Maker Club is BACK!

We had our first meeting of Maker Club yesterday, and it’s off to a wild start! About 20 students showed up, mostly new members from the 7th grade. We started with our Quickfire Challenge after I went over some general rules for how the afternoon would run. Our Quickfire Challenge this month was a tower building competition. Students got into groups of 2-4 students and were given 10 Popsicle sticks, 10 straws, tape, and scissors. They had 10 minutes to use those supplies to build the tallest tower that was standing when the 10 minutes were up. Some students quickly realized the key to winning was building a strong base, others forgot that the heavier materials should not be on the top. Some teams had great teamwork and each had a role, and some teams worked independently and had trouble coming together at the end. The tallest tower ended up being 41″, and in 2nd place, 39″, so it was very close. The two winning teams got a candy prize and glow sticks!

When the challenge was over, students had about 40 minutes to try out all the gadgets. A lot of students were quickly drawn to the Spheros, littleBits, and 3D printer. It will take students some time to get used to using all the gadgets, and I suggested coming in at lunch time to become more comfortable with the technologies. We had 2 Spheros die, and are anxiously awaiting the replacements in the mail, so more students will have the opportunity to use them!

Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 18!

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Quickfire Challenge – Paper Airplanes

This week our Maker Club Quickfire Challenge was to create the best paper airplane. Students had 10 minutes and could choose from 3 different types of paper. They were able to look up tutorials if they wanted, but were not allowed to use any tape, staples, etc. Students found creative ways to crease the edges of their planes (placing the plane under a chair), and were ready to fly them down the hall when their time was up. The top 3 winners chose a candy prize!

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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.

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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!

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Presenting…Sphero!

As a means to offer the students more than just books and research help, the Lawrence LMC is working to provide connections to the STEM curriculum as well. One way is to allow students the opportunity to try their hand at coding. May I present, Sphero, the robotic ball:

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Sphero is an app-enabled ball that allows students to code as a means to make Sphero do what they want, such as drive through a maze. Students are able to have fun, but are also learning key STEM principles. Our Sphero has been given the name Chuck Lawrence. We are all very fond of Chuck so far, and have spent the past 2 weeks learning how Chuck works, and how we can use the different apps that are associated with Sphero.

Today we learned how the Sphero can do the Hokey Pokey. I must say, he is pretty good at it! We also took him for a spin around the library (without hitting any obstacles), which is harder than it looks! Watch the video below: