Tools & the Brain

Our library recently hosted the traveling exhibit Exploring Human Origins, which came to Skokie from the Smithsonian Institution through an ALA grant. In addition to the exhibit itself, we hosted a number of programs for all ages to engage in the topic of humans and evolution. Our cornerstone youth event, for kids in third through

By |October 7th, 2016|Categories: Elementary Aged, Engineering, STEM|1 Comment

Roller Coaster Family Challenge

Long collaborative coaster We’ve been exploring all things architecture this summer in the BOOMbox, Skokie Public Library’s experiential learning STEAM space. I’ve mentioned a foray into preschool programming around the architecture theme in a previous post, and now I’m glad to share a challenge aimed at this school-age audience. We just hosted our

By |August 11th, 2016|Categories: Elementary Aged, Engineering, Informal Learning, Physics, STEM|Tags: , |0 Comments

3-D Origami – The Fun of Legos on a Much Smaller Budget

Fate is a funny thing.  A few months ago I got ambitious one week, and wrote and published ( I thought) three blog articles.  Unbeknownst to me, it was the same week that the STAR_Net blog was being moved to its new home on this website.  For some reason, one of my articles made the

Engineering programs? As simple as playing with blocks!

Providing programs that fit in the Engineering aspect of STEAM can seem a bit daunting. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition (c.2011) defines engineering as: “The application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes, and systems.”

Tumbling Around With Tumblewings and Walking Along With Walkalongs

Do you know how to make a telephone book fly? One page at a time, of course! Kids (and adults, as well) can have a great time learning about air flow, aerodynamics, creative paper engineering, and patience, with nothing more expensive or hard to acquire than an old phone book, a large piece of cardboard,

Three Little Pigs and the Budding Architects

Skokie Public Library’s experiential learning space, the BOOMbox, focuses on a different STEAM theme every four months, providing tools and inspiration to learn more about a topic through hands on experimentation. While this space is intended for youth, teens, and adults, it is not developmentally appropriate for children younger than kindergarten So, in conjunction with

By |June 9th, 2016|Categories: Engineering, Informal Learning, Pre-School, Science, STEM, Vocabulary|0 Comments

What If? to Oh Cool! The Scientific Method Put to Work Launching Stomp Rockets

      How can  kids use the scientific method to develop better, higher flying paper rockets, or, better yet, shock the administrators on the third floor?  It's easy! For the last several years, I've been doing stomp rocket programs at my library.  Whether it's during summer reading club or in the middle of the school

Paper Airplane Challenge!

Last week my Crafternoon participants (with a few moms and one teen-aged sister included) enjoyed a paper plane tournament.  It was a wonderful, low cost, quick prep program which everyone enjoyed thoroughly. I collected all the paper airplane books that my library system owned, added quite a few that I bought online, and had them laid

New Traveling Exhibit From the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration

    One aspect of the Lunar and Planetary Institute is the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration.  The Center offers libraries a number of traveling exhibits on a variety of themes related to the moon, earth, asteroids, and other astronomical subjects.  Libraries can request exhibits on-line and they are provided on a first come,

Virtually Chat With NASA Engineers & Experts

  Keliann LaConte, with the Lunar and Planetary Institute, allowed me to pass this great info along to any StarNET folks who may be interested. They all sound like great opportunities to learn from and work with the experts in various fields of science and research!!   PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES: Virtual Chats with NASA Engineers Schedule

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