Flashing stars, a hula-dancing shark, a flying space shuttle, a spinning disco ball, colorful fiberoptic lights, fluttering streamers, a working thermostat, a rotating lightning bolt emblem, a bouncing birthday balloon, and a yellow submarine all contributed to the zany fun at the inaugural Gizmo Garden celebration in February, 2015.
The spark that ignited the program came from a visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Edgerton Center. With Skidompha Library's help, we were able to convince MIT to loan us their curriculum, "Introduction to Electronics," which taught students to solder circuit boards that could power on fans. Starting with that base, we added a step of hacking into flashlights and adding light sensors so that the gizmos could play a game of catch and throw with light. Then we added lights, sound recorders, servo motors, and crafts supplies, turning an electronics curriculum into Gizmo Garden.