The best way to learn is when you don’t realize you are. That’s when the new skill or knowledge can sneak past your defenses and embed itself in your brain organically. Children are good examples of this educational strategy at work, showing us how much they absorb through simple play.
SAM Labs has effectively harnessed this playful enthusiasm in its latest project: the Curious kit is a boxful of projects and games that teach coding, engineering and DIY while you’re building and playing. The kit includes six paper-fold car bodies, a car base, six SAM blocks, wheels and the all-important remote control so you can take your new set of wheels out for a spin. You can build and program your cars with the SAM Space app, which lets you connect your blocks wirelessly. (Take a quick look and you’ll see how easy the tech team has made the set-up process. In fact, there isn’t really a process—you jump right to programming and inventing.)
If you want to go old-school instead of using the app’s easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll find a step-by-step tutorial booklet in the box. The kit also includes an extra booklet that’s full of extra nifty ideas and projects that you can tackle courtesy of SAM Labs.
Either way, your custom-programmed cars will soon be standing at the starting line, waiting for the checkered flag to set them racing. Take a sneak peek in the Curious kit box and see what tech marvels are in store.
Your SAM Blocks can be programmed to control your computer’s mouse, keyboard, speakers and camera by simply dragging and dropping, the tech team explains, and you can also connect your SAM Blocks to Facebook, Twitter and more. On top of that, you can use SAMS’ Cloud module software to let you control your inventions no matter where you are. (We guess that’s really remote control….)
Kids who love their Legos will be happy to hear that those trusty blocks are compatible with the Curious kit as well, so worlds can collide in a whirl of chaotic construction. This combination no doubt helps bridge the gap between classic hands-on toys and their high-tech, cutting-edge cousins.
And when we say “gap,” that probably implies a bigger separation than there actually is. “No wires, no fuss. Just serious fun,” promises the SAMS team. Again, it’s a perfect way to sneak in an educational experience.
The company also offers an Inventor kit with SAMS Blocks kids can program to set up pranks to scare friends, make football and pinball games, learn Morse code and create a programmable electric guitar, among other activities. There’s even a sock-sorter! Younger inventors can even save up their hard-earned pennies for their next kit without worrying about an opportunistic thief making off with the cash; the Inventor kit explains how to build a coin box from Lego blocks and protect it with a motion sensor and alarm.
SAM labs is also doing some building of its own, winning awards and gaining an impressive reputation for its technology kits and the educational app that lets kids and adults alike develop their own projects.