littleBits Summer of STEAM

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With limited budgets in my district for books, supplies, and materials, I spend a lot of time writing grants and entering contests to help provide a inviting, collaborative space with a diverse range of tools and resources for my students.  About a month ago, I put together an entry in the littleBits Summer of STEAM contest.  I had heard about it on Twitter, and decided to go for it.  I’ve been planning to add littleBits to our library Makerspace for awhile, and was also starting to work on grants and DonorsChoose projects to get some next year.  The contest was a random drawing, but I still spent some time putting together a good bit about how I want to incorporate littleBits into our program.  Here’s my entry:

This year, we started a Makerspace in our school library. It began as a simple bin of K’nex set out on a table, and it’s been growing ever since. Now on any given school day, you’ll see students in the library creating sculptures with LEGOS, racing cars made from K’nex, taking apart broken technology, and exploring electrical circuits. Having littleBits available for our students to tinker with would bring everything full circle and greatly enhance their STEAM experiences. Now instead of just building a house out of LEGOs, they could design an alarm system to ward off intruders. Instead of making an origami flower, they can create a flower that spins when you push a button. There’s so many possibilities for tinkering with littleBits in our Makerspace – I can’t wait to see what the kids come up with!

I hadn’t really thought much about the contest in awhile, and I had already begun talking with littleBits at ISTE about collaborating.  Then yesterday, out of the blue, I got this very awesome tweet:

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I was jumping up and down excited!  I didn’t even fully realize just how awesome it was until I went over the littleBits blog post about the contest:

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When I entered this contest, I was hoping that maybe I would receive a workshop kit.  But I didn’t get a workshop kit – I got an entire Pro Library!  With a really cool storage system and enough bits to have 32 students working with it.  I’ve already created a littleBits Pinterest board so I can start collecting ideas and inspiration.  I’m brainstorming ideas for how we’ll use them in our Makerspace – right now I’m thinking about seeing if we can build mobile carts to mount the storage to and wheel them out into the library, that way we can have more flexibility and security for when we’re not using them.  My school administration just approved an after-school STEAM Maker Club too, so I know we’ll be creating some awesome projects with these.

This is seriously one of the best things that’s happened to me this summer. This school year is going to be epic.

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Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.


  1. Sundi Pierce : August 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    That’s awesome, Diana. Congratulations!

  2. chalkdusthorizon : August 2, 2014 at 1:14 am

    Congratulations! That is going to be fabulous for the kids. I think out school is moving in the same direction, but I don’t know what kinds of goodies we’ll have out there.

  3. […] littleBits Summer of STEAM […]

  4. […] together and received a warm reception from our school community.  We got new STEM books, won a littleBits pro library and received a grant for new furniture.  We had nine DonorsChoose projects funding over $5,000 […]

  5. […] 2014 when our makerspace was really starting to take shape, I won a littleBits ProLibrary in their Summer of STEAM contest.  The library came with the now optional wall storage but I knew that I didn’t have a wall […]

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