Fandom “Science”

This summer, I wanted a way to test out my teens’ enthusiasm for the entire fandom concept without sticking to one particular fandom the first time out. The original plan was to incorporate some more of the science behind the various fandoms (or even the fake science behind it), but it turned out there wasn’t as much information out there as I thought, so some of that element was dropped.

I knew there would be a craft element and I did advertise that way. I chose three fandoms, which I knew had at least some followers from the teens I’d talked to previously and also which I knew would have good possibilities for items: Star Wars, Doctor Who and Harry Potter. I wanted to do something distinctly different for each. Finding crafts for Star Wars was not particularly easy, surprisingly, but I did find an amazing trick using a metal slinky and a paper cup which really sounds just like the blaster noise from Star Wars. We experimented with different sizes and types of disposable cups (disposable is key because you have to punch a hole in the bottom). After some demonstrating, they were able to play with it for the rest of the program. I ended up finding a great craft too. X-Wing starfighters made out of ‘everyday’ office supplies.

fandomFor price reasons (huge sharpies are expensive!), I changed some of the parts. I exchanged the sharpies for multicolored highlighters and the pencil sharpeners for a standard eraser top, (because I couldn’t find the right kind of sharpener) which actually looks more like the cockpit anyway, although they did not initially glue as well. Even the kids who were not as familiar or into Star Wars all really liked these and universally took them home.

Not surprisingly, for Doctor Who, we made Sonic Screwdrivers using Model Magic clay and pens. My teens did not seem to really have the patience for this part and only a few made them to a point where they were happy with them. However, they did enjoy the challenge and I was very glad I did them first so that they got the disappointment out of the way. The teens that put effort into them seemed much happier. I think in the future, I’d either try another kind (maybe more functional if possible?) or try and demonstrate better (which will be hard as crafting is not a strong skill for me) because demonstration worked well for the X-wings.butterbeer

Between the two crafts, we made cold Butterbeer. Together, we whipped up some of the froth/foam, letting everyone who wanted to a chance to wisk. Once that had set and ‘peaked’, everyone got to try the vanilla cream soda with the foam on top and it was a huge hit. Generally, we decided the extra butterscotch was more than we needed, but they all added it for the extra sugar boost anyway. This one was the most science-y of them because we made the foam and they saw how it mixed to create the flavor. A few of the teens didn’t like soda, so they just ate some of the foam.

In all, the experiment worked. I got a great group of kids who absolutely loved the library’s first ever foray into fandom and I got the politest demands for future fandom programs possible, along with a list of the ‘in’ fandoms around here. If I were to do it again, I’d do more on the science aspect – maybe get Advisory Board members to talk about their favorites – and find a new, but cost effective, sonic screwdriver ‘recipe’.

What sort of fandom things have you do with your teens? Share in the comments or on facebook!

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