Lunch Box Alarm

lunch box alarm

lunch box alarm1

Students read the story Dear Mr. Henshaw about a boy named Leigh Botts who writes a letter to his favorite author. The author writes back and asks Leigh some questions which he eventually answers. At school Leigh has to cope with an unknown thief who has been stealing from his lunch box.


Students will be able to:
– Discuss events of a story and how or if they represent steps in the Engineering Design Process.
– Identify the difference between open and closed circuits
– Build a simple circuit using LittleBits
– Use the steps of the Engineering Design Process
– Test alarm
– Brainstorm improvements

Standards :
CCSS. ELA-Literacy S.L.5.5
NGSS 4-P S3-2
NGSS 4-P S3 -4

Assessment :
Teacher feedback from presentation (rubric)

Duration: 1-2 hours

Elementary (ages 8-10)


English Language Arts
Makerspace Workshops

motion trigger (1)
buzzer (1)
light sensor (1)
bargraph (1)
power (1)
split (1)
mounting boards (1)
battery + cable (1)
markers (1)
glue dots (1)

Cardboard box 1
Masking tape 1
hard card 1


STEP 1 : Introduce the Lesson (5 minutes)

Introduce lesson by telling students that they will be creating a lunch box as did Leigh is the story Dear Mr. Henshaw. Explain to them that they will add an alarm to the lunch box using littleBits.

STEP 2 : Review Circuits (10 – 15 minutes)

Electricity can flow through components in a complete electric circuit . A switch can be used to control when a circuit is closed (complete) and open (incomplete). Electrical energy can be transformed to light and sound energy. Helpful link –

STEP 3 : Engineering Design Process (20 minutes)

Introduce the design process – Ask about a problem , Imagine a different solution , Plan the Alarm design , Create the alarm and Improve the design ( brainstorm improvements). Discuss if/how the main character Leigh goes through the process while making an alarm for his lunch box. Guide students through the process through open ended questions. hand out an Engineering Design process graphic organizer to each student.

STEP 4 : Create Design ( 40+ minutes)

Once students have a plan for their alarms and lunch boxes , pass out various craft materials and various littleBits and let the students build their prototype. Give students time to test and retest/change their prototypes.

STEP 5 : Presentation of Story and Lunchbox Alarm (time depends on class size)

Students will present their lunch box and summarize Dear Mr. Henshaw . Particular emphasis should be placed on the theft of Leigh’s lunch and his ingenuity in creating a device to stop the theft. Students will also demonstrate open and closed circuits as it pertains to their alarm system. Description of the littleBits and what they do . Have students think on how they can improve their designs.