Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

MakerSpace: MakeDo Cardboard Construction Kits

makedo8 I learned about MakeDo Cardboard Construction Kits while at TLA Annual earlier this year. We bought several kits for our Teen MakerSpace and a fun new station was born.

A basic kit comes with a safety saw, a whole punch, several screws, and some hinges. Everything works great except for the safety saw. The safety saw is kind of useless, so we replaced it with box cutters.

TMS Assistant Desiree was the first to use the MakeDo kit, and she made an amazing Ferris Wheel that spins. The teens enjoyed brainstorming and problems solving with her as they tried to find a way to attach various pieces and make the wheel spin smoothly. It was a moment where we saw making happen in full effect and it was glorious. The Ferris Wheel is made using MakeDo, cardboard, straws, styrofoam cups, wire and a pencil.

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TMS Assistant Morgan made the knight helmet that you see above modeled by one of our regular teens. It is made entirely out of MakeDo pieces and cardboard boxes. The plume is the label off of a box torn off. This is a great example of what you can make using nothing but cardboard and MakeDo.

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There is no limit to what you can do with the MakeDo kit. We are also working on adding our LittleBits to make moving pieces and our LEDs to making light up pieces. And as a library, we have no shortage of cardboard boxes that can be used for material. In fact, this is a great Earth Day/Earth friendly station.

I will say that the pieces are designed to be re-usable, so you can dismantle a project and use the screws and fasteners to make new projects. But I think we’ll have a hard time taking these two amazing projects apart to make new ones. But we will, for the teens. Eventually.

I highly recommend the MakeDo kits for your makerspace.

Take 5: MakerSpace Tools I Learned About at TLA 2017

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I recently had the pleasure of attending – and speaking – at the annual Texas Library Association conference. Today I am going to share with you 5 Makerspace tools I learned about.

MakeDo Cardboard Construction Kit

makedo makedo2Make Do are cardboard construction pieces that work as nuts and bolts for cardboard. This means that you can save all those boxes that your books come in and allow teens to re-purpose them in the makerspace. These kits seem really multi-functional and affordable, I’m definitely getting some of these ASAP.

Finch Robot

The Finch Robot is a plug and play robot. There is no building involved, it’s ready to start coding out of the box. It can be used with a variety of languages, including Scratch, Python, Java and more. It looks like a jellyfish or an alien out of some sci fi movie. You can find more information at www.finchrobot.com.

The Hummingbird Kit

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If you want to promote creative building as well as programming, the Hummingbird might be the kit for you. It contains all of the guts of a robot – sensors, LED lights, motors and a brain – and you need to put a face on it. No soldering or electronics is really required. An example they had at the booth was a dragon robot made out of a jewelry box as its base and moved using the Hummingbird Kit. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty awesome. You can find more information at www.hummingbirdkit.com.

The Adjustable Height White Board Table

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My AD is pretty used to me going to a conference and texting her pictures of all the things I want for my Teen MakerSpace. This item was so cool I called. It’s a white board table that can flip so it becomes a whiteboard wall. Did I mention it has adjustable height? It’s pricey, but I covet this table for its functionality and adaptability.

Task Cards

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We have made task cards for all of our big Teen MakerSpace stations. Although we want our space to be open and inspire creativity, we have found that some of our teens really want a task or a challenge to help them get started. In fact, we now have a daily Lego challenge as well as all of our regular stations. I visited a booth called Maker Maven that sold task cards, which I think are a great investment. In fact, they sell pre-make Maker Kits that you can just unbox and start using around themes like engineering, virtual reality, science, 3D arts and crafts and robotics. The kits range in price from $299.00 (the Innovator Kit) to $1,499 (the Ultimate Maker Kit). You can find more information about this at www.makermaven.net.

If you have or use any of these tools, let me know what you think in the comments.