Hands-on STEM: Scale Model of Sun and Earth

While we all know that the Sun is very big and very far away, its actual size and distance from Earth can be hard concepts to grasp. Many Solar System models that we see inaccurately display the relative size of the Sun compared to the planets, and almost all models inaccurately display the true distance

Meteors, Moon Phases, and Sky Maps; Oh My!

April was a good time for Astronomy programs, with the Lyrid Meteor Shower on Earth Day this year. We held two different programs in anticipation of the shower; one in the library, and one in a local county park. The program Meet a Meteor began with some meteor basics, including this "What's Up in April"

Tree-mendous Mini Camp a tremendous success!

Taking advantage of connections to the county parks department, spring weather, and spring break, we tried a new program idea this spring. A Tree-mendous Mini Camp was held on two days in a local county park; we did a variety of tree-related activities, learning games, reading, crafting, and more. For two and a half hours

Tomatoes in Containers!

We recently made use of Spring Break to host a program presented by our local agricultural Extension Agent. The horticulture agent came to our library to present a program all about tomatoes! She and her assistant talked about different varieties of tomatoes, a little bit of the history of the tomato, what they need to

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

Happy World Water Day!

In honor of World Water Day, here is a look at some water resources and program opportunities! I recently had the opportunity, through my involvement as a Project WET Facilitator, to act as a field tester for early childhood water activities. The new guide, Getting Little Feet WET, is available as a digital download beginning

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse!

What exactly is a penumbral  lunar eclipse? We recently had the good fortune to be able to explore this in a library program. In a rare event, several circumstances aligned to allow us the opportunity to talk about eclipses, view one as it happened, and help build excitement for the upcoming solar eclipse. Even though

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

DNA Extraction from Cheek Cells

We know that hands-on experimentation often leads to more meaningful learner engagement and a deeper understanding of concepts. We recently facilitated a catchy yet easy-to-execute experiment during drop-in hours in the BOOMbox, Skokie Public Library’s STEAM learning space. Our experiment: human DNA extraction. While DNA extraction may seem daunting, this experiment is relatively simple and

By |December 15th, 2016|Categories: Chemistry, Elementary Aged, Informal Learning, Middle School Aged, Science|1 Comment

Family Escape Room Challenge

A family working on Gravity Maze challenge cards. Have you noticed the escape room trend popping up in library programming? We decided to jump on that bandwagon and framed our latest STEAM family challenge program around the escape room trend, incorporating logic and teamwork around a series of puzzles. I’ve mentioned Mission: BOOMbox

By |November 8th, 2016|Categories: Elementary Aged, Engineering, Informal Learning, Science|0 Comments
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