heard about GoPiGo, so I'll have to research that. I keep trying to figure out what the end-goal is with this so that it's easier to lay the path. At this point, I know she's wanting to complete the Junk Drawer robot, and the idea of having motion, sensors, and lights is super appealing to her. To make her robot do what she wants, I am thinking that Raspberry Pi is going to be required in the mix...but this stuff isn't my forte and DH is from the old school. When his (now 33yo) son was this age, he was teaching him soldering, breadboards, and wiring basics, basic coding, and how to repair their Radio Shack Tandy computer. When DH saw the littleBits yesterday, I think there was a whiff of envy cause he asked me, "Where was this stuff when WE were kids?"

    DD is on the young side, but girl is sucking up the information. She started the Python book as part of a book review requirement, but kept going with it long after the review was written and turned in. As she was going along, she was having far too much fun modifying the codes to either make it do something she wanted (as opposed to what was in the book) OR just experimenting to see what would happen. She did the soldering and assembly for her launch controller when they were doing rocketry last summer. And it took her about 20min of tinkering with the littleBits yesterday before things really started clicking (no instructor, just free exploration). Girl worked with the things for almost an hour and a half before I had to force her to quit so we could go home (where she then conned dad in to taking her back to the store so she could show them to him). So I think she has the interest, the passion, and the ability (with some support from DH) to make things happen.

    Thanks for all the input, folks! Off to look into GoPiGo and the rest.
    Carolyn
    caretaker for quirky DD (hatched 2006)

    *************************************
    “My bed is a magical place where I remember everything i was supposed to do that day.” - unknown

  8. #7

    Default

    How do you ladies know that all these activities are happening in Radio shack or Barnes and nobel. I live in bay area and is there is mailaing list i can subscribe to know all this stuff

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
About us

SecularHomeschool.com was created to provide information, resources, and a place to share and connect with secular homeschoolers across the world. Secularhomeschool.com aims to be your one-stop shop for all things homeschool! We will be highlighting information about wonderful secular homeschool resources, and keeping you up to date with what is going on in the world of secular homeschooling. But that is only the beginning. SHS is your playground. A place to share the things that are important to you. A place to create and join groups that share your interests. A place to give and get advice. There are no limits to what you can do at Secular Homeschool, so join today and help build the community you have always wanted.

SecularHomeschool.com is a community and information source where secular homeschoolers ARE the majority. It is the home for non-religious homeschoolers, eclectic homeschoolers, freethinking homeschoolers AND anyone interested in homeschooling irrespective of religion. This site is an INCLUSIVE community that recognizes that homeschoolers choose secular homeschool materials and resources for a variety of reasons and to accomplish a variety of personal and educational goals. Although SecularHomeschool.com, and its members, have worked hard to compile a comprehensive directory of secular curricula, it does not attest that all materials advertised on our site, in our newsletters, or on our social media profiles are 100% secular. Rather, SecularHomeschool.com respects the aptitude of each individual homeschool parent to fully research any curriculum before acquiring it, to ensure that it holistically meets the educational, personal, and philosophical goals of each homeschooler.

Join us
snap circuits vs. littleBits