Ten Dollar Tuesday: Take Flight

Programs, Ten Dollar Tuesdays

Learning about the forces of flight is cheap, easy, and fun (really!).

Supplies: Paper, masking tape, paper clips, scissors

1. Discuss the forces of flight: Lift, Weight, Thrust, and Drag. You’ll just want to provide a very basic understanding of these concepts.

2. Discuss how the forces of flight work on paper airplanes, such as how the large or heavy paper stock will have more weight, and how careful folding can result in less drag.

3. Provide books and templates to make a variety of paper airplanes, and use masking tape to mark a practice range to test them. Paper clips and tape can be used to experiment the effect of adding weight to different parts of the plane.

4. At the end of the program, have the participants compete for the farthest flight. I’ll give them three throws for their best-flying plane with the opportunity to make adjustments to the plane between throws.

Take it Apart!

Ten Dollar Tuesdays

In the Robot Test Kitchen, we talk about five main barriers that we typically face in conducting technology programming in our libraries: time, budget, skill, interest, and support. It’s our belief that most of these are not impossible barriers, but sometimes it’s hard to see how. Especially when things like your time and budget are already stretched paper thin.

With this new weekly feature, Ten Dollar Tuesdays, we will be tackling the budget question with programs you can run at your library for under $10. We’ll also address the interest and support questions by asking you to share your inexpensive STEM programs in the comments, and to let us know what kinds of feedback you’ve gotten when you’ve tried these or similar programs in your buildings!

Take It Apart

Cost: $0

Age range: tweens & teens

Group size: Up to 20, depending on materials

Staff amounts: 1

  • Give kids an opportunity to explore how things work, how they’re put together, and what happens if they they take them apart.
  • Ask for donations of broken appliances (no tube TVs or microwaves) and computers, supply tools, and let kids explore.
  • Disassembling a PC is a great learning opportunity, and you don’t necessarily need to know a lot about computer hardware. I supplied printed diagrams for kids to match up the components, and I learned a lot from YouTube videos. You may need special screwdrivers for some of the screws on the computer case; our IT department was happy to let us borrow those, and a staff member even helped at the program
  • Taking things apart can very exciting, so caution your tweens and teens not to get carried away and get scrapes or cuts on sharp parts
  • Ask kids what similarities they saw, what surprised them, what parts they already knew about, and what they would like to learn more about
  • After the program, you may be able to salvage some parts for a future craft program (another Ten Dollar Tuesday!), or check with your local recycling facility to see what they can accept.

Have you done a Take it Apart program? Share your experience with us!

Review: Tiggly Shapes

Other, Programs, Reviews

First things first: Tiggly Shapes are not robots. But they are still pretty great. I’ve discovered they are a great way to bring dimension to the flat tablet world. They also can be used in libraries pretty easily.


The four shapes.

The four shapes.

  • What are they? Tiggly Shapes are a set of four shapes designed to work with the iPad and certain apps.
  • What’s in the Box? Tiggly Shapes.
  • How Much? $29.95
  • Age Range? Ages 2 – 6
  • How Did We Acquire it? My library purchased for patron and program use. 

How we use them:

We bought Tiggly Shapes to use with the iPads we let patrons sign out while they are in the library. When we came across Tiggly Shapes we thought they would be a great addition to our iPads. Our space encourages lots of play, so having the shapes go with the iPads was a nice complement to our early literacy efforts. Patrons simply ask for the bag of Tiggly Shapes when they sign out an iPads. We have loaded the three apps that work with Tiggly to each iPad so the patrons can easily choose which app they like best.

Playing with Tiggly Stamp

Playing with Tiggly Draw

There are three apps to use with Tiggly Shapes: Tiggly Stamp, Tiggly Draw, and Tiggly Safari. They each work a little bit different, but have similar play styles. Tiggly Stamp uses the shape to make different pictures set against various backdrops. Tiggly Draw lets you use the shapes on the iPad to create pictures of whatever you’d like. Tiggly Safari is a little more interactive. It asks for certain shapes to be placed on the iPad, and makes different animals. Tiggly Safari is by far the most popular app kids use!

Tiggly can also easily be used in Storytimes. I’ve used it with toddlers (age 2-3). Tiggly is a great compliment for when you are exploring shape themes. The apps are easy to use, and you can let the kids use the Tiggly Shapes on the iPads. It is a great way to incorporate some interactive technology with the younger set.

Skills Needed:

You have to be able to put apps on iPads, and that is it.

Good Stuff:

I love Tiggly! Our patrons really love using them. Once they see how they work, kids like using them with the iPads. I like how they allow for more motor skill development.


I do wish there were some classroom sets for Tiggly. While I love what they do, I can’t help but wish they had a few more options for educators.

Overall Rating:

Great fun for the younger set!