Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mad Scientists Club: Building Science

This is something from Minecraft, obviously
  • Program Goals: 
    • Engineering!
    • Encourage kids to plan and think ahead
    • Encourage kids to be creative with a limited selection of items
    • 35 kids and adults in attendance
Project/Experiment: Cardboard Engineering
I usually have a separate project and experiment, but this doesn't lend itself well to that. I had a large board up with instructions for the kids
  1. Think: What are you making?
  2. Plan: Draw a plan! Collect supplies!
  3. Measure = 2, Cut = 1
  4. Build!
Don't have what you need? Didn't work? Back to step 1!

I've also tried cardboard squares for building - it didn't work quite right, but I probably didn't get the squares cut correctly.

Supplies (cardboard engineering)
  • Cardboard (every box for the last month and then some!)
  • Duct tape, packing tape, regular tape
  • Scissors, hole punches, staplers
  • Pencils (I still have about 3500 that were donated)
  • Pencils, scratch paper, rulers
  • Markers and stickers
  • Duct tape. Lots and lots of duct tape
  • Cardboard boxes. Many, many cardboard boxes
  • Lots of little pasteboard sticks (donated)
  • Shape stickers, colored masking tape, yarn
  • Scissors, regular tape, staplers
Project/Experiment: Bridges
  • Cardboard/boxes
  • Books on bridges
  • Popsicle sticks (2 sizes)
  • Yarn
  • Tape (regular, duct tape, packing tape)
  • Scissors (big and small)
  • Glue dots
  • Staplers, hole punches
Experiment: Pendulums
I got the idea from Adventures of a Children's Librarian. It didn't work perfectly, mostly because I had trouble getting the balls attached to the ladder (decided the roof was a bad idea) but the kids really liked it.

Supplies
  • Playground balls, sensory balls, ladders, yarn etc. to hang them with
  • Blocks
Evaluation
  • 11-3-16 (Building Challenge)
    • Attendance: 42
    • Supplies: I cleaned out the basement and had lots of duct tape and hundreds of dvd cases someone gave us. Plus cardboard, styrofoam, and old pool noodles.
  • 2-11-16 (pendulums and cardboard engineering)
    • Attendance: 20ish
    • Notes: This week has been BATSHIT. The cardboard squares did not work out so well - I think we didn't cut them right - and I had a lot of trouble getting the pendulums up. But the kids had fun overall.
  • 7-23-15 (cardboard engineering)
    • Attendance: 42
    • Feedback/Connections: Lots of new families! One new homeschooling family who was interested to learn about what we had to offer and one family with limited English but we communicated fine and they were excited to come back to more programs.
    • Notes: I could really use more big scissors. My colored masking tape is popular, but it's so difficult to pull off the dispenser!
  • 9-25-14 (cardboard engineering)
    • Attendance: 35
    • Connections/Feedback: Several new families, including one with a preschooler and an ESL family - both groups I am working on reaching. We have a lot of Hispanic families who use the library, but very few of the kids come to programs - there is the language barrier for the parents and I think a lot of them think programs cost money. I also had time to chat with some long-time families about potential programs for next year and got an awesome idea from one mom for the preschool obstacle course I'm planning.
    • Notes: This was great - very simple and the most time-consuming part was collecting enough boxes and lugging them up and down from the basement. I did have a LOT of duct tape - a whole stack of 5 rolls. It would be even cooler if I had colored duct tape next time.
  • 4-10-14 (Bridges)
    • Notes: This sounded like such as awesome idea, but when I went to plan it I had a hard time of thinking how it would work and then I got too busy with our massive circus party. I did get some good ideas from Amy Koester's Bridge Science program and hopefully I'll rewrite the program to go with that eventually. I had a smaller group, thankfully, and they came up with some interesting things, not all bridge-related, but fine by me as I was still in a state of exhaustion.

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