Engineering

10, 9, 8, 7….3, 2, 1, Launch America!!!

2020-05-26T22:12:05+00:00

I hope everyone had a wonderful, safe, and socially distanced Memorial Day Holiday! Now to prepare for the historic event tomorrow that will mark the first launch of American astronauts into space in an American rocket from an American launchpad since the shuttle program was retired in 2011. The crew for this mission are Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley:                   They will be launching from Launch Complex 39A in a SpaceX Crew Dragon carried into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket.  The lift-off is scheduled for 4:33 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, May 27. For special access to additional information, [...]

10, 9, 8, 7….3, 2, 1, Launch America!!!2020-05-26T22:12:05+00:00

Robotics With Cubelets

2019-10-03T18:32:04+00:00

  Over the last year or so, I've done a number of programs using Cubelets.  For anyone unfamiliar with them, they are cube-shaped modules that connect to one another magnetically to create 'robots.'  Each module has a single function.  There's a power Cube, that contains the rechargeable battery, and the On/Off switch.  The rest are divided into ' Sense Cubes,' 'Think Cubes,' and 'Act Cubes.' The Sense Cubes in the kit I have access to are modules that have light sensors, and distance (proximity) sensors.  The Power Cube is also the processor for the robot.  The action cubes include cubes with [...]

Robotics With Cubelets2019-10-03T18:32:04+00:00

STEAM Kits

2019-01-16T17:17:42+00:00

One way we promote self-directed STEAM learning at Skokie Public Library is through our STEAM Kit collection. We have about 30 kits that cardholders can checkout for one week at a time. Here’s how we create, circulate, and promote this specialized collection.   Kit Topics and Contents Our STEAM kits are carefully curated by staff in the Learning Experiences department. Often, kits are inspired by previous BOOMbox rotation equipment. We strive to pair hands on resources with books and DVDs related to the topic or concept. For example, our Makey Makey kit comes with a Makey Makey, related wire connectors, and [...]

STEAM Kits2019-01-16T17:17:42+00:00

Pumpkin STEMs!

2018-11-25T20:50:30+00:00

STEM programming and Halloween just sort of naturally go together. But I was looking for a slightly "less gross" way to connect the two. Building and pumpkins don't seem to normally go in the same sentence, but we tried and it and had a blast! For the engineering portion of the program, I decided to use a variation on the marshmallows and spaghetti project building idea. I provided candy pumpkins and toothpicks for the building challenge. Candy Corn was also available, although none chose to build with it. They were allowed as many candy pumpkins as they needed, and both flat [...]

Pumpkin STEMs!2018-11-25T20:50:30+00:00

FrankenCreatures!

2018-11-25T19:40:54+00:00

Who among us hasn't at some point just put out a bunch of materials and told the kids "have at it!"? We did that in our STREAM Center for a pre-Halloween program, and it was way more fun that we anticipated! There were a large number of the parents who stayed with their kids and created right along with them, even though their attendance wasn't strictly mandatory at the program. We had a wide range of materials, from paper tubes to wiggle eyes. We had access to tape and glue, along with rubber bands, paper clips, and binder clips. There were [...]

FrankenCreatures!2018-11-25T19:40:54+00:00

Lessons Learned from Camp Cosmos

2018-11-19T21:28:33+00:00

            How do you decide if an event is a success? Usually the number of people in attendance is a good indicator, and one that the state wants us to report. But what if you only have three people from your intended audience attend? Can you still call that a successful event? To celebrate the end of World Space Week in October, we held Camp Cosmos at one of the local parks. We had paper rockets launched by compressed air, made space packs, offered "moon sand" to play in, made galaxy art, and more. It was a [...]

Lessons Learned from Camp Cosmos2018-11-19T21:28:33+00:00

Science of Sound

2018-10-26T11:47:36+00:00

This fall our informal learning space, the BOOMbox, is exploring all things music. The rotation is 16 weeks long and we’re focusing on a different concept related to music about every two weeks. This month’s STEAM program for youth grades 3-5 aligned with the rotation and we explored the physics of sound in a hands on way by making membranophones, courtesy of the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Here’s what we did. Like previous Be the Scientist programs featured on the blog, the program began with an overview using a short slide presentation. This allows us to set the stage for the [...]

Science of Sound2018-10-26T11:47:36+00:00

Exploring Chemical Engineering

2018-07-30T19:35:21+00:00

This summer our informal learning space, the BOOMbox, is exploring all things engineering. The rotation is 16 weeks long and we’re focusing on a different field of engineering every two weeks. Last month we shared information about a program related to civil engineering and this month, we’re sharing highlights from our two weeks of exploring chemical engineering. Please note these activities were intended to provide a foundation of chemistry knowledge. We used that as a starting point for discussing what chemical engineering is with participants, and how it affects us on a day to day basis. Here’s what we featured. We [...]

Exploring Chemical Engineering2018-07-30T19:35:21+00:00

Celebrating Rockets’ Red Glare!

2018-07-03T22:52:45+00:00

On Monday, we celebrated America's birthday with some STEM activities! As always, we started with some reading, and I intentionally chose books that included images of fireworks. I also included a number of non-fiction Independence Day titles in my book display, along with this title: We started by reading A is for America, by Devin Scilian, then read Happy Birthday, America, by Mary Pope Osborne.  In keeping with the "rockets' red glare," theme, I decided to try two different activities, and both worked very well. The main activity was the creation of paper rockets which we launched with a stomp rocket launcher. [...]

Celebrating Rockets’ Red Glare!2018-07-03T22:52:45+00:00

Exploring Civil Engineering

2018-06-10T21:25:18+00:00

This summer our STEAM space, the BOOMbox, is exploring engineering. We’re focusing on a different field of engineering every two weeks to help kids understand the breadth and overlap of this STEAM topic. While the BOOMbox offers drop-in experiences, our Be the Scientist program series for grades 3-5 provided a more structured exploration of civil engineering, specifically looking at bike paths in Skokie. Here’s what we did. We began with a short slide presentation to start discussion about what engineering is and why it is valuable. We also reviewed the seven steps of engineering design from Engineered! Engineering Design at Work [...]

Exploring Civil Engineering2018-06-10T21:25:18+00:00
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