This article can be found published on the Southern Chester County Weeklies‘ website.
Gadgets, motors and Macs have been whizzing and whirring inside the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library as they play host to the six-week Goggle Maker camp, allowing students, ages 13 to 18, the opportunity to participate in art, tech and design projects with the new 3-D printer.
“It’s 100 percent free,” said Alex Caliva, the Library Tech. “We were sent a fairly large box of supplies from Google and Make, which is a Google affiliate, and anything else is being paid for by the library.”
Each week of the camp, which runs from July 7 through Aug. 16, features a different theme.
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For the first week of August, the participants were able to play with audio on Macs using GarageBand.
“Last week, we did a lot of stuff with motors,” Caliva said. “Kids were spinning motors, vibrating motors and making little robots, cars or whatever they could think of with them. We made a game of Operation where they soldered and wired up a pair of pliers and made the sides wired so it completed the circuit.
“We also did stuff with LEDs. There’s even some simple things like box car races and simple mechanical projects.”
During all this, the students also have the ability to use the 3-D printer, which is usually always running in the background.
The camp welcomes participants to come by after the camp has started, even if it’s just for one day.
“We have a pretty solid core group, but it is a drop-in camp,” Caliva said. “We tell people to come when they can. Some people will choose to come based on what project we do that particularly interests them.”
Moving forward, the library is planning to open a space in the building once a week for teenagers to continue learning and tinkering in the upcoming months.
“We are starting a permanent MakerSpace here at the Library in the fall,” Caliva said. “I believe, right now, it’s for the same ages. We may also open it up to a wider age range. As we go forward, we’ll probably be completely working on our own.”
For now, the camp will try to trigger the imagination of its participants and draw them into wanting to learn more.
“We have a series of projects that we do on themes that they work on for the day and they have time to work on and tinker with various other projects and sometimes make up projects on their own,” Caliva said. “We’re really trying to inspire that sort of creative spark. It starts off fairly structured, but then our end goal, which we have seen happen a couple times, is that kids are then taking their imagination and use the supplies that we’ve given them and take it in a completely separate direction.”