Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Building Catapults and Confidence at Mentor Public Library

Before you read any of this, you should watch this video first.

Those kids made catapults.

They made catapults and used it to shoot tiny gnomes at a scoreboard on the Mentor-on-the-Lake Library branch's lawn on June 24.

How cool is that?!

Rachel Sumrada prepares to fire her team's catapult.
The idea came from Lyndsey Gvora, one of our library associates at the Mentor-on-the-Lake Branch of the Mentor Public Library.

She wanted to host programs where kids actually built something with their own hands -- something cool. And had fun while doing it.

That idea became the Excavation Station series.

"I started this series because I think a kid who knows how to build things has a much higher confidence level than a kid who doesn't," she said.

"I think -- with America's move to college education -- we lose the emphasis on trades and the importance that has in our society, and I want to bring that back."

Brandon Barton launches a tiny wooden gnome across the lawn of the Mentor-on-the-Lake Branch of the Mentor Public Library.
The kids who go to the Excavation Station series have already built catapults. Later this summer, they'll also make sculptures out of dismantled electronics and racetracks out of ordinary household materials.

And it's fun -- a lot of fun, actually. But it also teaches the kids science and math (without them even realizing it.)

It also teaches them about their own potential. All of the teams who participated Monday designed and built their own working catapults. They had the help of some wonderful volunteers and the oversight of Lyndsey; but it was the kids who made the catapults work.

Jude O'Toole fixes his team's catapult with duct tape when one of its crossbars suddenly breaks.
And (as Lyndsey explained) if you can build one thing, then it also builds confidence.

"I hope at least some of these kids say, 'wow, I never built that before and now I think I can do some other things,'" she said.

By the way, if your child is between fourth and eighth grade, he or she can join the fun also. They can register by calling our Lake Branch at (440) 257-2512 or by visiting the Mentor Public Library's web site.

Seriously, how cool our catapults?

1 comment:

  1. Playing with confidence is something that is instilled over time by successful, creative coaching, not something players will do if we "remind" them.