Exploratory Learning: Purchasing Tips

  • This page is designed to assist librarians in purchasing items for their maker/exploratory spaces. Items will be organized under categories to assist in building a balanced collection of materials, although they may often be used to meet a variety of learning outcomes. Links will be provided to an approved vendor, but does not imply a sole source for this item. All materials listed below have been utilized with students, or vetted before being added to the list. 

    Questions to Consider:

    • Where will you store supplies? Will students have free access, or will you bring out selected supplies for them?
    • How will you structure the time/space?
    • How many students will be working at one time?
    • Will you have multiple activities simultaneously? Or all students working on similar tasks?
    • What consumable items could you ask for donations from your staff/students/families?


    • When ordering through a vendor, such as Demco, it's advisable to call for a quote. Prices will usually be cheaper than what is quoted in magazines or online. Let companies know that you are with NEISD and ask for the quote to be emailed to you.
    • Open boxes and test items immediately. Check that items are correct, complete and working (charging). It's much more difficult to get assistance if an item has been sitting in a box for months. 
    • Retain copies of invoices and packing slips in case you need proof of purchase for damaged or non-working items.  
    • For issues with items, work with the vendor first, but also contact the original seller of the item.  
      • ​For example: A Dash robot bought on Amazon. You would initially work with Amazon, but you may want to go back to Wonder Workshop if you can not get satisfaction from Amazon.


    Purchasing Categories