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 [...]
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So far Caitlin Savage has created 12 blog entries.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
As it often does in the Midwest, the fall began in all its resplendence - sun shining through the foliage, colors changing majestically, a cozy crispness in the air. And then it snowed. A lot. And it stuck, leaving us incongruously with deep snow and trees full of not-quite-changed leaves. It was amazing to look at, a reminder that wonder exists in the unexpected. My kids and I spent Halloween afternoon tromping down streets arched with heavy snow-dr enched branches, dodging puddles, and throwing snowballs. I was marveling at the spectacle, when it occurred to me that every year I look [...]
What do you call a chicken who crosses the road, rolls around in the dirt, then comes back?* Alas, this particular joke went over the heads of every participant in this month’s STEAM Engines at Skokie Library, but it was the perfect entry into our discussion about dirt - or more specifically soil. Same thing, right? As it it turns out, there’s a difference, and if you ask a soil scientist, it’s pretty big! It was the beginning of summer, and I was getting excited about getting my hands dirty. What better opportunity than STEAM Engines, Skokie Library’s kindergarten-2nd grade science [...]
One of my favorite things about kid science programming at the library is the journey of discovery. I was as excited as the next curious citizen when the photo of the black hole was released in April. I was eager to show it to my son, who is generally fascinated by all things space, and I was not disappointed. “But mom,” he asked me, “what IS it?” and I found I couldn’t quite answer. Luckily for both of us, I’m a librarian, and that means one of my all-time favorite things to do is to find out. I decided to take [...]