About Amy Holcomb

Amy manages the BOOMbox: Skokie Public Library's STEAM space that features a different theme every few months. She is a 2014 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and values the DIY (do it yourself) and DIT (do it together) approach to learning.

Collecting Specimens

Last month we shared a program for grades 3-5 at Skokie Public Library inspired by a visit to the Field Museum in Chicago about visualizing animals. This month we extended our inspiration and with the same grade range, focused on learning about animal specimens. Here’s what we did. We provided a brief slide presentation like

By |March 1st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Visualizing Animals

After a fall visit to the Field Museum, my colleague and I were inspired to share knowledge from the museum's extensive Specimens exhibit. We were particularly struck by the information about the Tully Monster, a prehistoric water animal whose fossils are abundantly found in Illinois, not too far from Skokie Public Library. We decided to

By |February 2nd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Baking Chemistry Boot Camp

As we’ve posted before, school breaks tend to include multi-day programs for grades 3-5. We previously challenged participants to choreograph a robot dance party and extract their own DNA. This past winter break featured a two day program about the science of baking. Each day covered science concepts related to the recipes we tested. And

By |January 14th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Coding at the Library

As part of our commitment to digital literacy, Skokie Public Library began offering a drop-in, one-hour coding program twice a month for kids in grades 3-5. The program is intended to expose kids to coding concepts and resources readily available in the library, and to help them create a community of practice where, regardless of

By |December 6th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Building an ISS Model

Our library is hosting the Explore Space: A Cosmic Journey exhibit* for the next two months, and as part of this special exhibit we have lined up several space-themed STEAM programs for youth in grades K-5. One of our first programs took place before the exhibit’s opening: a challenge-based family program where the goal was

By |October 27th, 2017|Categories: Elementary Aged, Engineering, Informal Learning, NASA, Science, Space Exloration, STEM|0 Comments

STEAM Benchmarks

We know that hands-on or experiential learning is great for patrons of all ages, and that it’s particularly powerful in STEAM learning opportunities. Skokie Public Library has developed STEAM programming benchmarks for our youth patrons, from pre-kindergarten through grade 5, that ensure we have regular STEAM offerings on a variety of topics. We’ve found that

By |September 8th, 2017|Categories: Chemistry, Elementary Aged, Engineering, General, Informal Learning, Pre-School, Science|0 Comments

Watercraft Design

Challenge-based programming is well received by multiple age groups at Skokie Public Library. These programs support 21st century learning skills like creative thinking, problem solving, and collaboration, all skills we’re eager to promote in activities for youth of a variety of ages. In various programs, we have facilitated watercraft design challenges where patrons are presented

By |July 24th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Community Photo Walk

In celebration of the spring weather, Skokie Public Library took our latest offering of Be the Scientist outdoors for a community photo walk. Be the Scientist is an hour-long program offered monthly for kids in grades 3-5 and encourages participants to try on different STEAM-related personas. It is part of a monthly series of programming

By |May 22nd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Green Screen Challenge

In December, we wanted to frame our family STEAM program, Mission BOOMbox, around the idea of holiday card giving. We opted for a green screen challenge program that utilized the library’s classroom set of iPads and the purchase of one incredible green screen app in order to allow families to create their own unique greeting

By |March 26th, 2017|Categories: Arts, Elementary Aged, General, Informal Learning, Science, Technology|0 Comments

Family Science Expo

At the end of January, we hosted our fourth annual Family Science Expo here at Skokie Public Library. When we first offered the all-ages family event in winter 2014, we used the same model pioneered by one of our nearby libraries, Des Plaines Public Library: we offered access to a variety of exhibitors from local

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