Take 5: MakerSpace Tools I Learned About at TLA 2017
I recently had the pleasure of attending – and speaking – at the annual Texas Library Association conference. Today I am going to share with you 5 Makerspace tools I learned about.
MakeDo Cardboard Construction Kit
Make Do are cardboard construction pieces that work as nuts and bolts for cardboard. This means that you can save all those boxes that your books come in and allow teens to re-purpose them in the makerspace. These kits seem really multi-functional and affordable, I’m definitely getting some of these ASAP.
The Finch Robot is a plug and play robot. There is no building involved, it’s ready to start coding out of the box. It can be used with a variety of languages, including Scratch, Python, Java and more. It looks like a jellyfish or an alien out of some sci fi movie. You can find more information at www.finchrobot.com.
The Hummingbird Kit
If you want to promote creative building as well as programming, the Hummingbird might be the kit for you. It contains all of the guts of a robot – sensors, LED lights, motors and a brain – and you need to put a face on it. No soldering or electronics is really required. An example they had at the booth was a dragon robot made out of a jewelry box as its base and moved using the Hummingbird Kit. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty awesome. You can find more information at www.hummingbirdkit.com.
The Adjustable Height White Board Table
My AD is pretty used to me going to a conference and texting her pictures of all the things I want for my Teen MakerSpace. This item was so cool I called. It’s a white board table that can flip so it becomes a whiteboard wall. Did I mention it has adjustable height? It’s pricey, but I covet this table for its functionality and adaptability.
We have made task cards for all of our big Teen MakerSpace stations. Although we want our space to be open and inspire creativity, we have found that some of our teens really want a task or a challenge to help them get started. In fact, we now have a daily Lego challenge as well as all of our regular stations. I visited a booth called Maker Maven that sold task cards, which I think are a great investment. In fact, they sell pre-make Maker Kits that you can just unbox and start using around themes like engineering, virtual reality, science, 3D arts and crafts and robotics. The kits range in price from $299.00 (the Innovator Kit) to $1,499 (the Ultimate Maker Kit). You can find more information about this at www.makermaven.net.
If you have or use any of these tools, let me know what you think in the comments.
Filed under: Makerspace
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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