Thursday, November 14, 2013

Timeless and powerful design principles can be learned with simple tools

Thinking that I was taking a week off from the cutting edge of coding and electronics, I prevailed upon Nancy Denman and Jessica Lamarre to borrow their Keva blocks to let the Middle Schoolers play with simple pine planks to see what they might construct.

Sure enough, stop the presses. I was caught unawares.
The booklet that comes with the Keva blocks was worth a thousand words, of course, and the most thoughtful of our compadres took a moment to look at and read the simple booklet before proceeding. That was their success.

Come to find out, Keva blocks teach simple but profound concepts of design and construction.  A tightly webbed inter-locking of the bricks achieves enormous stability and firmness.

Check it out for yourself:

In addition, we always host a Take Apart Table that encourages teens to dig under the surface and deconstruct the way electronic toys work.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Coding and electronics

Introducing the PHILS to the coding tutorial for the December "Hour of Code" was fun and, just when we thought we'd have to string them along for a while, the organizers came up with the whole series of tutorials on their web site!       

We needed the practice run to figure out how much we can rely on using the library wireless connection with our new iPads or do we need to stick to the wired desktops in the Reference and Children's areas. Lucky for us, Denise had arrange for a new wireless router to be installed today in the lower level so now the whole building should have a strong signal all day long. Yay, Denise! We're hoping that will give us adequate connectivity to handle all the old and young Coders we hope will participate in the week long, "HOUR OF CODE" from Dec. 9 - Dec. 14th.

Then, later in the week, we had our first "Wearable Electronics" workshop as a way to gain the interest of girls in circuitry and light.  The Adafruit Candle Flicker Bow project was challenging. Just making the bow was tricky, let alone creating the circuit from the LEDs in the front to the battery carriage in the back using the conductive thread. Whew! But the girls stuck with it and all were successful!

We're hoping to tackle a retro light-up tie in December.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sparkle Bows Circuitry LED Wearables this Saturday

 Our next makerspace project at the DFL is using conductive thread! Who knew they made such a thing?
Want something a little different to wear this holiday season? Make a twinkling accent for your updo.
Open to grades 5-adult on Saturday November 9th from 10-11:30am.

This class will teach you to make a ribbon bow and simple LED circuit. One Adafruit LED Sewing Kit has enough supplies for two bows, so make this project with a friend! All we have to do is sew up the ribbon, attached the circuit and connect the tiny battery. Limit to ten people. Sign up starts on Oct.26th.

Contributions to kit supply gratefully accepted but not required.($15 each)