Grab some laptops or tablets and set up this fun STEM program! Have your kiddos join millions of students around the world celebrating Computer Science Education Week (December 5-11) with the Hour of Code. Registration for the annual celebration starts each year in October.
It’s easy to sign up, and the website has plenty of resources to get you started. I’ll be using CodeMonkey to create a simple video game with block coding.
I’m planning on doing a Tech Take-Apart program and have found some great resources!
In the Youth Makerspace Playbook that I posted about before, head down to Appendix B on page 68 for tips on taking apart electronics, safe practices for e-waste disassembly, and a list of tools that are helpful to have on hand. There’s also a list of what is safe to take apart and what is not safe! For example, do not use Laser printers (carcinogenic toner), Copy machines (toner), Microwaves (radioactive component), Cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs (deadly capacitor potential), Paper shredders (many sharp blades), or Fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent bulbs.
So how do you get the electronics? Ask your fellow staff members, search the storage areas of the library, talk to your IT person, find out if there is an e-recycling program near you that would donate some items to the library! Our library is a city department, and we ask the other departments for donations. In addition, ask your patrons!
Additional reading on how to make this program successful:
Whether you are in the planning stages or have been running your space for years — you’ll find something useful here. One of my favorite things in this document is Appendix D, which speaks about language use. It is so important to be intentional with the language you are using with your makers. For example, we might have a young person who isn’t sure how to start or wants specific examples, instructions, etc. We might say something like, “I hear that you’re having a hard time getting started and would prefer an example. I do have some if you’d like, but how about waiting a bit and seeing what others are trying out? Perhaps something will inspire you. Try just messing around first, just playing and having fun. I’ll check back with you in a bit to see how you’re feeling.” I love that!
I was happy to find out about this great vendor for Makerspace products, Brown Dog Gadgets! They offer a variety of goodies, including bristlebot kits, maker tape, crazy circuits, conductive sewing, LED name badges, paper circuits, solar, and more.
“Creating and starting a makerspace is an exciting venture; you build a team and purchase new equipment. There are a lot of resources (people and articles) that describe how emergent makerspaces can get off the ground. Once your makerspace has been open for a few years, you begin to experience challenges that are distinctly different from those start-up challenges, and there are very few, if any, resources that describe what this new, “post-emergent” phase entails. Three labs in the YOUmedia Learning Labs Network will lead you through a workshop where they present and talk through a framework that supports makerspaces in thinking through what this phase involves, and how to not be caught off guard by those challenges.”