About Caitlin Savage

Youth Services Librarian at Skokie Public Library

STEAM Engines: Da Vinci Bridge

2021-07-20T13:00:34-06:00

A few years back, as the Youth Services department was thinking about programs and play opportunities for the library, I attended this talk about the benefits of nature play for children. Scholarly presentations on the benefits of forest schools, nature preschools, and the importance of nature play were in abundance as well as hands-on activities for practical application in a school or library setting. I love it, and I’m totally on board, but the point that stuck out the most for me was the educator who talked about kids’ play being their work - that they would naturally become builders, engineers, [...]

STEAM Engines: Da Vinci Bridge2021-07-20T13:00:34-06:00

STEAM Engines: Rube Goldberg Machines

2021-07-20T13:04:17-06:00

One of the greatest things about living with my son is watching how his brain works. He is a tinkerer, a “how things work” enthusiast, an engineer, and a builder. Where he sees a world of possibility in a pile of Lego, without clear instructions and a plan I see clutter and confusion. Where I see a mess of sticks, he sees a potential fort. Nothing exemplifies this more than the following example: One Saturday morning not long ago I asked Desi to clean up “a world of possibility” from the middle of the floor. He agreed, and I returned a [...]

STEAM Engines: Rube Goldberg Machines2021-07-20T13:04:17-06:00

Code Monsters: Computers and Social Emotional Learning at Skokie Library

2021-05-27T20:59:54-06:00

Before I get too deep into this post, I feel I must confess that there was a time in my life when I was a skeptic about gaming in the library. This skepticism was based on a number of misconceptions, the best of them being that nebulous old chestnut “you’ll rot your brain,” and the worst of them being that it’s a highly addictive, antisocial activity with little room for creativity. The latter opinion was loosely based on my own experiences obsessively squandering many a perfect summer day in pursuit of eight pieces of Zelda’s triforce. Not that there’s anything wrong [...]

Code Monsters: Computers and Social Emotional Learning at Skokie Library2021-05-27T20:59:54-06:00

STEAM Engines from home: the busiest physicists

2021-02-10T15:42:30-07:00

Towards the end of summer, I fell victim to one of those AMAZING PAINTING YOU WILL BE MESMERIZED type videos floating around on social media. I admit that, like a cartoon squirrel presented with a decoy nut, I am easily captivated. I am handily distracted by cookie decorating videos. TRANSFORM THIS OLD WHATCHAMACALLIT INTO SOMETHING (objectively useless but still) COOL videos regularly siphon valuable minutes off my life. But readers, there was something to this AMAZING PAINTING video. It was an art form called pendulum painting, in which an artist sets a hanging paint container with a hole in the bottom [...]

STEAM Engines from home: the busiest physicists2021-02-10T15:42:30-07:00

STEAM Engines: Nephology

2021-02-10T15:44:16-07:00

We had a beautiful summer in Skokie, and though I really miss being in the library and getting to see all of our eager young science friends, There have been some real silver linings (cloud reference segue absolutely intended!). Always somewhat outdoorsy, this summer, the kids and I spent an unprecedented amount of time outside, taking walks, playing in the yard, and a new game - watching for shapes in the clouds. A discussion on the general merits of living in a cloud (the look so soft and fluffy, right??), led to an absolute nerd-out about what clouds actually are, and [...]

STEAM Engines: Nephology2021-02-10T15:44:16-07:00

STEAM Engines from home: Catapults!

2021-01-27T16:53:33-07:00

Moving our STEAM Engines programming to an online, recorded format has been a treat and a learning experience as we struggle to find relatable, interesting content for kids each month. In person, it is important to me to root our STEM concept in art, literature, and music, so I typically begin each program with a read-aloud. As we have moved the program online, copyright has made finding supplementary reading and music more challenging. With that in mind, the format that I’ve settled into involves a basic STEAM concept, a short, silly, original song or story to reinforce the concept, and a [...]

STEAM Engines from home: Catapults!2021-01-27T16:53:33-07:00

Steam From Home: Side Scooper

2020-09-07T12:01:04-06:00

Around May of 2020, it became pretty clear that library programming was going to look different for the foreseeable future. Having successfully produced the Saponify! video, it seemed like, while not a perfect vehicle, a regular STEAM video program could serve as a stand in for my in-person monthly STEAM Engines program. Hence, the STEAM Engines from home series began. We rolled out a plan for two videos, produced monthly, each between four and six minutes on a different STEAM topic. Every video would include a topical story, book plug, or song related to the theme, culminating with a hands-on project [...]

Steam From Home: Side Scooper2020-09-07T12:01:04-06:00

STEAM From Home: Soap Magic

2020-07-27T08:04:05-06:00

Like everyone else, the question of connection looms large during this pandemic. Connection with patrons, connecting ideas - how to provide these meaningful experiences remotely? Especially STEAM for a young audience. When so much of the learning is experiential, how can we can reach our patrons? I have a glass half full (depending on the day) situation wherein I have two naturally curious, creative, youngsters at home, one of whom (my son Desi) is willing to be on camera. While this provides its own set of challenges (filming with my children is akin to trying to get an eager cat to [...]

STEAM From Home: Soap Magic2020-07-27T08:04:05-06:00

STEAM Engines: Awwwww, Spiders

2020-05-07T10:29:26-06:00

Sometimes the best laid plans fail, and that can feel rough, but like my daughter says “mistakes help you learn!” and she is absolutely right. This was absolutely the case with my STEAM Engines (Skokie Public Library’s science club for K-2nd grade) program about spiders. The idea to learn about spiders was birthed from a rumor (stated as a fact) that I’d heard claiming spiders do not stick to their webs because their legs are coated in a kind of special spider oil. So excited was I about this notion, that I began to build a whole program around it. Things [...]

STEAM Engines: Awwwww, Spiders2020-05-07T10:29:26-06:00

STEAM Engines: You Won’t See Me

2019-12-31T22:54:58-07:00

A conversation about superpowers during a STEAM Engines (Skokie Library's K-2 science club) program on the science of flight culminated in a split vote. Me: flight - I mean COME ON - vs. the kids: invisibility, which naturally meant that our next program would have to be about being invisible. It’s a real bonus when the kids are excited about the subject matter, and to be fair, I was too. As much as I would prefer flying, I have to admit that the ability to scoot around unnoticed would be very cool. I started the program with a picture of floating [...]

STEAM Engines: You Won’t See Me2019-12-31T22:54:58-07:00
Go to Top