Engineering

Robotics With Cubelets

2019-10-03T18:32:04-06:00

  Over the last year or so, I've done a number of programs using Cubelets.  For anyone unfamiliar with them, they are cube-shaped modules that connect to one another magnetically to create 'robots.'  Each module has a single function.  There's a power Cube, that contains the rechargeable battery, and the On/Off switch.  The rest are divided into ' Sense Cubes,' 'Think Cubes,' and 'Act Cubes.' The Sense Cubes in the kit I have access to are modules that have light sensors, and distance (proximity) sensors.  The Power Cube is also the processor for the robot.  The action cubes include cubes with [...]

Robotics With Cubelets2019-10-03T18:32:04-06:00

Thank you, NASA

2019-08-22T19:05:06-06:00

I want to begin today by apologizing for having disappeared for a while.  My disappearance wasn't by choice, but sharing my story does give me the opportunity to celebrate NASA, and everything it has accomplished over the last several decades. So, for any one who is curious, here's the story of my spring and summer... I was going about my day to day business, and enthusiastically planning my summer programs (which were going to be really great, by the way), when I woke up bright and early one day, sat up, put my feet on the floor to stand up, and [...]

Thank you, NASA2019-08-22T19:05:06-06:00

STAR Net + Infiniscope = Great Resources and Activities!!

2019-01-17T03:28:34-07:00

  Next Wednesday (January 23) two great resources will be coming together to help teachers and public librarians unite to create a wonderful summer experience for children all across the United States!  STAR_Net, a resource for librarians who provide STREAM programming, is uniting with Infiniscope, a resource used by teachers to teach science concepts, especially those related to space and astronomy.  This new alliance could really bring this summer's theme of "A Universe of Stories" to life for children and youth of all ages, and create a relationship between school and library that could serve to strengthen and reinforce student learning [...]

STAR Net + Infiniscope = Great Resources and Activities!!2019-01-17T03:28:34-07:00

Pumpkin STEMs!

2018-11-25T20:50:30-07:00

STEM programming and Halloween just sort of naturally go together. But I was looking for a slightly "less gross" way to connect the two. Building and pumpkins don't seem to normally go in the same sentence, but we tried and it and had a blast! For the engineering portion of the program, I decided to use a variation on the marshmallows and spaghetti project building idea. I provided candy pumpkins and toothpicks for the building challenge. Candy Corn was also available, although none chose to build with it. They were allowed as many candy pumpkins as they needed, and both flat [...]

Pumpkin STEMs!2018-11-25T20:50:30-07:00

Lessons Learned from Camp Cosmos

2018-11-19T21:28:33-07:00

            How do you decide if an event is a success? Usually the number of people in attendance is a good indicator, and one that the state wants us to report. But what if you only have three people from your intended audience attend? Can you still call that a successful event? To celebrate the end of World Space Week in October, we held Camp Cosmos at one of the local parks. We had paper rockets launched by compressed air, made space packs, offered "moon sand" to play in, made galaxy art, and more. It was a [...]

Lessons Learned from Camp Cosmos2018-11-19T21:28:33-07:00

Transportation at the Depot

2017-06-27T21:33:33-06:00

Taking the STEAM concept in a slightly different direction, last week we hosted a program at the Depot Park all about transportation. This is always a popular theme, and since we were meeting at the Depot (as in train!) Park, it seemed like a natural fit. The Erlanger Depot Museum is one of the last remaining buildings of its kind in the United States. The museum building itself is an historic landmark. It’s a wooden railroad depot that was built in 1877 and remained in operation for nearly 100 years. When the building was closed by the railroad, the Erlanger Historical Society [...]

Transportation at the Depot2017-06-27T21:33:33-06:00

Join the Rage! DIY Fidget Spinners

2017-06-24T13:01:08-06:00

      I came across an interesting new type of toy online a few months ago - fidget spinners.  They're advertised as good for nail chewers, autistic people, children and adults with OCD, ADHD, and a variety of other conditions and issues.  I don't know about all that, but I do know they are kinda fun to play with, and now I see them everywhere, including spinning up a storm in the hands of library customers. I've also discovered that people are designing new styles, shapes, and forms of fidget spinners all the time.  Being ever on the lookout for [...]

Join the Rage! DIY Fidget Spinners2017-06-24T13:01:08-06:00

Paper Engineering Workshop for Tweens

2017-05-03T19:35:56-06:00

During spring break this year, I tried a new program aimed specifically for 8-12 year olds.  We met each afternoon for two hours to work on creating paper automata.  I had a limit of 25 participants, and required pre-registration in order to attend.  Registration started out slow, and about the time I began to get concerned that I wouldn't have enough registrants, all my slots filled up.  The kids were as excited as I was to try out this new craft program. We started out with fairly simple mechanisms, which could be completed in the two hour time frame.  The first [...]

Paper Engineering Workshop for Tweens2017-05-03T19:35:56-06:00

Cardboard Creations!

2016-10-17T16:28:16-06:00

What can you do with an hour, a large box, some assorted IKEA packing materials, a few plastic fasteners, and some kids? All kinds of cool things! We recently held another "open building" program at KCPL. This time, our building materials included one very large box, pieces of cardboard of various sizes, shapes, and thickness, some plastic hinges and fasteners, and plastic saw/punch tools. Those in attendance were given a few basic rules: 1. Only use the tools on the cardboard. :) 2. If you use the fasteners and take your creation home, the fasteners must be returned the next time [...]

Cardboard Creations!2016-10-17T16:28:16-06:00

3-D Origami – The Fun of Legos on a Much Smaller Budget

2016-08-06T16:18:05-06:00

Fate is a funny thing.  A few months ago I got ambitious one week, and wrote and published ( I thought) three blog articles.  Unbeknownst to me, it was the same week that the STAR_Net blog was being moved to its new home on this website.  For some reason, one of my articles made the move.  The other two disappeared into the ether.  I could have taken this experience as a reminder to always back up my work on at least one flash drive.  Instead, I decided it was the universe giving me the opportunity to work harder on my article. [...]

3-D Origami – The Fun of Legos on a Much Smaller Budget2016-08-06T16:18:05-06:00
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