Game Your Kid’s Education With These 10 Cool Kits
Forget paper and pencils. Look into these fun new tools to help kids unleash their inner scientist or engineer.
Exo Labs Model 2 Camera attached to a light microscope
Exo Labs Model 2 Camera
The Model 2 camera attaches to any standard microscope and captures high-res images of the field of view. An app streams images to an iPhone or iPad so that students can annotate and measure the object they’re observing.
littleBits Popular Science Super Bundle
The mini circuit boards made by littleBits snap together with magnets. The Popular Science Super Bundle, available this fall, includes the company’s new cloud module, which allows users to connect projects to the Web, plus an Arduino.
This platform provides tools that allow users to create interactive experiences for images and videos. Both teachers and students can design features like clickable notes, links to resources, and even online “exit” quizzes and assignments.
LEGO Mindstorms Education EV3
A color-sorting robot, created through LEGO’s EV3 kit.
Teachers can use this EV3 robotics kit to help students learn the fundamentals of subjects like electrical engineering and computer programming. It includes design projects that follow the process used by many scientists and engineers.
Students young and old can develop animated visualizations and simulations that illustrate a wide variety of different scientific and technology concepts. Along the way, users get a good understanding of basic programming and coding.
SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge
The first game in the SimCity-EDU series turns middle school kids into urban planners. Six missions challenge them to balance a city’s environmental concerns with the economic needs of its citizens. Teachers get a related lesson plan.
A credit-card sized computer comprised of a single board, Raspberry Pi is a way for tech-novices to grasp computer science — both hardware and software. Just hook it up to a monitor and keyboard start working on any kind of electronics project.
MaKey MaKey Invention Kit
Using MaKey MaKey to play Super Mario using a Play-Doh controller
With MaKey MaKey, everyday objects like bananas and Play-Doh become interactive touchpads for games and apps. A circuit board detects the faint electrical signal they convey and tricks a computer into thinking they’re a keyboard.
This particular robotics kit eschews cold, lifeless metal for soft and colorful cartoony looks. Kids who might be too wild to handle delicate equipment can still enjoy the wonders of robotics with Hummingbird’s durable kit and common crafts materials.
3D printers are making their way into classrooms everywhere. Printrbot goes one step further and offers lesson plans and project designs that helps teachers get their students excited and motivated about mathematics, physics, and technology.
A version of this article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Popular Science.