April 2017

Spring is here and all around I see signs of new beginnings and new starts; new flowers poking out of the dirt, new nests for new eggs, and that means new challenges and crafts to be explored at the MakerSpace this month.  Here’s what’s springing into my library this month:

  1. Popsicle Sticks, Yarn and Pipe Cleaner Fun: This activity was inspired from many amazing crafts I found online by doing a simple search for “popsicle stick” and “pipe cleaner” crafts.  It builds upon our March MakerSpace moment where I challenge the students to construct things with popsicle sticks and clothespins, but this time were getting a bit more crafty.  I did put out an example sheet for the students to see some ideas of what they could build for those students who aren’t quite.  Click Here to download that example sheet.
    • Idea: The kids loved creating, but it did get a bit messy.  Have wipes ready to clean up marker and glue marks. : )
    • Idea: The skinnier craft sticks were a bit tricky for the little kids to work with.  I would suggest getting the bigger craft sticks.  Once I put out some of the larger craft sticks, the kids seemed to be more successful creating the examples I had shared.
  1. Plastic Egg Egg-stravaganza: For the past few weeks, every store I go into has plastic eggs everywhere so, of course, I did a quick search for activities and crafts using plastic eggs and two particular activities stood out as perfect for my MakerSpace.
    • Make an Egg Parachute:  I found this activity at a great blog, JDaniel4’s Mom, where she mentioned inspiration from the children’s museum in Columbia, South Carolina.  The idea is for students to  make parachutes where one half of the plastic egg is the base or bucket of the parachute.  Students use various objects like craft sticks, straws, chopsticks, pipe cleaners, etc. to coffee filters to create the parachutes and then test to see which materials made the best parachutes by seeing which could hold the most pennies. Click here to download the instruction sheet I created for the students.
      • Idea: My students struggled with creating parachute that didn’t seem to more crash to the ground as opposed to gently float.  I do think the pennies are quite heavy as the “people.”  For the next time, I plan on using pom poms as people.  Also, the coffee filters as the parachutes themselves seemed heavy, Kleenex might be a better option.
      • Ideas: Although, the parachutes with pennies and coffee filters were not totally successful, I did find that students still really loved the challenge and really stuck with it.  They didn’t give up and tried different options to get the parachute to work better which I thought was great.
  • Plastic Egg Tower Challenge:  Last month my students loved the Stack the Cat’s Hat building challenge and many gave me disappointed faces when I started to put it away on the last day prior to break.  So, keeping in mind that it’s always important to make sure your MakerSpace connects with the interests of your students, I loved that I found a plastic egg stacking challenge from Kimberly Johnson’s The Resourceful Mama website.  This is a wonderful place to find all kinds of great ideas for plastic eggs and so much more.  A special thank you to Kimberly for allowing me to create directions (click here to download) for this activity and share them with you on my blog.  The activity is quite simple, use one half of plastic eggs, and only plastic eggs, to make the tallest tower you can.  Students can discuss strategies, but must work alone on the towers as only their two hands and the plastic eggs to make the towers.
    • Idea: This activity was fantastic and so easy.  All you need are plastic eggs.
    • Idea: I loved how the students that had worked on the Stack the Cat’s Hat challenge from last month, talked about how this was totally different.  They needed new strategies and new ideas despite the fact that it was another stacking activity.
    • Idea: My favorite thing about this activity was that the students were surprised at the level of difficulty.  I had a student say to me, “So we just have to stack the eggs?  That’s easy.”  She proceeded to start and after a few stacks, the eggs started to slide and lean.  She looked at me and said, “Oh!  They don’t just stick together like I thought!  This is going to be harder than expected.”

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