2023 April Workshop: Remixing for Sustainability!

In our April workshop with @geee Lissette Gonzalez of Berkeley Public Library, we shared 2 remix strategies for sustainable library programming around creative STEM learning activities.

(Missed the workshop? Check out our blogpost conversation on the PLIX website!)

  • Reimagine and refuse- Reimagine how you can use the stuff you already have (probably do this a lot already) and refuse (new or single-use) plastics. Set an example for others!
  • Games over garbage- change the activity to focus on making games that people can play together, and continue playing together even after the library programming.

Your turn!
What are some of your experiences with using or avoiding plastics in library programming?

  • What gets tossed out during or after your programming?
  • What are some ideas or strategies you have tried to
    • Be more environmentally conscious?
    • Reduce waste in library programming?

Here’s an example activity, with the Games over Garbage remix. (from the workshop!)

  • Activity to remix: Beautiful Symmetry
  • Remix Strategy: Games over Garbage
  • Materials: Paper, scissors, pen, Beautiful Symmetry Zine, paper punches

Prompt: Pattern Manipulatives
Use pieces of paper to create patterns with rules. Try different rules and see what different patterns emerge! Make it a game by adding in movements.

Example 1: In this example,

  • Rule 1: Start with 5 columns, all green squares
  • Rule 2: Replace every 4th square with pink!
  • Rule 3: Put a cow on every 7th square

Example 2: Add movement words to the squares make it fun!

  • Rule 1: Start with 5 columns, all green squares
  • Rule 2: Flip / rotate every 3rd square (The back says “Kick”)
  • Rule 3: Put a cow on every 7th square
  • Rule 4: Do the moooovements!
  • Rule 5: If you see any patterns, like a diagonal of pinks, shake your head when you do the movement!
  • Rule 6: Keep the pieces and play with other people!

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Here’s an idea for a program/project using found items from a celebration of Peter Rabbit:


@MarshallLyon That’s awesome! Thank you.

I heard on NPR yesterday that bumblebees love abandoned mouse nests. Indeed, Beatrix Potter shows us that bees love to nest this way, i.e. The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse. :nerd_face:

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I wanted to add my remix of Urban Ecology (UE) with a sustainability turn:

Map the plastic! Expand UE by noticing MORE of the impact humans have on the nature around us. Take a field trip to find plastics in the urban wilds, catalog and sort your findings, and create a Google Earth layer that different groups of patrons can add to over time: tweens, teens, adults can make this a one-off or a year-long project.

This is a great way to discover meaning and tie into social-emotional learning, too.

You could also explore the landscape through the lens of Landscape Justice, creating and discovering knowledge of local environmental conditions in poor or redlined neighborhoods.

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All kinds of programs, not just PLIX or maker programs, can be remixed by finding ways to work with less stuff and/or more sustainable stuff. Play around with any options that work for you!

Choose projects that use recyclable/compostable stuff; be thoughtful about the kind of waste you create. instead of slime, a kind of plastic, make oobleck or bio-slime (using psyllium husks), which are biodegradable.

The happiest kind of “trash” is compost! The next happiest is recyclables!

Here is a list of inexpensive, compostable ingredients for programming:

  • chia seeds & flax seeds
  • cornstarch
  • psyllium husks
  • flour
  • egg whites
  • coffee grounds
  • wheat paste
  • natural flavors and aromas for extra sensory power

Also think about reducing the number of stuffs you use in your crafts. Do you need six kinds of glitter? Will two do? Ten kinds of beads? Small plastics are particularly hazardous to marine animals.

BONUS: Make it people-focused by talking to your peers and patrons about your creative reuse, ways you’ve diverted stuff from waste streams, buying less single-use stuff, etc. Go ahead and book a local recycling expert to provide a refresher. No more wishcycling!