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Super-Awesome Sylvia's Arduino heartbeat pendant

By Sylvia Martinez
February 13, 2015
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Super-Awesome Sylvia started making and tinkering when she was 7, and like a lot of kids, she loves to try new things. One year after visiting a nearby Maker Faire, she and her dad were inspired to create a web show about making.

In " "Sylvia's Super-Awesome Maker Show," " Sylvia teaches kids and adults that making things — and learning something while you're at it — can be fun, easy and more rewarding than just buying something or reading about it. She has covered all sorts of educational DIYs, from hobby rocketry to sewable soft circuits.

In the mini-episode below, Sylvia explains how to build a pendant necklace that blinks in time with your heartbeat using an Arduino, an open source pulse sensor and some LED lights. The project teaches programming, biology and electronics while engaging students in elementary, middle or even high school.
How can you use a project like this in the classroom? Here are just a few ideas:

  • In a biology class, let students make their own heartbeat pendants to add a fun and personal twist to a unit on the circulatory system.
  • In a computer science or engineering class, use it as a starter project to introduce the amazing world of microcontroller programming.
  • Challenge students to make their own videos for any subject by studying Super-Awesome Sylvia's playful DIY video style.

Watch the episode below to learn how to make the heartbeat pendant with your students. Better yet, show it to your class as a group or let them watch it on their own time before using class time to walk through the project.

Sylvia Libow Martinez is co-author of the best-selling book Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. She speaks, writes and consults for schools looking to integrate experiential learning with modern technology. Find out more about what she's working on at

Super-Awesome Sylvia is the star of Sylvia's Super-Awesome Maker Show and recently launched the first in a series of full-color children's books. Sylvia's Super-Awesome Project Book: Super-Simple Arduino shares the power of Arduino microcontroller programming with learners of all ages through three exciting engineering projects.