Saturday, May 10, 2014

Six Technological and/or Science Gadgets That May Very Well Blow Your Mind

Happy Saturday! This has been quite the conglomerating week, so I am a bit behind on updating friends with new "finds" and all. Below, I posted about inspirational individuals I came across in the past week, though most were discovered last night when I dedicated myself to seeing who offered something fresh/amazing out there.

I will admit I have been learning about some technology gadgets in my off-time, though. When my friend Emily posted in a group I belong to about getting her own science/engineering/technology specials rotation, I first suggested all these traditional materials for a science classroom and then read some other responses that focused on the technological aspect. Of course, the MaKey MaKey was mentioned a few times. Feeling a bit behind the times, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and see what is offered out there!

Awesome shout-out to ThinkGeek numerous times in this post as well! Also, two of the gadgets below (MaKey MaKey and the 3Doodler 3D pen) are credited to MIT grads! 

1. MaKey MaKey (Cost-- $49.00)-- 

I will admit this-- a week ago, I had heard of a MaKey MaKey, but I had no idea how it functioned or what purpose it served. So on a whim, thinking Oh, we probably wouldn't have that much time for such, anyway, I located it on The rest is history, and I thought about the value of incorporating it in my classroom. 

I showed my students the video that is featured on ThinkGeek, which I am posting below. 

I will admit I have pushed the replay button at least 15 times since first watching it. I now have one coming in the mail for my students as well. The premise is that one can turn ANYTHING into a key. Here is a post that further showcases the possibilities of what one can do with a MaKey MaKey.

2. Cubelets-- Cost is at least $160.00--

Cubelets are quite interesting as well! The image I showed costs over $500.00, though you can purchase a much smaller kit as well that you can add onto over time. Each Cubelet in the kit has a different configuration and default behavior; some can sense (acting like eyes and ears, sensing temperature and light), some are action-oriented (meaning they perform tasks and may possibly have little motors in them), and others "think". They run on rechargeable batteries.

The downside about Cubelets, obviously, is the price (unless you can obtain them through a grant), so I would start with the smallest kit and purchase a few Cubelets at a time to add to the mix. It seems like there is a plethora of possibilities when you have a variation of Cubelets.

3. littleBits-- Prices vary--

littleBits is a 21st century STEAM resource for tech-forward kids as well as classrooms, of course-- teachers receive a 15% discount, which is beyond wonderful! There is an exquisite NASA kit ($189) as well as so many other kits with interesting configurations. They are kind of like Cubelets, in a way-- they are electronic modules that snap together with small magnets to make prototyping and learning a more intriguing experience.

4. 3Doodler 3D Pen-- $99.00--

The 3Doodler 3D Pen is just as amazing as the rest of these tools because you can actually construct huge things with the pen. I read that with the sticks that get inserted into the pen, you get a LOT for your money. I like how you can lay a model's "blueprint" down and you can then trace over it with your pen, making a "kit" for you to construct.

5. MuscleWire Moving Hand Kit-- $29.99--

I found this at ThinkGeek as well. Each finger on the robotic hand has its own MuscleWire, and as the wire heats up, the finger bends. You actually get to see it in action as a moving .gif image below!

6. Aquapod Soda Bottle Launcher-- $34.99--

One of the best purchases I ever made for my classroom is here. I will never forget when my students got to use this gadget last October-- and they literally had a blast! It was my first-ever ThinkGeek purchase. 

BONUS: Made by Dad-- 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff--

I also found this incredible book while perusing ThinkGeek. After seeing the video (posted below, of course), I feel inclined to make a 1-ton lampshade for next year's classroom. This 336-page book, which costs $19.99, is incredible because it offers "blueprints" for all kinds of DIY maker projects. The visuals are appealing for both adults and children. There are actually sections called "Suspect Science" and "Covert Creations" that have projects like the rubber-band propelled rocket car. Here is the video--

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