Evaluating STEAM Experiences

Earlier this month I participated in a forum about library makerspaces and how we evaluate engagement and measure success. Since my library’s equivalent of a makerspace is STEAM focused, I used my time at the forum to reflect on how I have been evaluating the BOOMbox and related STEAM programming for youth.  End of

By |August 30th, 2019|Categories: General, Informal Learning|0 Comments

Exploring Insects

This summer, Skokie Public Library committed to providing quality STEAM programs for youth in elementary grades while in the hustle that is summer reading. Youth Services Librarian Gudrun Premier facilitated a Be the Scientist program for grades 3-5 earlier this month and focused on insects. Here’s what she did. Gudrun began the program in our

By |July 31st, 2019|Categories: Elementary Aged, environmental education, Informal Learning, Science|0 Comments

BLOOMbox All Summer Long

This summer the BOOMbox, our self-directed STEAM learning space, is looking at topics related to gardening, botany, and ecology and has been dubbed BLOOMbox for the duration of the rotation. We’ve focused on these topics previously and have found our community is really drawn to the hands-on learning associated with gardening alongside discussion topics related

By |June 30th, 2019|Categories: Elementary Aged, General, Informal Learning, STEM|0 Comments

Be the Scientist: Tie-Dye

One of my favorite STEAM programs is tie-dye. This can be presented as a family drop-in event, perhaps on the library’s front lawn, or as a grade specific program. For the last Be the Scientist, we featured tie-dye as a hands-on spring event for participants in grades 3-5. While the program is inherently entertaining, we

By |May 28th, 2019|Categories: Elementary Aged, General, Informal Learning, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Make a Hand, Then Try It Out – DIY Robotic Hands

      Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit another branch and do some programming.  My colleage challenged me to come up with an activity that would get the tweens off of the internet games on the public computers and into the program room for the activity.  That was quite the challenge! 

Community Video Gaming

Video games continue to be a source of community based learning and entertainment for youth and teens at Skokie Public Library. We have embraced this and provide multiple channels for youth and teens to participate either individually or as a group. But we really value group gaming as it supports collaboration, communication, and community, which

By |March 26th, 2019|Categories: Elementary Aged, General, Informal Learning, Middle School Aged, Technology|0 Comments

LED Light Up Cards

This month we combined card-making with circuitry for our latest Be the Scientist program for grades 3-5. We facilitated this program near Valentine’s Day thinking it would help spark interest. Here’s what we did. We started the program by talking about circuitry, asking participants what they knew about how a circuit works and what its

By |February 23rd, 2019|Categories: Arts, Elementary Aged, Informal Learning, Physics, Science, STEM|4 Comments

STEAM Kits

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

STEAM Engines

Youth Services Librarian Caitlin Savage took over STEAM programming for grades K-2 last spring at Skokie Public Library. Under her direction, the bi-monthly Science Club program became monthly and was re-branded as STEAM Engines. This program is becoming a destination for budding scientists and explorers, and serves a bridge to other STEAM opportunities at the

By |December 27th, 2018|Categories: Chemistry, Elementary Aged, Informal Learning, Science, STEM|1 Comment

Exploring Music

This fall our STEAM space, the BOOMbox, is exploring music. Every two weeks, we focused drop-in experiences on a different aspect of music, from physics to history to genres. We used a variety of tools and resources for hands-on learning, experimentation, and exploration, largely engaging learners in grades 2-7. Here are some of the focus

By |November 27th, 2018|Categories: Informal Learning, Physics, STEM|0 Comments
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