On September 20 we had another STEM Saturday Family Workshop. This time we presented an Egg Drop Challenge! Families came to design and construct containers to protect their egg from a fall. I put out materials like bubble wrap, styrofoam, cardboard, plastic bags, yarn, and tape and gave the families about 45 minutes to build. Then, they had an additional five minutes to secure their egg into the container. Finally, we went outside and I dropped each one from the ladder. It was a lot of fun! Go here to see a slideshow.
On Saturday we built ArtBots! I originally saw this idea (like so many other great ideas) over at The Show Me Librarian. There are several good tutorials out there (I like the large photographs in this one). Basically you take out the insides of an electric toothbrush, duct tape it together, and stick it in a pool noodle. Then you decorate the pool noodle and attach markers for legs. It.is.genius. The families had a great time creating their bots. Check out this slideshow.
A few weeks ago at Tinker Thinkers did a boat building activity like the one over at In short, I am busy. We used a variety of materials such as aluminum foil, styrofoam, straws, and paper to create boats, then we tested them out in my handy dandy Spiderman swimming pool. Once the boats were floating, we tested their seaworthiness by adding cargo (Legos). This activity was so simple, but I think it’s one of my favorite things we’ve ever done. You could really see the creativity and problem solving taking place. It was awesome, and really the whole point of Tinker Thinkers. To see a slideshow of the boats in our fleet, go here.
This week we had our second session of Minecraft in Real Life as part of our new Tinker Thinkers after school program. This brilliant program came from Angie over at Fat Girl Reading. If you are planning to do a program like this (and you totally should!) head over there first to get all the details. (I love her idea to add in parody videos, but I somehow haven’t managed to pull it off yet. Maybe next time!) I did a program very similar to what is described below this summer and it was CRAZY successful. We had several requests for another one like it, so I decided to add it as a Tinker Thinkers program. Why? Well, the game itself is technology, plus the paper craft demonstrates how you can make flat objects three dimensional and the crafting table activity requires sorting and replicating patterns.
For the first part of the program, we did these one piece mini papercraft characters. For the program I did this summer, we did Steve and a creeper. This time we did a zombie and a pig. I am SO glad that I chose the one piece characters. It really limited the amount of cutting and gluing, plus it cut down on the frustration level for the younger attendees.
Next came the item search portion of the program. The idea is for kids to complete a “real life” crafting table to receive a specific item of their choosing. For the summer program I used candy like Angie did (see link above) but I also added a bookmark option because I thought that these bookmarks were so darn cool. You know what? The kids were just as excited (if not more so) about the bookmarks than they were about the candy. So this time I just used the bookmarks. They had the option of crafting Steve, a creeper, Enderman, or a pig. The other four I offered as bonuses for various things (such as checking out a book!) They had a great time crafting and collecting the whole set.
To get the items for the crafting table, they searched through the library. At the summer program, I had a problem with some kids picking up more items than necessary, so this time I was sure to tell them only to get the items they needed for the particular bookmark they were making so that everyone was able to find the items they needed. It worked out really well, and we even had some to clean up from the shelves after the program was over.
After finding their items, they glued them onto a crafting table and gave it to me for the appropriate bookmark. Most repeated the process to complete the set of four. This was a really fun and easy way to incorporate Minecraft into our programming. Thanks again, Angie!
After the kids came in and filled out nametags, my elephant puppet Earl sang Willoughby Wallaby Woo to welcome each of them. Then he read the welcome message to them, and we discussed the items in our letter B bucket. Finally, we brainstormed words that start with the letter B for our word cloud.
For the read aloud I chose my new-favorite-book-in-the-whole-wide-world, Big Bad Bubble, by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri (E MONSTERS RUBI) MONSTERS are afraid of BUBBLES, and there’s also doughnut trees! Do I need to go on?
Read along book: Bubble Trouble by Joy N. Hulme (available through PINES). I read aloud and showed the pages while the kids each held and read from their own copy. After we read aloud, I asked some comprehension questions about what happened in the story. [AR level 0.6. For additional book details, click the link above]
Activity: We played bubble wrap sight word bingo. Actually, it wasn’t really bingo in the sense that there was a winner at the end. I just kept calling out words until everyone had popped all of their bubbles. Then we popped the bubbles that didn’t have words on them. Bubble wrap rocks.