Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Maker-Spaces for Kids, Attempt #1

During our school's spring break, it was the perfect time to try out this trendy new "Maker Space" thing I've heard so much about. Back when we had to have programming list completed for Spring, I wasn't sure what I'd do; but whatever it was, it would have to be a Maker Space. Afterward, searching for things to do, I encountered many arguments supporting the idea that "Maker Space" is just a fancy-wrapping name for things Youth Services librarians have been doing for years, in a way that's appealing to adults. I wholeheartedly agree with them.

It's kind of funny how everything gets repackaged every so often. Most recently, I read a tweeted-out article about Flipped Classrooms that claims, "Self-Directed Learning is the New Learning." Yes, it's so new that it's been around since the dawn of Man. I would go way farther into how this the article actually kept me up one night so that I had to write extensively about it at 2 AM, but here we're talking about Maker-Spaces.

So anyway. Spring Break "Maker Spaces":

First of all, no kids know what a "Maker Space" is. And the idea that adults conjure when they hear those two words together is totally different than kids (Oh, and I'm sure you know that most kids aren't into reading the program summary, either). So, on the day of, I made a sign to put on the doors of the Boat that said:

LEGOs + Crafts
1-3 pm in the Boat

...and, regardless of the totally non-intriguing-sounding title, over 40 kids attended each day.

Maker-Space 1: LEGOS
1. Make a LEGO vehicle
2. What's your favorite thing to do in Spring? Make it out of LEGOs
(these are two challenges I got from LEGO Quest Kids, which has 52 challenges you don't need to think about )
3. LEGO minifigure masks found on Abby Johnson's ALSC blog LEGO post. (instead of string for the masks, I just had them glue the masks on popsicle sticks, because screw that noise)
4. Make your own minifigure from the same blogpost.

Maker-Space 2: Do-it-Yourself Day
(taken from this program)
1. Free-play LEGOs.
2. Make a puppet
3. Make a disguise

(There weren't any directions, because I'm a horrible crafter. But little stand up signs like the one to the right did the trick to get kids thinking)

So that's about it. Around 40 kids each day with something extra to do during Spring Break. Easy-as-pie and totally fun!

Next time I might think about having station with a specific computer program/game on laptops, like Scratch or Professor Garfield.

But for now, there was just too much glue.