Spacial Thinking

A Chill in the Air and Color in the Trees

2021-01-27T16:42:42+00:00

There's been a bit of a chill in the air the last week or so, a frequent thumping on the roof of pecans falling out of the tree in the yard, and a sense of frantic feasting radiating from the hummingbirds who frequent the feeders on my porch.  Autumn is here. One of my favorite things to do as the seasons slip away from summer and toward winter is to walk through wooded areas and collect brightly colored leaves.  This is something my mother did with me as a very young child on my great grandparents' farm.  I still have the [...]

A Chill in the Air and Color in the Trees2021-01-27T16:42:42+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

Calling All STAR net Libraries: Help NASA Make a Better World Land Map!

2018-09-26T13:58:32+00:00

NASA needs your help photographing your local landscape through the new Land Cover tool in GLOBE Observer (GO). Why? One reason is to fill in details of the landscape that are too small for global land-mapping satellites to see. Land cover is critical to many different processes on Earth and contributes to a community’s vulnerability to disasters like fire, floods or landslides. Read more at http://go.nasa.gov/2NdWgwt. GO Land Cover kicked off with a challenge to map as much land as possible between Sept. 22, Public Lands Day, and Oct. 1, NASA’s 60th anniversary. Could you help by using the app to [...]

Calling All STAR net Libraries: Help NASA Make a Better World Land Map!2018-09-26T13:58:32+00:00

May the Fourth be With You: Star Wars Day at the Library

2018-05-04T05:51:06+00:00

It's Star Wars Day! I know that it's giving away my age, but I remember when the very first Star Wars movie came out.  I watched it from a swing-set in the small, fenced-in playground at the foot of the giant screen of the drive-in movie theater.  The playground was surrounded by the same heavy gray metal boxes that were hung on the car doors of theater-goers, and served as movie speakers.  That way I could enjoy the movie while my adults could enjoy it, as well, without my nervous energy distracting and annoying them.  Now there is another generation growing [...]

May the Fourth be With You: Star Wars Day at the Library2018-05-04T05:51:06+00:00

Paper Spheres: Experimentation with Decoration

2017-12-28T21:50:11+00:00

Leading up to the holidays, people are often busy buying gifts and decorating their homes.  So, this year, I decided to offer different decorative crafts each week in December.  One of the most popular was the paper spheres.  The craft is simple to do, and only requires strips of paper, a hole punch, and brads (or bent paper clips) to complete.  Being simple in its execution allows for crafters to put their focus on creativity and originality.  They can also make more at home themselves, or as a family activity of they so choose, with a short list of easy to [...]

Paper Spheres: Experimentation with Decoration2017-12-28T21:50:11+00:00

Planet Hoppers

2017-11-28T09:53:25+00:00

When we first learned we’d be hosting the Explore Space exhibit from STAR_Net at our library this fall, we spent quite a bit of time browsing through program ideas and how-tos as we started to formulate our program schedule. Each month at our library, we offer an elementary-age STEAM program called Be the Scientist--and we knew we wanted the fall 2017 programs to tie into the exhibit and space in general. When we found the Jump to Jupiter program plan, we knew we’d found something that would work for our community. We tweaked the program to fit--literally--at our library, and named [...]

Planet Hoppers2017-11-28T09:53:25+00:00

Join the Rage! DIY Fidget Spinners

2017-06-24T13:01:08+00:00

      I came across an interesting new type of toy online a few months ago - fidget spinners.  They're advertised as good for nail chewers, autistic people, children and adults with OCD, ADHD, and a variety of other conditions and issues.  I don't know about all that, but I do know they are kinda fun to play with, and now I see them everywhere, including spinning up a storm in the hands of library customers. I've also discovered that people are designing new styles, shapes, and forms of fidget spinners all the time.  Being ever on the lookout for [...]

Join the Rage! DIY Fidget Spinners2017-06-24T13:01:08+00:00

Cardboard Creations!

2016-10-17T16:28:16+00:00

What can you do with an hour, a large box, some assorted IKEA packing materials, a few plastic fasteners, and some kids? All kinds of cool things! We recently held another "open building" program at KCPL. This time, our building materials included one very large box, pieces of cardboard of various sizes, shapes, and thickness, some plastic hinges and fasteners, and plastic saw/punch tools. Those in attendance were given a few basic rules: 1. Only use the tools on the cardboard. :) 2. If you use the fasteners and take your creation home, the fasteners must be returned the next time [...]

Cardboard Creations!2016-10-17T16:28:16+00:00

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

2016-08-06T16:18:05+00:00

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 move.  The other two disappeared into the ether.  I could have taken this experience as a reminder to always back up my work on at least one flash drive.  Instead, I decided it was the universe giving me the opportunity to work harder on my article. [...]

3-D Origami – The Fun of Legos on a Much Smaller Budget2016-08-06T16:18:05+00:00

Engineering programs? As simple as playing with blocks!

2016-07-23T13:26:39+00:00

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.” Does that mean that in order to have an engineering program, one must teach, explain, or even fully understand those scientific and mathematical principles? Not necessarily, and that is the beauty of non-formal programming! For many, the trial and error method helps to understand the basics [...]

Engineering programs? As simple as playing with blocks!2016-07-23T13:26:39+00:00
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