Out of the Box by Jemma Westing

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If you are looking for an easy way to get a makerspace up and running, start with this inspirational book. With a few supplies, children can make games, puppets, castles and hideaways. The introduction sets the foundation for building with cardboard. Clear instructions and crisp images prepare readers before they begin constructing. “Difficulty Level” thermometers also help children choose a suitable project. Encouraging notes compel makers to work through problems and try different ideas.

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Response to Literature
AASL Standards Framework for Learners: V.B.1. Learners construct new knowledge by problem solving through cycles of design, implementation, and reflection.

  • Engage learners by watching Caine’s Arcade, an inspiring story about a remarkable boy.  Ask students to share their experiences with cardboard creations.
  • Introduce Out of the Box: 25 Cardboard Engineering Projects For Makers by Jemma Westing. Ask learners what project intrigued them the most.
  • Create 2-4 stations that feature projects in the book. Each station will have directions for one project along with necessary materials.
  • Encourage children to make something on their own if they would like. They can use the book to inspire ideas and then make an innovative creation.
  • Invite parents, grandparents and community members to join the fun and offer support.
  • Ask learners to reflect on the experience and share helpful tips for the next group of makers.
  • Enrich the experience by joining the Global Cardboard Challenge.


Mentioned Resources:

Caines Arcade (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faIFNkdq96U)

Global Cardboard Challenge (https://cardboardchallenge.com/)

Image Citation: Westin, Jemma. “Out of the Box: 25 Cardboard Engineering Projects For Makers.” NetGalley, DK, 15 April 2018, www.netgalley.com/.

Dig In! 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps by Kari Cornell

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How cool would it be to have a farm-to-table experience in your library? All you need are kitchen scraps, a few supplies, the sun and recipes. The projects in Dig In! 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps by Kari Cornell are inspiring. Gorgeous photographs and easy-to-implement plans will compel students to grow and cook food. Young chefs can join the fun by following the recipes that complement each project. Resources at the end of the book will support learners who want to garden outside.

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Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: V.A.3. Learners develop and satisfy personal curiosity by engaging in inquiry-based processes for personal growth.

  • Follow the directions to grow lettuce. When it’s ready to harvest, ask parents to donate ingredients for the “Autumn Salad” recipe. Work together to make the salad and set a long table for lunch. Add other special treats to make it a memorable meal.
  • Enrich the experience further by asking learners to design a garden for their school. Ask the following questions:
    • “What should we think about when designing and building a garden?”
    • “What does a garden need to grow?”
    • “What are the best vegetables to grow in our area?”
    • “What materials do we need?”
    • “What size should it be?”
    • “Who will take care of it?”
    • “How will it get watered?”
    • “How do we keep harmful bugs away?”
    • “Who do we need to ask for permission to build a garden?”
  • Invite a Master Gardener in to help answer questions. Find ideas in books like It’s Our Garden: From Seed to Harvest in a School Garden by George Ancona.
  • Provide paper, pencils, crayons and markers to design the school gardens. Invite learners to share their designs with the class.
  • Save designs and search for grants to make their plans come to life!

Check out the fun contest below to challenge learners to make gardens out of milk cartons:

Carton 2 Garden: Helping Grow School Garden Programs

Image Citation: Cornell, Kari. “Dig In! 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps.” NetGalley, Lerner Publishing Group, 8 April 2018, www.netgalley.com/.

The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner

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If you want to grab the attention of a child, mention a Harry Potter reference and watch their eyes light up. That’s what author Charlotte Milner does in The Bee Book when she states that a “dumbledore” is a bumblebee. This fun fact presented with infographic flair will compel children to keep reading. Every page delivers interesting facts with engaging illustrations. Teachers will immediately recognize the value of using The Bee Book as a mentor text. Noting Milner’s craft for delivering information will inspire young nonfiction writers. Budding scientists will appreciate learning the significance of bees. Helpful solutions at the end of the book will inspire them to make a difference.

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Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: I.B.3. Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes generating products that illustrate learning.

  • While reading the story, ask children to pay close attention to how the author, Charlotte Milner, presents information. What do they notice?
  • Point to some of the illustrations in the book to help define the word “infographic”. Ask students what they like about the way the information is presented in The Bee Book.  What was their favorite infographic?
  • Explain that they will create their own infographic on a topic they know all about.  They will use some of the ideas in the book for inspiration.  Younger students can use poster paper, crayons and markers to present their information. Students in grades three and higher can try using Piktochart; an AASL Best Website for Teaching and Learning,
  • Display infographics in the library.

Wondering about the waggle dance? Watch this video by the Smithsonian Channel.

Image Citation: Milner, Charlotte. “The Bee Book.” NetGalley, DK Children, 6 Feb. 2018, www.netgalley.com/.

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