About Amy Holcomb

Amy manages the BOOMbox: Skokie Public Library's STEAM space that features a different theme every few months. She is a 2014 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and values the DIY (do it yourself) and DIT (do it together) approach to learning.

Exploring Civil Engineering

This summer our STEAM space, the BOOMbox, is exploring engineering. We’re focusing on a different field of engineering every two weeks to help kids understand the breadth and overlap of this STEAM topic. While the BOOMbox offers drop-in experiences, our Be the Scientist program series for grades 3-5 provided a more structured exploration of civil

By |June 10th, 2018|Categories: Elementary Aged, Engineering, Informal Learning, STEM|1 Comment

Dissecting Owl Pellets

In our most recent family science program, we featured owl pellet dissection. This allowed for hands on science exploration for youth in grades K-5 with a grownup using tools and resources to mimic scientists in the field. Here’s what we did. Program supplies included hand wipes, tweezers, pencils and plastic jars with lids.

By |May 3rd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|2 Comments

Vermicomposting

With the weather finally warming up, we decided to focus our latest STEM program on something fun and practical: vermicomposting! This was an hour long program for 16 kids in grades 3-5 with all supplies provided by the library. Here’s what we did. In the days before the program, we prepped all the supplies. Each

By |April 12th, 2018|Categories: Elementary Aged, environmental education, Informal Learning, Science|0 Comments

Collecting Specimens

Last month we shared a program for grades 3-5 at Skokie Public Library inspired by a visit to the Field Museum in Chicago about visualizing animals. This month we extended our inspiration and with the same grade range, focused on learning about animal specimens. Here’s what we did. We provided a brief slide presentation like

By |March 1st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Visualizing Animals

After a fall visit to the Field Museum, my colleague and I were inspired to share knowledge from the museum's extensive Specimens exhibit. We were particularly struck by the information about the Tully Monster, a prehistoric water animal whose fossils are abundantly found in Illinois, not too far from Skokie Public Library. We decided to

By |February 2nd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Baking Chemistry Boot Camp

As we’ve posted before, school breaks tend to include multi-day programs for grades 3-5. We previously challenged participants to choreograph a robot dance party and extract their own DNA. This past winter break featured a two day program about the science of baking. Each day covered science concepts related to the recipes we tested. And

By |January 14th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Coding at the Library

As part of our commitment to digital literacy, Skokie Public Library began offering a drop-in, one-hour coding program twice a month for kids in grades 3-5. The program is intended to expose kids to coding concepts and resources readily available in the library, and to help them create a community of practice where, regardless of

By |December 6th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Building an ISS Model

Our library is hosting the Explore Space: A Cosmic Journey exhibit* for the next two months, and as part of this special exhibit we have lined up several space-themed STEAM programs for youth in grades K-5. One of our first programs took place before the exhibit’s opening: a challenge-based family program where the goal was

By |October 27th, 2017|Categories: Elementary Aged, Engineering, Informal Learning, NASA, Science, Space Exloration, STEM|0 Comments

STEAM Benchmarks

We know that hands-on or experiential learning is great for patrons of all ages, and that it’s particularly powerful in STEAM learning opportunities. Skokie Public Library has developed STEAM programming benchmarks for our youth patrons, from pre-kindergarten through grade 5, that ensure we have regular STEAM offerings on a variety of topics. We’ve found that

By |September 8th, 2017|Categories: Chemistry, Elementary Aged, Engineering, General, Informal Learning, Pre-School, Science|0 Comments

Watercraft Design

Challenge-based programming is well received by multiple age groups at Skokie Public Library. These programs support 21st century learning skills like creative thinking, problem solving, and collaboration, all skills we’re eager to promote in activities for youth of a variety of ages. In various programs, we have facilitated watercraft design challenges where patrons are presented

By |July 24th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments
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