Hack the Environment with littleBits

Hack the Environment with littleBits

Hack the Environment with littleBits1

Hack the Environment with littleBits2

– Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students will learn about some of the environmental issues affecting our planet today. They will then brainstorm and design “hacks” that they can do to help the environment by reducing energy consumption, etc.
Lesson Objectives: Students will have a basic understanding of the environmental issues and how they can make a positive impact by changes their actions.

– Assessment Strategies: Students will document their ideas and iterations on a worksheet. Groups will present their ideas to the class.

– Standards: MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment

MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.

Duration: 1 50 minute class period

Middle School (ages 11-13)


Earth & Space Science
Life Science

fan (2)
motion trigger (2)
slide dimmer (2)
light sensor (2)
slide switch (2)
bargraph (2)
led (2)
power (4)
pulse (2)
rgb led (2)
pressure sensor (2)
screwdriver (1)
Craft Pack (1)
glue dots (1)

Chart paper 1
Post-It Notes 1
Markers 1
Various arts & crafts materials 1

rubber bands


STEP 1 : Identify the Problem -10 minutes

Start a class discussion about environmental issues. What are some issues that students know about that are affecting the planet today? Steer the discussion towards issues that students are able to have a direct impact on, such as energy consumption, waste, etc. What are some actions that your students are currently taking to help save the planet?

STEP 2 : Brainstorm -10 minutes

Organize students into groups and give them a set of bits. Ask them to start brainstorming an idea, invention or hack that could help them to save the planet. It can be as simple as creating a motion detector light to as complex as designing an alarm system that warns them if they forget to compost something. The goal is to think up a prototype, not necessarily to create a fully working design. Have the students use post-it notes and chart paper. They should document their brainstorm process on their worksheet.

STEP 3 : Design/Build – 10 minutes

Have students build a prototype of their design using their littleBits. They can add arts and crafts materials to make it more unique and interesting.

STEP 4 : Test, Evaluate, Redesign – 10 minutes

Direct students to test out their designs. What’s working? What isn’t? Give them time to evaluate, redesign, and test their new ideas. Encourage some reflection here too: what would help their hack to be perfect? What dream bit would make it work exactly how they want it to?

STEP 5 : Share solution -10 minutes

Have each group share about their hack and how it would work. Encourage more reflection – how can they apply some of these ideas today in their real lives? What are some hacks that they can take back with them and use at home?