The SAM Blog

Hardware Doesn’t Have to be Hard!

Hardware Doesn’t Have to be Hard!

#SAMSuccess story: Hardware doesn’t have to be hard!

Today, we have two customers who achieved #SAMSuccess with our physical hardware blocks – Kristen Albright (K-5 STEM teacher at Radio Park Elementary School, PA) and David Nagle (STEAM Teacher at Portland Public Schools, OR). 

For some educators, physical hardware can seem daunting to start working with, so you’ll be happy to hear that the word ‘simplicity’ is a key theme in our customer feedback! Kristen and David also gave SAM Labs hardware top marks for student engagement, and its versatility across the curriculum. 

Let’s see what they had to say…

Kristen on the cross-curricular nature of SAM Labs: ”I love the versatility of the product! I can incorporate one or a few blocks into so many areas of my STEM curriculum. I have two units mapped out for the spring semester that incorporate SAM Labs products, but I always find more ways to incorporate them during other lessons!”

Just look at how Kristen and her students used SAM Labs blocks to build motor-powered vehicles and even a plane!

David on the simplicity of SAM Labs: “The simplicity of the physical devices puts the focus on coding, problem solving, and communication. I also use Lego Mindstorms and the complexity of the physical pieces gets in the way of the computer learning. The complexity of Lego has great potential for creativity and engineering, but SAM Labs is less chaotic. It’s easier to start and stop with different groups of students, too. I use SAM Labs with multiple groups of students.”

Kristen’s advice to educators using SAM Labs for the first time: “Start out small. Hand out a button and a buzzer or a slider and a DC motor. See what connections the kids can make with them! Once your students get the idea of what to do, they will find many ways to use the blocks that you never thought about! If the blocks are too intimidating at first, go with a step-by-step lesson that has Google Slides. It makes it so much easier to implement and the lessons are very engaging.”

If you’re looking for fun, engaging and hands-on hardware projects, be sure to check out our blocks in action!