About Jennifer Beach

Jennifer is a Children's Programmer at the Kenton County (KY) Public Library. She is also a Certified Professional Environmental Educator and holds a KY Early Care and Education Training Credential (EE Specialty.) She has been enjoying science and the environment her whole life, and has been sharing it with kids and families for 25+ years through her job, the Girl Scouts, and her home garden which is open to the public.

Pumpkin STEMs!

2018-11-25T20:50:30-07:00

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!2018-11-25T20:50:30-07:00

FrankenCreatures!

2018-11-25T19:40:54-07:00

Who among us hasn't at some point just put out a bunch of materials and told the kids "have at it!"? We did that in our STREAM Center for a pre-Halloween program, and it was way more fun that we anticipated! There were a large number of the parents who stayed with their kids and created right along with them, even though their attendance wasn't strictly mandatory at the program. We had a wide range of materials, from paper tubes to wiggle eyes. We had access to tape and glue, along with rubber bands, paper clips, and binder clips. There were [...]

FrankenCreatures!2018-11-25T19:40:54-07:00

Lessons Learned from Camp Cosmos

2018-11-19T21:28:33-07:00

            How do you decide if an event is a success? Usually the number of people in attendance is a good indicator, and one that the state wants us to report. But what if you only have three people from your intended audience attend? Can you still call that a successful event? To celebrate the end of World Space Week in October, we held Camp Cosmos at one of the local parks. We had paper rockets launched by compressed air, made space packs, offered "moon sand" to play in, made galaxy art, and more. It was a [...]

Lessons Learned from Camp Cosmos2018-11-19T21:28:33-07:00

Backyard Wilderness BioBlitz!

2018-11-19T19:36:22-07:00

This summer in the middle of Summer Reading Club, we acquired a grant-related exhibit for the library. Backyard Wilderness is a large-format film by HHMI studios, created primarily for the museum audience. An exhibit, designed also primarily for museums, was created to go along with it, and through the grant program, was distributed to libraries as well. When the exhibit arrived, it was packed in a couple of boxes and included a rolled-up rug. Once put together, the exhibit offered a conglomerate view of a "backyard" area, complete with large tree, and contained in the image were a number of kinds [...]

Backyard Wilderness BioBlitz!2018-11-19T19:36:22-07:00

A Whale of an Adventure!

2018-08-01T22:44:47-06:00

Migration: noun. seasonal movement of animals from one region to another. "this butterfly's annual migration across North America" We recently addressed the topic of migration in a program, and it was a lot of fun. First, I asked the kids what it means to “migrate.” They came up with a very similar answer to the definition above. I asked what kinds of things migrate; they told me fish, birds, butterflies, bugs, “things that live in Africa.” I asked if people migrate, and they all said no… but then thought about it a little more. One or two of them said “maybe.” We talked about people who [...]

A Whale of an Adventure!2018-08-01T22:44:47-06:00

Seeing Stars!

2018-07-30T20:14:58-06:00

Indoor astronomy is a great way to light up the night! We recently did that, both figuratively and literally. I have done a fairly large number of astronomy programs in the past 5 or 6 years, both with and without the library's 8" Dobsonian telescope; both indoors and out. I want these programs to be both about learning and fun... I want to encourage kids and their adults to spend time looking at the sky when they are outside, even if they aren't sure what they are looking at or for. Since the moon is an easy place to start, I [...]

Seeing Stars!2018-07-30T20:14:58-06:00

Take a Hike! (At the Library?)

2018-07-09T18:56:55-06:00

  Earlier this year, in the spring, Kenton County Public Library, Kenton County Parks and Recreation, the City of Erlanger, Banklick Watershed Council, the Kenton County Conservation District, and Sanitation District No. 1 all partnered to hold the first ever library hike. Within the city limits of Erlanger, where my library branch is located, is Doe Run Lake which is a Kenton County park. The City, the Parks, and the Library have worked together on a number of events, but this was a first for us; and it took two tries. The hike at Doe Run was originally scheduled to take place last [...]

Take a Hike! (At the Library?)2018-07-09T18:56:55-06:00

Celebrating Rockets’ Red Glare!

2018-07-03T22:52:45-06:00

On Monday, we celebrated America's birthday with some STEM activities! As always, we started with some reading, and I intentionally chose books that included images of fireworks. I also included a number of non-fiction Independence Day titles in my book display, along with this title: We started by reading A is for America, by Devin Scilian, then read Happy Birthday, America, by Mary Pope Osborne.  In keeping with the "rockets' red glare," theme, I decided to try two different activities, and both worked very well. The main activity was the creation of paper rockets which we launched with a stomp rocket launcher. [...]

Celebrating Rockets’ Red Glare!2018-07-03T22:52:45-06:00

Animals in the Park!

2018-06-26T03:49:54-06:00

Summer Reading programs in the park have begun again for the year. So how to inform and entertain a variety of ages, in an outdoor setting? Animals! The theme for the second week was animals, and the first of the Tuesday/Thursday programs featured a live animal petting zoo. Well over 250 people showed up for that! We had two baby goats, two young sheep, a little pot-bellied pig, and a rabbit, all of whom seemed to actually enjoy the attention. Sunrock Farm, a local educational farm (https://www.sunrockfarm.org/), hand-raises the animals destined for both in-farm and outreach education, and they are used [...]

Animals in the Park!2018-06-26T03:49:54-06:00

Light and Color and Uncooperative Weather

2018-06-19T04:05:06-06:00

The best-laid plans often go awry...  so how to program on the fly for a large group when that happens? My Monday Mayhem program is attended by a lot of school-age kids, including those who attend two separate day care summer camps. Planning for 80 takes some work and means that it is difficult to change activities without some advance thought and materials-gathering. As such, I learned a valuable lesson last week about planning... always have a back-up if the activities rely on the sun. The theme for the program last week was Light and Color, and while I had a [...]

Light and Color and Uncooperative Weather2018-06-19T04:05:06-06:00
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