Explore And Play With Robots At Your Local Library
By: Alex Harmon, ellaslist
Think libraries are behind the times? Think again! Some Sydney libraries are actually leading the way with robotics, coding and electronics - take for instance this new initiative by the City of Sydney that your kids are going to love.
Robots For Loan
Your kids can embrace all things inventive and creative with new robots, circuits, electronics and coding tools available for loan from local libraries. After its successful ‘maker and creator’ series, the City of Sydney has purchased new ‘makerspace’ items for all its libraries, giving locals the opportunity to explore robotic toys and gadgets at home.
Makerspace projects promote learning through play and often incorporate new technology. Using various gadgets, students learn how to tinker collaboratively with a problem until they find a solution, which encourages them to be thinkers, innovators and problem solvers.
The makerspace activities are interdisciplinary and promote important educational principles such as inquiry, play, imagination, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving and passion-based learning. More than 180 new robotic and electronic kits are available to borrow from the City’s libraries, including:
Kids can learn about robots and programming with the Edison robot v2.0. Compatible with Lego, the robot drives over a special barcode to activate pre-programmed functions such as ‘avoid obstacles’ or ‘follow a line’. Players can use their computer or tablet to program Edison in a choice of three languages. The robots are suitable for ages five and up.
Ozobots are tiny robots resembling Pac-Man ghosts that blend physical and digital worlds and teach kids about basic programming. Participants can train the robots to follow patterns on the surfaces they roll over. Ozobots identify lines, colours and codes on both digital surfaces, such as an iPad, and physical surfaces. Ozobots are controlled by drawing lines and colour segments or via a free programming editor app, enabling users to create and send the robots through an endless array of mazes, maps and racetracks. Suitable for ages six and over.
Kids will have fun learning about coding with the world’s first app-enabled robotic ball. Designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and invention through connected play and coding, kids can learn simple programming using a free app to control the ball via Bluetooth. By tilting, touching or moving a smartphone or tablet, participants can navigate their Sphero ball through a series of mazes and challenges. Suitable for ages eight and over.
Circuit Scribe Kit
Kids aged eight and over can build their own circuits using a special conductive ink pen, magnetic modules and papers. Fun electrical circuits like blinking lights and beeping buzzers can also be created using electronic building blocks with sensors and motors. Makey Makey kit The kits contain a ‘Makey Makey’ circuit board, alligator clips and USB cable that enable users to turn everyday objects into internet touchpads to control games or keyboard functions. Objects can include everything from fruit, plants and people to pets, coins and rain. The kits are simple and fun to use and cater for all levels of experience. Suitable for ages eight and over.
Snap Circuits kits can help children aged eight and over to gain valuable hands-on experience designing and building simple electrical circuits. Users can make a wide range of cool gadgets like remote control toys, flashing lights, alarms and sound effects, by snapping the correct pieces together to create circuits. With easy to follow instructions, users can make more than 100 different projects.
Budding creators and innovators can source all the information and advice they need for their makerspace projects. The City’s libraries have purchased a wide range of titles that can help users to enhance their maker skillsets, offer visual inspiration and complement the makerspace products available to borrow.
A Free Hands-On Event
Waterloo library is hosting a free Makerspace Day on Saturday 2 December. Participants will have the opportunity to road-test some of the robotic gadgets from the makerspace collection and get hands-on with maker and creator activities.
Details are available here.