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Session Notes: Makerspace Bootcamp – to Learn is to Play!

This is part of a series of Session Notes from grantees who have received Professional Development grants from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. Each grantee will share their professional development experience and include tips and other resources from the workshop or class. Grantees had their choice of an article for the Compendium, a webinar or a podcast. This project was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Laura Kuchmay
Laura Kuchmay

 

by Laura Luchmay

The wide world of maker spaces and STE(A)M learning in public and school libraries can be overwhelming for those new to the maker universe. As the demand grows for libraries and schools to provide maker spaces for their patrons and students, the task of deciding what to include in the space, if a designated space is possible, within a limited budget, can be very daunting. This is especially the case when you have never seen a 3D printer in action, put together a circuit, programmed a robot, learned computer coding, or dabbled in engineering. These things were not part of the standard curriculum when most of us were in school.

It is awe-inspiring even for those with experience in maker spaces since there are thousands of new products and learning tools coming out on the market each month. It’s hard to decide what would work best for your patron base or students. I have found that the best way to learn about makerspace tools, gadgets, and toys is to get hands on experience. It is not just children who learn through play. Adults too can get a better grasp on the world around them by engaging in new experiences and environments.

I had the chance this summer to attend a Makerspace Boot Camp in Ellenville, NY in the Catskill Mountains, outside of New York City along with other public librarians, school librarians, and k-12 teachers. The camp was run by Shannon Mersand and Sheri McNair of the School Library Media Specialists of Southeastern New York (SLMSSENY). This 3 day immersive conference allowed us to learn and explore 25 maker style activities and more in 5 hands on playgrounds that included such themes as robotics/robots, coding, circuitry, engineering and fabrication. Each day from 8 AM to 9 PM at night was full of insightful information. We were taught by doing, not by being talked at. The first exercise they had us do was to create a light-up name tag. There was no instruction, just materials (paper, pencils, battery, LED light, clear name badge holder, and markers). We had to figure it out onPhoto of Laura Kuchmay at Maker bootcamp our own. It was a great icebreaker as well as awakened our problem solving skills.

Each day we had two 2.5 hour long playground sessions, two information sessions, and then a 1.5 hour long workshop on either design challenges or upcycling. Below is a list of each playground and information about most of the products we got to “play” with during each session.

Playground 1: Circuitry

Every half hour we worked at a different table with a different product and learned about different activities/programs that the products could be used for programing.

Little Bits

Name: littleBits STEAM Student Set

Made By: little Bits

Website: www.littleBits.com/education

Audience: Ages 8+


Paper Circuitry

Name: Paper Circuits

Website: http://tinkering.exploratorium.edu/paper-circuits

Audience: ages 4+

What it does: Paper Circuits uses copper tape, batteries and LEDs to add lights to projects made from paper.

 

Bare Conductive

Name: Bare Conductive Flashing Card set

Made by: Bare Conductive Ltd

Website: http://www.bareconductive.com

Audience: Ages 12+

 

Circuit Maze

Name: Circuit Maze

Made by: ThinkFun

Website: www.thinkfun.com

Audience: 8+

(**I highly recommend this game!)

 

Sewn Circuits

Name: Sewn Circuits

Website: http://tinkering.exploratorium.edu/sewn-circuits

Ages: ages 6+

 

Chibitronics

Name: Chibitronics Chibi Lights LED Circuit Stickers STEM Starter Kit

Made by: Chibitronics, PTE LTD.

Website: http://chibitronics.com/

Audience: Ages 13+ (5+ with adult supervision)

 

Playground 2: Engineering

Every half hour we worked at a different table with a different product and learned about different activities/programs that the products could be used for programing.

Sugru

Name: Sugru Moldable Glue

Made by: FormFormFrom Ltd.

Website: https://sugru.com

Audience: Ages 5+

 

MakeDO

Name: Makedo Toolkit

Made by: Makedo

Website: https://www.make.do/

Audience: Ages 4+

Add ons: Madedo has a Thingiverse library of free 3D printable files to enhance and extend the Makedo system (https://www.thingiverse.com/Makedo/designs)

 

MakerStudio

Name: MakerStudio Gears Set

Made by: ThinkFun

Website: www.thinkfun.com

Audience: 8+

 

K’Nex

Name: K’NEX 70 Model Building Set

Made by: K’NEX

Website: http://www.knex.com

Audience: Ages 6+

 

Hanz Toys

Name: Hanzblok STEM Inventor Lab

Made by: Hanz Toys

Website: www.hanztoys.com

Audience: Ages 5+

 

Goldie Blox

Name: GoldieBLox Craft-struction Box

Made by: GoldieBlox

Website: http://www.goldieblox.com

Audience: Ages 6+

 

Playground 3: Fabrication with TECH

Every half hour we worked at a different table with a different product and learned about different activities/programs that the products could be used for programing.

Onion

Name: Onion Omega with Mini Dock

Made by: Onion Corporation

Website: https://store.onion.io/products/omega-dock

Audience: Ages 16+

 

Sketchup

  • 3D modelling program that you can install on your computer. There are two versions of Sketchup available, Sketchup Make, which is free for education institutions, and Sketchup Pro.

 

TinkerCad

  • An easy to use, FREE, browser based 3D design tool that allows users to create 3D renderings by manipulating pre-designed shapes.

 

Hyperduino

Name: HyperDuino

Made by: 1010 Technologies

Website: http://hyperduino.com/

Audience: Ages 7+

 

Kano

Name: Kano Computer Kit

Made by: Kano

Website: http://kano.me/

Audience: Ages 6+

 

Makey Makey Classic

Name: Makey Makey Classic

Made by: Joylabz, Inc.

Website: http://makeymakey.com/

Audience: Ages 8 and Up

 

Makey Makey Go

Name: Makey Makey Go

Made by: Joylabz, Inc.

Website: http://makeymakey.com/

Audience: Ages 8 and Up

(**Nice, but the Classic does a lot more!)

 

Scribbler 3D Pen

Name: Scribbler 3D Pen

Made by: Scibbler

Website: http://www.scibbler3dpen.com/

Audience: Ages 8 and Up (with adult supervision)

 

 

Playground 4: Coding

Every half hour we worked at a different table with a different product and learned about different activities/programs that the products could be used for programing.

Apps

Hopscotch (http://www.gethopscotch.com/)

Made with Code (http://www.madewithcode.com/)

Game Salad (http://www.gamesalad.com)

 

Coding Websites

Scratch (https://scratch.mit.edu/)

Hour of Code (http://hourofcode.com)

Tynker (https:///www.tynker.com/)

MIT App Inventor (http://appinventor.mit.edu/explore/)

 

Sphero

Name: Sphero SPRK Edition

Made by: Sphero, Inc.

Website: http://www.sphero.com/sphero-sprk

Audience: Ages 5+

 

Ozobot

Name: Ozobot Bit

Made by: Evollve, Inc.

Website: http://ozobot.com/

Audience: Ages 8+

 

Dash & Dot

Name: Dash and Dot Pack

Made by: Wonder Workshop

Website: https://www.makewonder.com

Audience: Ages 5+

 

Puzzlets

Name: Puzzlets Starter Kit

Made by: Digital Dream Labs, LLC

Website: https://www.digitallldreamslabs.com/

Audience: Ages 6+

(**Fantastic and very addicting, event for adults!)

 

Playground 5: Robots and Robotics

Every half hour we worked at a different table with a different product and learned about different activities/programs that the products could be used for programing.

K’Nex Discover Control Set

Name: K’NEX Discover Control Set

Made by: K’NEX

Website: http://www.knex.com

Audience: Ages 6+

 

Lego EV3

Name: LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core Set

Made by: LEGO

Website: www.LEGOEducation.com

Audience: Ages 10+ (younger if tech savvy)

 

Vex

Name: VEX IQ Super Kit

Made by: VEX Robotics

Website: http://www.vexrobotics.com/

Audience: Ages 8+

 

Edison

Name: Edison

Made by: Microbric

Website: https://meetedison.com/

Audience: Ages 5+

 

At the information sessions we learned what is making and the educational theories behind it, funding options, and how to make space for your maker space in whatever amount of space you have available.  The design challenges and upcycling workshops gave us great ideas for team building activities for our maker programming and summer camps back at our libraries/schools and ideas for how to make use of all those recyclable materials lying around the library. The Makerspace Boot Camp was overall a great chance to get to know librarians and teachers from a wide range of educational settings. Stories of what has worked and not worked were swapped, connections made, and a melting pot of ideas was created. The School Library Media Specialists of Southeastern New York (www.slmsseny.org) will be hosting the Makerspace Boot Camp again next summer and I highly recommend you go!

 

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