The Doucette Library has been abuzz with many students coming in for instruction about interdisciplinary learning and indigenous resources.

My partner in crime, Tammy Flanders, mentioned the other day how difficult it is to get any of these students to “play” with the resources.  Of course, the Doucette Library is not only books but also a variety of kits to inspire pre-service teachers to take some hands-on learning into the classroom.

Puppets, circuitry kits, skulls, cells, math manipulatives, games and building materials all have a place on the shelf but even when they are unwrapped and put out purposely for play, even then, students have a hard time picking them up and playing.

What is stopping them from playing?  I’m not sure.  We have played with a good many items as they come across our desks but, indeed, we also read a considerable number of picture books.  In the same way that I feel that you should always read picture books, no matter your age, I also believe that some play every day can be great for your health.

Given the opportunity to play in the library, I would encourage students to take us up on the chance to leave the world behind and play for some of the time.  It may re-ignite that passion you had for learning when you were in school and give you a glimpse of how your students will feel when you are teaching and learning with them.

Drop in.  Come play.  It is an open invitation.

Naming Names for Makerspaces

There are many, many kits advertised for a makerspace area.  Although we don’t have our “space” yet, we are moving forward to equip the library with some of these kits to heighten awareness of hands-on STEM teaching.  Our initial purchase of LEGO Mindstorms kits have been used twice in classroom wide teaching and in workshops throughout this year.

It’s a great start but there are loads of other kits out there.  The Littlebits kits seem to target the younger classes, perhaps grades two to six, teaching foundation concepts of circuits.  I think these sets, especially with the Arduino Coding Package, would be a great place to start for an elementary school.

For the more advanced students in middle and high school, I think that an arduino computer with some additions would be a great start.  Starter kits are also a great way to go since project instructions and accessories are included. Arduino and Raspberry Pi seem to be competing for the school maker market.

The sky is the limit in terms of technology and programming but a makerspace can include less pricey options.  In my next blog post, I’ll look at some non-technical materials that can be included.raspberrypi