Tag Archives: stem

Pretty Sweet Tech: Holiday & Winter Tech Kit Activities

Most of you probably know we offer Tech Kits Through the Mail to school and public libraries in Nebraska. But did you know that many of those kits have really fun holiday and winter themed activities? Check out a kit and try one one or all of these activity ideas this winter:

  • Dash & Dot Winter Activities (age 6+): Design your own winter parade floats and program them around a parade obstacle, record your own winter theme song, challenge your friends to a snowball fight, and more!
  • Finch 2.0 Robot Winter (age 6+): Turn your robot into a snowplow, build a holiday parade and add a green screen backdrop if you’re feeling fancy, or create a fun winter window display.
  • Hummingbird Bit Premium (age 8+): Take your winter window display up a notch, craft and program an interactive winter story scene, or add a moving background to your winter parade video!
  • Ozobot Evo Robot (age 4+): Design a Winter Wonderland and challenge others to navigate your creation, create a fun snow maze, use the plow attachment to clean the streets, or use your imagination to visit Narnia!
  • Micro:bit (age 8+): Make an LED snow globe animation using the built-in display, blow out an LED candle or program your micro:bit to let you know when the sun is finally out again.

Find a full list of kits, or check out a Tech Kit Through the Mail using this link. Here are the loan program details:

  • Kits can be checked out for 30 days at a time.
  • You can check out multiple kits at once.
  • Kits are shipped to you for free, and use of the kits is free.
  • You only pay return shipping. (Some library systems may help offset these costs. Ask your system director if this is an option near you.)
  • Check out the Tech Kit Loan Policy for more details.

I hope you have some winter wonderland fun with the Tech Kits Through the Mail!

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Pretty Sweet Tech: CyberPatriot’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition

Cybersecurity is one of the top growing tech careers in the nation. The Air Force Association started their CyberPatriot’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition to help middle and high school students explore cybersecurity careers by taking on the role of a cybersecurity systems administrator, working to prevent and address cyber threats to a small business. CyberPatriots is now the world’s largest cybersecurity competition!

Eligibility: The competition is open to all schools and approved youth organizations, including Boys & Girl Scout troops, STEM groups, libraries, and homeschool groups. School and public libraries are encouraged to apply!

Learn more about the competition structure, team member requirements, costs, and tech requirements on the CyberPatriot website.

Registration is due by October 3, 2023 so start planning now!

While you’re on the site, check out the Air Force’s other cybersecurity resources for senior citizens:

  • CyberGenerations: This pre-packaged program is designed to introduce senior citizens to cybersecurity basics, password management, common internet threats, scams and fraud, and social media safety. CyberGenerations offers a Self-Paced Guide, and Workshop Resources to help facilitate virtual or in-person workshops.
  • Tech Caregiver: This training course with resources and guides certifies trainers to assist senior citizens to safely operate online. This is a good course to get comfortable facilitating CyberGenerations workshops in your community.
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Pretty Sweet Tech: Machine Learning on Code.org

Happy holidays everyone! This post will be short and sweet as we get ready for the holiday week. I stumbled across this Machine Learning activity on Code.org to help kids learn about the impact of artificial intelligence. The lesson has eight sections and is jam-packed with good information!

It starts with a video from two practitioners in the field, speaking without jargon for a younger audience. Honestly, this activity is fun and informative for adults as well!

You’ll learn how machine learning learns how to read data to make predictions about incoming data. The activities in this set are all ocean themed! Start by teaching the AI algorithm how to tell the difference between what is a fish, and what isn’t a fish to sort pollutants out of our water. Then, move on to find out how bias can enter the equation.

Eight sections later, and you will have learned the basics of how machine learning works, along with some of the pitfalls. Extend the activity by trying to apply it to other situations. Which occasions work best for machine learning in the real world? What doesn’t work as well?

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Pretty Sweet Tech: Easy Makerspace Projects

Every library should have a handful of quick and easy makerspace projects on hand. Here’s a quick list with resources for your reference:

Paper Circuits: A piece of paper, some copper conductive tape, a small battery, printable templates, and an LED light bulb is all you need to set up this project. Go to Makerspaces.com for paper circuit kits and instructions.

SparkFun also has kits and downloadable templates available.

Marble Run: Don’t lose your marbles! Just grab some craft sticks and a cardboard box to set up this fun marble maze. Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls has instructions and pictures.

Pom Pom Drop: Collect toilet paper and paper towel rolls, then grab some colorful tape and a cheap pom pom ball to make this cool project from Coffee Cups and Crayons.

Newspaper Projects: If you have some newspaper to recycle, try upcycling in these projects from Edventures with Kids!

Cardboard Loom: Try your hand at weaving with this cardboard loom from Instructables.

Microwave Ivory Soap: When in doubt, microwave your Ivory soap and watch it grow.

Check out these projects, then peruse the other projects available on these sites to find some quick and easy projects for the kids in your library!

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