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

A Visit With Master Artists and Teachers – Michael LaFosse and Richard Alexander

2018-11-23T19:14:08-07:00

A local museum is hosting an exhibit entitled "Origami in the Garden" until March of 2019.  It's a fantastic series of metal sculptures based on origami designs scattered throughout the gardens of the museum.    As part of the exhibit's kick-off activities, Michael LaFosse and Richard Alexander, master origamists, were invited to visit local schools and to teach workshops at the Botanic Garden.  I was fortunate enough to be able to attend one of their workshops.  It was great! Using giant squares of paper and the wall as their flat surface, Michael and Richard showed a group of about 25 how [...]

A Visit With Master Artists and Teachers – Michael LaFosse and Richard Alexander2018-11-23T19:14:08-07:00

Join the Rage! DIY Fidget Spinners

2017-06-24T13:01:08-06:00

      I came across an interesting new type of toy online a few months ago - fidget spinners.  They're advertised as good for nail chewers, autistic people, children and adults with OCD, ADHD, and a variety of other conditions and issues.  I don't know about all that, but I do know they are kinda fun to play with, and now I see them everywhere, including spinning up a storm in the hands of library customers. I've also discovered that people are designing new styles, shapes, and forms of fidget spinners all the time.  Being ever on the lookout for [...]

Join the Rage! DIY Fidget Spinners2017-06-24T13:01:08-06:00

Paper Quilting – Colored Paper, Creativity, Geometry, and a Little History Mixed In

2017-03-08T19:27:53-07:00

    It's cold outside (OK, in some parts of the country it is)- the time of the year when people think about curling up under a warm quilt with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book, unless you're a kid, of course.  Sitting still under a warm blanket is really hard when you're young and full of the cabin fever wiggles. But what about reading a great picture book about quilts, enjoying the wonderful illustrations, then creating your own quilt squares out of paper?  There are plenty of books to choose from.  Not too long ago, I did [...]

Paper Quilting – Colored Paper, Creativity, Geometry, and a Little History Mixed In2017-03-08T19:27:53-07:00

Poly- What? Learning the language of 3D Geometry

2017-02-04T17:52:03-07:00

    Shapes, shapes, and more shapes.  Circle, triangle, square, rectangle - it all starts of easy enough.  Then it get a bit more complicated when you move from two dimensional to three dimensional - sphere, cylinder, pyramid, cube, prism.  Then, before you know it, your tongue is in a knot, and you're totally confused.  Just what does a decagonal gyroelongated bipyramid, compound of truncated icosahedron and pentakisdodecahedron, or a prolate hectohexecontadihedron look like?  It's all in the name.  The trick is understanding the language of shapes, and a little bit of Greek and Latin.  For help with the Greek and Latin, [...]

Poly- What? Learning the language of 3D Geometry2017-02-04T17:52:03-07:00

Cardboard Creations!

2016-10-17T16:28:16-06:00

What can you do with an hour, a large box, some assorted IKEA packing materials, a few plastic fasteners, and some kids? All kinds of cool things! We recently held another "open building" program at KCPL. This time, our building materials included one very large box, pieces of cardboard of various sizes, shapes, and thickness, some plastic hinges and fasteners, and plastic saw/punch tools. Those in attendance were given a few basic rules: 1. Only use the tools on the cardboard. :) 2. If you use the fasteners and take your creation home, the fasteners must be returned the next time [...]

Cardboard Creations!2016-10-17T16:28:16-06:00

Engineering programs? As simple as playing with blocks!

2016-07-23T13:26:39-06:00

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

Tangrams – Stories, Shapes and Spatial Thinking

2016-02-19T16:03:11-07:00

      Tangrams are possibly among the easiest of puzzles to make, and the among hardest to master.  The traditional tangram is composed of seven pieces - 2 large triangles, a medium sized triangle, 2 small triangles, a square, and a parallelogram - that will fit together into a perfect square, among thousands of other shapes.  The pieces themselves are called tans, while the images created with them are called tangrams.  The challenge of the puzzle is to create various shapes by arranging the pieces so that they touch, but do not overlap.  Patterns can vary from very easy to form [...]

Tangrams – Stories, Shapes and Spatial Thinking2016-02-19T16:03:11-07:00
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