Maker Club – Quickfire Challenge Edition

I decided, late at night when I couldn’t sleep, I needed to add something to Maker Club. The students and I have talked about challenges for them to complete, but when push comes to shove and I offer them a challenge, they’d rather tinker on their own. I started thinking about cooking shows on the Food Network, and the small challenges the contestants participate in before their elimination challenge, thus, the quickfire challenge was created.

Each Maker Club, the quickfire challenge will change, and students will never know beforehand what the challenge is. Students will be given 10 minutes to complete a challenge. Some will be group challenges, some will be individual, prizes will be awarded to at least 3 students every time. Every student must participate, and may not touch the Spheros, littleBits, etc. until the challenge is finished.

Last week students were excited for the “Marshmallow Challenge”. Students created teams and were given marshmallows and toothpicks. Their directions were: in 10 minutes they needed to work together to build the tallest structure out of marshmallows and toothpicks. At the end of 10 minutes the structure must be standing so I could measure it. Simple, but FUN!

We had 3 teams, each with a different number of students. The team with the most students won, which was my hypothesis, but the team with the smallest number of students actually came in 2nd. Each team worked differently. On one team,  all students worked separately and then tried to piece everything together at the end…*SPOILER*, their tower collapsed. One team built a structure that wasn’t very stable, but then kept adding around the outside to balance it. The last team had their tower collapse many times, but because they had the most people, they were able to troubleshoot and rebuild. It was fun to watch, and I am excited for the next challenge at the end of March.

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What Do You Love About the Lawrence LMC?

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, let’s show some love for the Lawrence LMC! Libraries are so important to people of all ages, and let’s show Massachusetts legislators just that! Come create a Valentine’s Day card in the library, for the library, and we will mail them to our state legislators. Spread the library love!


Creative station all set up for students to fill out their cards!



Perler Beads are Taking Over the Library!

I decided to purchase Perler Beads this year. Library Media Specialist, Diana Rendina of Renovated Learning appeared to be having good success with them in her makerspace. I purchase a large tub of the beads and a few pegboards, and decided to see what would happen. A few students started trying them out, and throughout the past few months they have exploded! Everyone has been busy after school and during lunch creating new designs, including Pokemon, anime characters, animals, and symbols. I have even started my first design!

Not only has this been a very fun art project, but it has promoted teamwork in the library, and helped to create a calmer atmosphere. Students help each other find designs using the Chromebooks and assist one another in sorting beads so everyone has the colors they need. We’ve been having a lot of fun with this craft! It’s easy, calming, fun, and low maintenance, and the design possibilities are endless! I’ve recently ordered more pegboards and more black beads (the most popular color), so more students may enjoy this activity. Keep the creative juices flowing! image1-21

New Playaways

The library received a shipment of new Playaways today! Included are a few summer reading titles and required reading for the 7th and 8th graders. Hopefully this will be an asset to students that find it easier to listen to a book. Happy listening! image1-19

Maker Club GROWS!

We had our December meeting of Maker Club yesterday, and WOW…we had 23 students attend! Usually attendance has averaged around 10 students, but 23!? …just, WOW! I was not at all prepared for that many students, but they all easily found something to tinker with and I didn’t even have to speak to anyone about sharing the gadgets. Students were learning how to use Tinkercad to design an object for the 3D printer, many raced Spheros down the hall outside the library, and littleBits and Perler Beads were also used! I envision this club growing even more in the next few months, so it looks like I will be purchasing some more gadgets!


Spheros, Tinkercad, and littleBits, OH MY!


Using littleBits to make A LOT of noise!


Having fun with Perler Beads!


Buddha Board and Tinkercad.


Spheros could be seen racing in the hallways.


The hallway proved to be the perfect race track!

Getting Creative with the 3D Printer

This past week Mr. Heller’s 8th grade STEM class spent their time in the library learning how to use the design program, Tinkercad, as means to print their very own 3D creation on our Makerbot printer. While a few students used Tinkercad last year, most had not even heard of it. Students signed themselves into my online classroom where they were able to follow tutorials on creating objects such as ornaments and keychains. The program can be difficult to use at first, but over the few days, students got much better at manipulating objects and even helped each other learn new tricks within the program.


The finished products! Lots of name keychains, a few ornaments, a beaker hall pass, and even an iPhone holder. 

Maker Club meets again today, where we will attempt to build a Mars rover out of littleBits circuits and craft supplies. In January we will have a 3-week program where students will design miniature houses using sticks, stones, shells, leaves, and of course circuits and 3D printed designs from the library. That is something very fun to look forward to after the holidays.

The makerspace items have moved a bit within the library as I look for the best configuration for the students. Our new space involves stools and a “bar” area for students to work at, and it seems like a hit so far!


New Year, New Maker Club!

We had our first Maker Club meeting of the school year, and students quickly jumped back into the “maker mindset”. The library has a lot of new technologies and crafts this year…and an hour was just not enough time for students to test out everything!


The newest supplies ready for the students!


The Spheros are ready to go! They are color-coded and each attached to a specific iPad. 


While Maker Club very much values finding your own way, and taking risks, we still need to have a few rules!

Students jumped right in to testing out the Spheros, checking out the newest littleBits, and learning how to use Tinkercad, a design program for our new 3D printer. Some students wanted to try everything, while some were happy to spend the hour just using one item.


Students were excited to see lots of new littleBits and origami paper!


So many options, so little time!


Students designing objects with Tinkercad, that we could later 3D print!