Friday, May 24, 2013

Focus on Building Projects

     An easy and rewarding program to run at any library is Lego Building. Here at the Duxbury Free Library, we turn one of our downstairs program rooms into a Lego event once a month on Wednesday afternoons. Big bins of random Legos are put out and children in Gr. K and up are invited to build. Themes can be preselected like robots, transportation, in space, buildings, or just free building opportunties. For a more active program, building vehicles with cardboard for ramps/obstacles or hosting a zipline is always a crowd pleaser. For the tech savy crowd, Lego stories could be made using Stop Motion programs, simple storytelling with a video camera, or making a photo slideshow and recording their voice over. The possibilities are endless.
     Rather than scheduled Lego meetings this summer, we will be hosting a family Lego contest for Gr. K-6 in August.  Families are invited to build a Lego creation from their own imagination at home and bring it to be judged and displayed at the library for one week. Prizes will be awarded for entries with the most creativity.  An entry form for the contest includes a place to title their work and write their own story to enhance writing skills. Forms will be available soon but it's never to early to start working on a project (just make sure it does not exceed 11 X 14 for its base).
     For the early literacy crowd,  Lego Duplo's Read, Build and Play! project cosponsored by the ALSC includes summer program handouts that detail step by step building projects incorporated into selected picture books for story time. If you don't have their selected picture books, use one in your own collection. Once you create directions, you could make a simple Duplo creation for any picture book. For example, Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord, which includes design choices to build his car, can include a building component for their own cars. They could even race! If you are pressed for time or Duplo materials, they also provide information on how to purchase already made Read and Build Literacy Kits where specific Duplo blocks are featured in each story and included in the package. This could be left out as an Early Literacy/Maker Space one-on-one activity or turned into kits to be checked out of the library. 

    For an added science component, Lego Mindstorms kits include real working robotic parts for the upper Elementary-High School age group. An international Lego League has been formed. In the early fall, a challenge is given for teams with up to 10 students. This year's challenge is Nature's Fury.  Students are programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game) and develop a solution to a problem they have identified (Project) with real world applications.
    Legos aren't the only building opportunities on the market, KEVA planks  work for the preschool and up crowd. With just a few carefully positioned planks, the sky is the limit for structures. They have their own YouTube channel which could be linked on a library computer or iPad to encourage drop in project building. There are only a few projects to get started but many other people have uploaded searchable videos.

   What about those with a tight budget? Well we all have toilet paper tubes that we save up for craft projects. How about making marble runs with those?


  1. So many great materials! Let's see what we can do to expand the potential of the Legos we already have.... Thoughts?

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