Students Involved with Technology Conference

Bee-Bot, Cubelets, littleBits, Makey Makey, Programs, Snap Circuits, The Finch

Our local school district is one of the sites for the Students Involved with Technology Conference that happens in several sites around the state of Illinois.  Kids, parents, and teachers presenting workshops on things they love best. Kid led workshops. Isn’t that great?

The district asked the library if we were willing to provide a maker space for the conference.  With very short notice, we  decided to create a play space for participants to try different technology.  (Maker space? Play space?  Are they the same thing?  I guess I’m not 100% sure of that. They were definitely creating things.)

Given two work days to make this happen, I was able to recruit two co-workers and my husband to spend time with me for four hours on a Saturday afternoon.  I also recruited one of the kids from my Robot Test Kitchen sessions last summer.  

Mailbag: Cubelets in a Library Program

Cubelets, mailbag, Programs

Mailbag, in which we answer real emails sent to Robot Test Kitchen. You can email us through the Contact Page.

Hi there,

My name is Lindsay and I’m a Youth Services Librarian. I’m currently developing a Cubelets program for the library, and I read your (helpful) review on the product. Just wondering if you have any ideas for program structure? How many Cubelets kits might I need? What type of a program structure do you see working best (would Cubelets work best as a station as part of a larger program? Could I run a Cubelets robotics program on it’s own — perhaps with the Lego brick adapters?). Any insight would be helpful.

Lindsay

Hi Lindsay.The first piece of advice I would give you would be to have a battery for each person attending the program. You can’t do anything without batteries. As to how many kits you’d need, our library purchased a six piece and a standard kit, a few more action cubes and extra batteries. That appears to be enough for five or six patrons, as long as there are enough batteries.

Secondly, I would agree that Cubelets would work best as a “station” as part of a larger program. They’re fascinating to work with and explore the variety of options. What does this cube do? How does it change the original idea of your robot? Does it make it better? Is it completely changed? These are questions that can be addressed at this station.

You could also throw out suggestions of types of robots to make: Can you make an Intruder robot — one that activates when someone comes in the room? I would challenge them to keep their bots to under six or so cubes (not including the battery). What I find during open play is that they want to use all of the cubes and make one giant robot that doesn’t really have a lot of focus.

I love the Lego brick adaptors. I think it would be fascinating to see what they could come up with if given Cubelets, a box of Legos, and the adaptors. We haven’t done it yet, but plan on working it into our Tween meetings this winter.

I hope this helps, Lindsay.

Sharon H.

Robot Test Kitchen
Robot Advisory for Youth Services Librarians
@RobotTestKitchn