Sunday, September 10, 2017

Teen Area: Maker Kits

Last fall I received a $500 LSTA mini grant to add maker kits to my teen area upgrade. I focused on hands-on items, rather than technology, since our schools already have a lot of tech and labs. We ended up putting out various items (button maker, marble run, etc.) out on different days when the youth services desk was staffed. This ended in May - most of our teens mysteriously vanish in summer and there were a lot of other things going on (apart from summer reading) that needed to be dealt with. One of my projects in August was to revamp the teen maker space into a more accessible version and one of my new associates, Maria, helped a lot with this, especially in adding in more tech. She's going to focus on getting teen activities, marketing, and social media off the ground for the short time we're lucky enough to have her and the maker space was our first project.

You can see the current arrangement of the teen area here. I listed all the teen maker kits, with components, and Maria made sure everything was included and working in the tubs. I have a pdf of all the items here. Right now, the main components of the list are

  • Button maker
  • Osmo
  • Perler beads
  • Sticker machine
  • art kits
We ended up moving the marble run to the school-age area, as that was where it got the most use. I also replaced a number of missing items like our fidgets and nail art and added a lot of art supplies. There are some additional items Maria is working on - a stop-motion animation app on our spare ipad with clay for example. I also plan to borrow materials from our consortium's tech library to have available on a limited basis - I hope to have the ozobots available in October for example.

All of the items are in plastic sleeves in a binder. The front of the binder includes the instructions. Basically, the kids choose the sheet of an item, fill out a checkout card, and then they can use the item in the teen area for an hour (approximately. I probably won't really enforce that.)

The kids don't need a library card unless they are borrowing something that connects to the internet. I'll count the checkout cards to count participation. The only problem I anticipate is younger kids wanting to use the materials - I'm going to stay firm on not allowing that though. I expect the teens to be able to use all the maker space materials themselves with minimal instruction or assistance and that simply wouldn't work for younger kids. Also, the volume of younger kids who would want the materials would use them up so fast there would be nothing left for the teens! I'm fine with caregivers sitting down with teens with developmental disabilities to use the teen maker space though - that's absolutely ok. I'll be continuing work on our school-age/juvenile area (haven't figured out a good name for this yet) and the children's play area to make sure all our age groups have a space just for them as well.

We're using the rest of the teen budget to revive Middle School Madness for the rest of the fall and add a couple teen programs. Next year there are several things I'd like to add; as well as consumables and supplies, I'd like to add cardboard makedo kits, paper circuits, and Bloxels (although that last might or might not be in the budget).

No comments: