Posted in Middle Grade, Tween Reads

STEAM project fun: Super Robot

Super Robot, by Arnaud Roi, (Oct. 2019, Schiffer Kids), $12.99, ISBN: 9780764358302

Ages 6-12

This is one of those books that makes me think back to when I had punch-out paper doll books. They’re still around, albeit a little tougher to find, so I was really excited to get a copy of Super Robot in the mail from Schiffer Kids! Artist Arnaud Roi uses his love of the 1950s aesthetic to create a vintage-looking robot that kids can punch out and put together, creating a 2-foot-high paper structure.

Assembly instructions are detailed and take readers, step-by-step, through assembly; the assembly process is helpfully illustrated so you don’t get too turned around in the building process. The paper is sturdy and scored where necessary, to help with folding and assembling. The robot is a bright, bold combination of primary colors.

Younger scientists and paper artists will need a helping hand, but bigger creators should be able to work on this, no problem. It’s a fun idea for a Discovery Club activity, and small groups can work on one robot at a time, if your budget permits you to buy a few copies. Create a robot army, or an army of one – either way, Super Robot is a fun build that get kids working with their hands.

Pair with Adam Rubin’s Robo-Sauce, one of my favorite robot books: the book transforms into a Robo-Book. Have some Legos, and some robotics books around for your readers who are ready to explore more. I recommend NatGeo Kids’ Everything Robotics and National Geographics Readers: Robots.

 

Posted in Non-fiction

Add Make: Paper Inventions to your Maker Library!

paper_coverMake: Paper Inventions: Machines that Move, Drawings that Light Up, and Wearables and Structures You Can Cut, Fold, and Roll, by Kathy Ceceri (Sept. 2015, Maker Media, Inc.), $19.99, ISBN: 9781457187520

Recommended for ages 5+ (with some help!)

I love maker spaces in the library. I had a small one at my last library, and I’m psyched to set one up here in my new digs. The kids love having projects to do, and you don’t need a huge area with 3-D printers chugging along to be a maker. Duct tape, construction paper and imagination are a great start. Make Magazine has been a great resource for years, as is their Maker Camp, a virtual summer and holiday “camp” that provides cool projects and a discussion space for anyone who wants in. The Maker Media books are a huge help for anyone – parent, educator, and kid – who needs some ideas on how to stir up some creative juices.

One of the latest books in the series, Make: Paper Inventions is for anyone interested in paper crafting, paper engineering, and paper technology. Offering projects for relative newbies or whose skill level is “mostly thumbs” all the way up to creating paper-based automatons, light-up cards, even a geodesic dome!

Make: Paper Inventions, like every Maker Media book, wants to educate you as well as entertain you, so you’ll find a wealth of information on the nuts and bolts, the science and math, behind paper engineering. You’ll read about paper structures, for instance, and why folded paper can hold greater weights than a plain piece of paper. You’ll also learn why paper will tear rather than stretch if you pull it, but it will bend nicely for a pencil.

There are tons of projects in here for anyone and everyone, in any space. Kids can have a blast making their own paper – their own edible paper, even – with relative ease. Like most maker movements, the Maker Media books are big on reusing, reducing, and recycling, so projects are here for all weights of paper, from rice paper to card stock, and you can use old notebooks, newspapers, or copy paper for many of these projects.  There are comprehensive materials lists and step-by-step instructions and photos for every design, and math and science concepts that you can discuss with kids will make teachers happy, and make kids realize that yes, you will use that math outside of math class, and for cool stuff, to boot. An appendix with project templates and an index round out this resource.

I can’t wait to get the kids here at my library paper quilling – it’s one of the easier projects in here that will appeal to my library group’s need for fairly instant gratification. There’s a wealth of Pinterest resources, too, which makes me really happy, because this is likely to be a program I’ll repeat. Paper circuitry looks fantastic, and who knows? Maybe that’s a project for Valentine’s Day – once I get some practice time in.

Check out some of the photos from Make: Paper Inventions, and then add this to your reference library or your crafting library. Get those makerspaces operating!

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