Gone are the days where kids learn about electrical circuits in schools with messy wires, alligator clips and a light bulb. In our technologically advanced world, even education has evolved. It has since become more interactive and accessible for kids to manage and understand.
The Chibitronics Chibi Lights LED Circuit Stickers STEM Starter kit, or Chibitronics Chibi STEM Starter kit for short, is one that shows how much education has evolved. The Chibitronics STEM Starter kit provides a platform for the kids to unleash their inner creativity and does not drift from the primary goal of teaching electrical circuits. This kit is suitable for ages 14 and above, and I am going to explore it and hopefully get some insights into the Chibitronics STEM Starter kit and how useful it is as a technology education kit.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
The Chibitronics STEM Starter kit comes in a nice and simple packaging. It provides a brief description of how to use the circuit stickers supplied in the package.
Opening up the box, I am greeted by a handy and straightforward booklet, as well as a small packet of all the items that came with the kit. And in the package, there is a roll of copper tape, some LED Light Stickers, 2 coin cell batteries and some binder clips. There is printing on the insides of the box with the description “Hack this box with lights”. Maybe we will eventually create a circuit on the box itself. Overall, the Chibitronics STEM Starter kit is well-packaged. The creators had placed some thoughts into the packaging and does not feel cheap at all.
The Chibitronics Chibi Lights LED Circuit Stickers STEM Starter Kit comes with a tutorial and multiple examples. These examples help to guide the user through the use of the kit.
In the first example, a straightforward tutorial to give an understanding of the mechanics of this kit. The instruction given is to paste the tape in the shape as shown, then adding the LED Light sticker and the battery. Once the corner of the page is folded, and the battery held in place with the binder clip, the circuit is closed, and the LED Light sticker lights up. The final instruction given is to draw around the circuit, which is a nice touch for creativity.
Moving on to something more advanced, switches are put in place to activate the LED Light sticker. The Chibitronics STEM Starter kit has an innovative way of creating switches. By having multi-use materials, it shows the resourceful of the kit. Parallel rows are wired to the LED Light sticker as well as the battery, columns perpendicular to the parallel rows serves as a switch which is activated upon overlapping and contacting the perpendicular copper tapes. The circuit will be closed, and the LED lights up. Notice that the battery holder serves as a switch itself! By only contacting the copper tape with the battery when needed, an On-Off switch is created. Such an impressive idea!
IS IT ANY GOOD?
The Chibitronics STEM Starter kit is innovative and resourceful. It provides exciting ways that kids and students can learn about circuits, and at the same time encouraging creative thinking. Through the use of copper tape, the kit gives multiple examples of how one simple item could be used for many purposes. Most notably, their innovative switch.
In the past, kids had messy wires, a fragile glass light bulb and batteries that roll off the table way too many times. This kit makes the learning of circuits neat, and it does not compromise any of the electronic concepts. Simply put, anything that can be done in the past can still be done using the Chibitronics STEM Starter kit. In fact, it does it even better as the circuits are neat and easy to understand.
WHAT ARE ITS FLAWS?
Of course, nothing is perfect. The Chibitronics STEM Starter kit isn’t flawless.
The copper tape provided is advertised to be easy to use as it can be torn like masking tape. However, its strength is also its flaw. I found that as the result of tearing, the uneven sides do not provide a good connection to the stickers and cutting with scissors is highly recommended. On top of that, the tape is flimsy and easy to break if not handled carefully. As it is rolled, the tape tends to roll back after exposing the adhesives, causing it to be challenging to separate, wasting the copper tape. This is most common when trying to create a “corner”.
But I found a tutorial online (https://chibitronics.com/copper-tape-tutorial/) which will help any beginner get more adept working with the copper tape.
At SGD$43, as of the time of writing, the STEM Starter Kit is not exactly cheap, though it is a good and revolutionary method that kids can learn about circuits. Unlike the conventional methods of learning circuits, this kit encourages creative thinking. Thus, the Chibitronics STEM Starter kit is proven useful and is recommended to kids who are interested to learn about the basics of circuits.