Kids don't need to look at a screen to learn the basics of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). A new electronic puzzle kit raising money on Kickstarter encourages kids to use their hands as well as their brains to put together robots that complete various tasks.
The game, called ActivePuzzle, utilizes the classic jigsaw puzzle pieces many kids already know. In this case, the slots and tabs that hold the parts together double as input and output channels.
Each piece serves a different function. One block stores the battery and supplies the robot with power; another holds a proximity sensor that allows it to "see" and follow objects in front of it. With up to 22 different blocks, ActivePuzzle is multiple robot toys in one, including a maze runner, a street light, a wake-up alarm, and a spinning dancer. (See it in action in the video below.)
Even though ActivePuzzle doesn't use computer screens, it's meant to act as a child's introduction to coding. The intuitive game teaches players concepts like sequencing, programming, and problem-solving—basics that are essential to people working in STEM fields.
Since the launch of its crowdfunding campaign on February 27, ActivePuzzle has already exceeded its initial goal and raised more than $24,000. Backers have until March 28 to reserve a kit of their own. A pledge of $78 gets you 16 puzzle pieces, while a $122 pledge gets you 22 pieces.
Buy it on Kickstarter.