WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, USA – Recently released data by Pew Research Center indicate that U.S. students continue to rank around the middle of the pack, and behind many other advanced nations in math and science. The international math and science assessment measures math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in 62 developed and developing countries.
The U.S. placed an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math, and 24th in science. Another test by the U.S. Department of Education during the same time period found that average math scores for fourth- and eighth-graders fell for the first time since 1990. Singapore came in first in both math and science.
“Invention starts in the heart,” said Bin Feng, CEO of Westlake Village, Calif.-based Microduino, maker of electronic, snap-together blocks for kids of all ages. “We stand at a fantastic age of discovery, innovation—and of course, adventure. It’s this pioneering spirit that we must revitalize in our kids. A big part of this is giving them the proper tools and inspiration to imagine.”
Microduino creator kits are best known for their magnetic, snap-together modules called mCookies that are programmed to operate with open-source, Arduino based code. The color-coded blocks, each with a specific function, make creating dynamic projects ultra simple, as well as providing an easy-to-understand method of learning electronics and software coding.
Discovering the scientific method and its application to everyday life gives kids the tools and inspiration they need to become part of the greatest technological evolution in history, according to Feng. “And so our latest brainchild,” said Feng. “We are extremely excited to introduce our latest addition, the Microduino Alliance Research Station (MARS) Base,” he said. Feng is launching the MARS Base at the Bay Area 2017 Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif. in May.
The MARS Base starter kit includes a functioning green house and power station that can be expanded with 5 additional modules. The modules, available separately, allow the creator to build out a fully operational exploration camp, as it might exist on Mars. Kids of all ages can download an app to the included remote or to their own smart phone, and make adjustments to the MARS Base or expand its fit and function through a choice of Microduino snap-together electronic blocks (mCookies) and visual-based software (Arduino). Arduino based modules provide the processing power to run multiple tasks for the MARS Base complex, and come out of the box running default behaviors which may be customized by experienced Arduino coders. The kit provides great educational play for kids, or for makers of all ages.
Microduino electronic blocks are a mainstay in the maker market and are now catching the attention of educators looking for simple tools to bolster STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education in the classroom. “Passions start young. We want to widen the answer to: what do you want to be when you grow up?” said Feng. “A good first step to generating interest in STEM is connecting to real-time examples of what technology means in every day life.” Microduino’s latest innovations are called mPuzzle, mPie and MIX kits for home and K-12 STEM education. These project kits let kids build everyday objects, from flashlights to weather stations, with simple snap together ease.
With mPuzzle, great for grades 1 and 2, kids learn basic circuitry. It provides a simplified introduction to technology that gets kids excited in a way that’s connected to their own experience. For grades 3 to 7, Microduino’s mPie kits add a higher degree of challenge, while expanding on the same snap together blocks. A detailed guide comes with every kit and takes kids through each project’s assembly with simple text and pictures.
For grades 8 to12, Microduino MIX kits are classroom-focused tools perfect for labs and group or individual learning. Detailed learning instructions are an integral part of these projects.
At the center of all Microduino project kits are durable mCookies. These proprietary, snap together blocks use encased magnets that snap together to create an instant and safe, connection, and align or stack through pogo-pins. mCookies can be configured per the learning instructions or in any combination to suit the creativity of the student. There are 8 learning levels, each with an increasing level of complexity. There are two levels per MIX kit, which has an MSRP of $149 (US).
The mPuzzle and mPie will retail for $99 (US).
Microduino, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of electronic building blocks, modules, and project kits since 2012. The U.S. based company is headquartered in Westlake Village, and got its start by providing electronic product to makers, hobbyists and electronic enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. Founder and inventor Bin Feng has a passion for technology and an interest in inspiring the country’s next generation of engineers and inventors. This drives the company’s focus, and has generated a successful adoption of its simple-to-use magnetic blocks into mainstream education.
SOURCE: PEW RESEARCH CENTER