SAM Labs Science Museum Inventor Kit£99.99
- Adhered to the requirements of KS2 curriculum
- Software expands the possibilities
- Very easy to use
- Fun learning
- Has both input and output devices in the kit
- Requires charging before each lesson
- Software suite must be downloaded
Review by @ICTmagic
Every school has one. A forgotten and forsaken tangled jungle of interlocking mess which only rarely sees the light of day – The circuits draw. Slivering plastic that intertwines with biting clips, dead acrid-scented battery packs and broken incandescent bulbs. It has been this way for generations of teachers and learners, but there is now a better way.
I’ve been using SAM Science Museum Inventor Kits in my class (and also lots at home) and these devices have revolutionised my teaching of electronics and circuits in my primary setting.
The kits I’ve been using contain 4 different devices, plus a USB Bluetooth dongle to connect the components to your PC or Mac. The kit was easy to set up. You need to download a free program from the website, which is simple and quick, but would have been nice if this was available as ‘plug and play’ with the dongle.
A nice feature is that each component has an internal battery which lasts for well over the length of a lesson and is charged via a micro USB cable (included). Each component is housed in a thick protective plastic cover, but I like the fact that this can be removed so that the inner workings of each device can be seen if you want to show these to the children. In my kits there are two input devices – a tilt sensor which detects movement, a light sensor, and two output devices – electric motor to create movement and a buzzer to annoy the teacher (and produce sound too)! The output devices go beyond the simple on/off. The motor can change speed with different inputs and the buzzer can play a range of notes with different stimuli.
Unlike traditional kits, the SAM kits are controlled via a software suite from one’s computer, which opens up so many new opportunities. The user can add all sorts of behaviours to their virtual circuits. Connect your light sensor to your camera to take a picture of the sunrise, or connect the computer’s microphone to the buzzer to automatically alert the class when they are too noisy. These are two examples which my year 5/6 children came up with on their own, designed and then put into practice!
Yet, for me, the most exciting part of the kit is that users can use the devices in the wider world and connect the components to all sorts of things. For example, you can connect your class Twitter or Facebook account via the desktop suite so that you can interact and get input from tweets. In my class, we now have a windmill made from the motor which spins each time our class Twitter account receives a mention. You can connect your http://IFTTT.com account too, multiplying the creative possibilities even more. It’s all fun to do and wonderfully educational. My class simply adores it.
Find out more at samlabs.com or @samlabs