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.

Coding Club: It’s Not Just About Coding


We had our first coding club for 4th-8th graders a couple weeks ago, and I’m glad to say it was a success. Here are a few things that helped it go smoothly:

  • Because my coding experience is limited and my workplace encourages cross-departmental collaboration, I co-planned it with a librarian from adult services who has more of an IT background.
  • At the beginning of the program, I told the participants that it was coding club, not coding class, and that they were encouraged to contribute and teach others.
  • We had a plan for what we would demonstrate, but had plenty of flexibility within this plan depending on our attendees’ interests.

While we were demonstrating a game created with Scratch, a 5th grader asked if he could show a game he had made. I was apprehensive for a moment because his behavior while in the library is frequently disruptive, but he calmly and capably stood in front of the room and demonstrated the game he had made, described how he had built it, and showed how it could be modified.

It was awesome. After so many interactions in the library where we had to remind him about his behavior, I saw this boy absolutely shine. This is what makes it worth stepping out of our comfort zone. To some extent the programs we do are not about coding, or robotics, or basket-weaving. It’s about us connecting with the community, and giving community members of all ages a chance to learn something new and share what they know.

Ten Dollar Tuesday: Engineering Tower

Programs, Ten Dollar Tuesdays

ettest3We’re thrilled today to feature our first guest submission for our $10 Tuesday feature! Jennifer Lee is a children’s librarian at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library outside of Chicago.  She tells us about her recent program: Engineering Towers




Engineering Tower program is intended for children from 3rd to 5th graders who enjoy challenges like building towers using fun materials. Children explore new concepts of building towers using marshmallows and gumdrops and also use their creativity to build their own magnificent tower.


etmatToothpick, Spaghetti, Jelly (Gum Drops), Marshmallow (in different sizes), Construction Paper (for base), Tapes, Smaller papers (to test strength)





etwork I had the Engineering tower program during weekday after school hour. When children arrived for the program, I basically explained what materials are prepared for them to use to build the tower. I asked the children if they had done similar projects before, and some children said they had in school. It was good to hear that they came for similar projects they had already experienced.

ettestI also explained that there is a strength testing station to test the strength of towers. I informed them that they can build a tower in groups or individually. They all chose to build their own tower individually. After they finished building first tower, some of children brought their work to the strength testing station. Children were happy to see their towers stay strong after the strength test. Some children asked me if I am going to have the same program in the future, and it was good to know they had fun! After the program, I displayed their work in our department for the children to come back and look at their work, and other children to look at the wonderful works.ettest2