Maker Madness!

This month Ryan Library filled with buzzing makerspace activities.

Thanks to Donors Choose and “Sensei” Trey Ford technology librarian and wizard of the Denton Public Library, we were able to hold an Advanced Soldering Workshop at our school library makerspace. Some of the kids chose to make their own FM radios and while others made some “Simon” type games. This project took our makers from soldering novices to soldering experts! Which is pretty awesome because now we are ready to tackle almost anything! Plus, the students are obsessed with soldering and they use our soldering station almost everyday!

Last week, I worked with students to test out one of the #superlibrarianhubs projects from our upcoming makerspace project book. I really didn’t think I could do it, but I taught the kids to use a drill, a box cutter, and even a hand saw! The kids who signed up loved, loved, loved everything about it and I almost had to kick them out of the library makerspace because it seemed a few of them had moved in.

Monday was the first day of Girls in Tech Camp ! We had a great day learning about circuits with Chibitronic stickers and cards designed by my #superlibrarianhubs. (He made the art, and I worked on the circuit paths.) These girls had never done any kind of activity like it, so it was challenging and rewarding.

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Today we were able to chat with female engineer Jie Qi the designer of Chibitronics. We loved hearing about her journey as an amazing STEM woman in tech and her connection with littleBits. The girls enjoyed asking her about why some circuits are finicky and how Jie comes up with her designs. The girls are now utilizing their new circuit knowledge to design their own wearable electronics (based on another project from our book. ) Tomorrow we’ll have a quick chat with Krystal Persaud head of product design at littleBits and the girls will begin sewing their circuits for their wearable electronics. I can’t wait to show you what they design and create!

The best thing about all of these activities, is that students are starting to come in more and more to work on their own projects in the library makerspace. The culture of making is growing at Ryan! Students are beginning to come in with their own project ideas and are excited about learning to knit, 3D design, solder, and learn about basic circuits!  I love that they have newfound skills and are applying them to their own ideas.



Partnering with the Denton Public Library – Soldering Workshop

At the Denton mini-maker faire, I noticed Trey of Denton Public Library was teaching young children to solder! I was so excited about this empowering activity, I asked if he’d collaborate with me and come teach my high school students to solder during one of our makerspace lunch events.

So for two days last week, Trey brought 10 soldering stations, some Makey badges, and a whole lot of knowledge.  I loved how Trey told the students, “It’s a tool, don’t be afraid of it, just respect it.”

Together, we taught 60 students how to solder. One girl told another, “I’m so glad you made me come do this. It was so fun!”

Naomi Bates and friends came to visit and asked us bunches of questions about being makerspace librarians. At one point, Trey and I realized we’ve actually been collaborating on makerspace stuff for over two years now.  I love that we can compare making in public libraries and making in school libraries. Plus, it’s so awesome that we can share projects together and even collaborate like this! (See post where I taught at the DPL this summer.)

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One student came back the second day and just made a sculpture out of everyone’s leftover LED pieces.  Then our ITS suggested he take pictures of his “Solder Sculpture’s Adventures.”

Here’s one of the many adventures of the Ryan Library Solder Sculpture:

So many of our kids from the first day came back during the second makerspace day and asked if there was an advanced soldering workshop they could attend. Now Trey and I are looking at writing a small grant to get supplies so students can learn to make their own Elenco FM Radio. (It’s what they chose out of the 20 projects we showed them.)