Open hardware makes science education fun

Brown Dog Gadgets

© Lead Image © margaritatkahcenko,

© Lead Image © margaritatkahcenko,

Article from Issue 207/2018

Brown Dog Gadgets is making science education more accessible and affordable with open hardware.

Free software and the maker movement have always been closely connected to education. In the last few years, open hardware has started to strengthen this connection. A case in point is Brown Dog Gadgets [1], a small company dedicated to making science accessible. The company's latest crowdfunded project is Crazy Circuits [2], kits of Lego-compatible circuit boards and other electronic components and a growing array of projects ranging from what founder Joshua Zimmerman describes as an "evil Cylon pumpkin" to basic Arduino programming (Figure 1).

Figure 1: An Arduino programming project.

A few yeas ago, Zimmerman was a middle school science teacher in Milwaukee, Minnesota. "My classroom had a really small budget – it was my salary. I was always looking for fun science projects for my students and myself. I would find projects on and YouTube and then implement them in my classroom and after-school science club. I was using the open source projects that were out there, and then I started posting them back on with better instructions and teaching points assigned to them."


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