Monthly Archives: July 2016

Bringing the Indoors Out


There has been a movement towards bringing the natural world into programming more. More often than not, this involves bringing "nature" indoors in some fashion, whether by working with natural leaves, sticks, or other materials or even animals; or by doing activities which imitate nature in some way. It could be argued, however, that it is far better to take the indoors out... to move the program out "into nature" or at least to an open air outdoor setting! In June, the Kenton County (KY) Public Library debuted an outdoor environmental education program series at a local city park. By partnering with [...]

Bringing the Indoors Out2016-07-27T15:52:25-06:00

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.” 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!2016-07-23T13:26:39-06:00

Learn About Other Cultures While Getting Fit – Make Your Own Skill Toys


                There's lots of research these days that supports the idea that a healthy body supports a healthy mind and intellect, improving one's ability to learn, understand, and retain information.  Cultures throughout history may or may not have made the connection between a healthy body and a healthy mind, but they did encourage physical training and health for their children, as well as their adults.  Often physical fitness was required for their very survival.  That's not so much the case in the technologically advanced societies of today.  Because we have become more sedentary, spending more [...]

Learn About Other Cultures While Getting Fit – Make Your Own Skill Toys2016-07-21T18:48:55-06:00

Little Makers: Dinosaur Dig!


  Stephanie Prato- Director of Play to Learn Services Fayetteville Free Library Little Makers is a monthly STE(A)M program designed for K-2nd grade. (To learn more about our Little Makers program series, see our earlier post here. In this session we got to be paleontologists and explore the concepts of dinosaurs and fossils. Prep Before the Program: There is about 1-2 hours worth of prep to do before this program. I used the following recipe to make the dinosaur fossils for excavation, prior to the program, so they would be hard enough to chip away at. During the Program: We stared out [...]

Little Makers: Dinosaur Dig!2016-07-18T10:25:22-06:00

Resources Shared at the ALA Annual Conference


STAR_Net has a wealth of resources for public libraries to use in their STEM-related programs, and we brought resources relating to collaboration, plus our newest hands-on activities, to the ALA Annual Conference. Check out the slides and links from our two sessions below and let us know if you have anything to add! Thanks to the leadership of STEM in Libraries Member Initiative Group, who facilitated small group discussions, the session included insightful tips from fellow attendees! STEM Collaboration Share a Thon Saturday, June 25 Three presenters from the Public Libraries & STEM Conference kindly agreed to share their [...]

Resources Shared at the ALA Annual Conference2016-07-15T15:00:35-06:00

Blooming Paper Flowers


This summer, Skokie Public Library is offering daily after-lunch drop-in programs for youth entering grades 3-5. Every Friday is billed as “Science Friday,” and these days are reserved for simple and engaging science experiments and inquiry. We have been attracting a solid group of kids--larger audiences than we’ve traditionally seen for drop-in science activities--so we purposefully think about offering activities that will engage and interest a wide range of kids. I recently went the STEAM route with blooming paper flowers, an activity requiring few supplies and that can be hosted inside or out. For the supplies, you’ll need regular printer paper, [...]

Blooming Paper Flowers2016-07-06T13:56:57-06:00

Who Does Lego Wedo? We Do!


By Maija McLaughlin, Director of Digital Access, Fayetteville Free Library Since January of this year, the Fayetteville Free Library has been running a monthly Lego WeDo program for children K-2nd.    For several years, the library has facilitated programs for teens and middle schoolers utilizing Lego robotics platforms such Lego MindStorm.  Our savvy patrons and parents asked “Is there Lego robotics programming for younger children?”  Enter Lego WeDo.  WeDo is a lego robotics kit which can make 9 different robots.  The robots include an alligator, a drumming gorilla, a man in a boat, a lion and the list goes on.  Once the [...]

Who Does Lego Wedo? We Do!2016-07-01T12:02:40-06:00
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