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Learning programming while having fun — The University of Fukui and others develop special sensor based teaching materials for use in elementary and junior high school classes


A research group led by Lecturer Keita Kobayashi and Associate Professor Kazuhiko Ishikawa at the University of Fukui's Faculty of Education and students in the Ishikawa Laboratory, in collaboration with B Inc. and Natural Style, announced on April 15 that they have developed and started selling "Laboratory Kit" and "Laboratory Card," sensor programming materials for IchigoJam (a computer for children dedicated to programming), which can be used in science classes in elementary schools and technology and home economics classes in junior high schools. The PC can be expanded with sensors and other devices to easily try measurement and control, allowing students to enjoy learning about manufacturing and programming.

The kit is a parts set comprising 11 parts, including various sensors, servo motors, and LEDs that can be connected to the IchigoJam terminals, allowing users to easily experience measurement and control using a computer. Various combinations can be used to develop original measurement and control robots. The card set containing 16 cards provides easy-to-understand instructions on how to connect the kit's sensors and other parts and how to program them, making it easy for children who are using the kit for the first time to try sensor programming. The names of the sensors, their illustrations and examples of their use are printed on the front of the cards, and the instructions on how to connect and program them are on the back. Instruction plans and worksheets designed by Kobayashi and his team that can be used in classes and events are available on their website (

Kobayashi said "Programming using sensors is a high hurdle for children, so we developed this program so that they can better understand how much fun science can be. We expect the program to be highly effective for learning because it allows students to combine their own ideas and learn through experience."

The Laboratory Kit is priced at 7,700 yen (including tax) and the Laboratory Card at 660 yen (including tax).

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd. ( Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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