Be the Scientist: Tie-Dye

One of my favorite STEAM programs is tie-dye. This can be presented as a family drop-in event, perhaps on the library’s front lawn, or as a grade specific program. For the last Be the Scientist, we featured tie-dye as a hands-on spring event for participants in grades 3-5. While the program is inherently entertaining, we

By |May 28th, 2019|Categories: Elementary Aged, General, Informal Learning, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Make a Hand, Then Try It Out – DIY Robotic Hands

      Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit another branch and do some programming.  My colleage challenged me to come up with an activity that would get the tweens off of the internet games on the public computers and into the program room for the activity.  That was quite the challenge! 

Community Video Gaming

Video games continue to be a source of community based learning and entertainment for youth and teens at Skokie Public Library. We have embraced this and provide multiple channels for youth and teens to participate either individually or as a group. But we really value group gaming as it supports collaboration, communication, and community, which

By |March 26th, 2019|Categories: Elementary Aged, General, Informal Learning, Middle School Aged, Technology|0 Comments

LED Light Up Cards

This month we combined card-making with circuitry for our latest Be the Scientist program for grades 3-5. We facilitated this program near Valentine’s Day thinking it would help spark interest. Here’s what we did. We started the program by talking about circuitry, asking participants what they knew about how a circuit works and what its

By |February 23rd, 2019|Categories: Arts, Elementary Aged, Informal Learning, Physics, Science, STEM|4 Comments

STEAM Kits

One way we promote self-directed STEAM learning at Skokie Public Library is through our STEAM Kit collection. We have about 30 kits that cardholders can checkout for one week at a time. Here’s how we create, circulate, and promote this specialized collection.   Kit Topics and Contents Our STEAM kits are carefully curated by staff

STEAM Engines

Youth Services Librarian Caitlin Savage took over STEAM programming for grades K-2 last spring at Skokie Public Library. Under her direction, the bi-monthly Science Club program became monthly and was re-branded as STEAM Engines. This program is becoming a destination for budding scientists and explorers, and serves a bridge to other STEAM opportunities at the

By |December 27th, 2018|Categories: Chemistry, Elementary Aged, Informal Learning, Science, STEM|1 Comment

Exploring Music

This fall our STEAM space, the BOOMbox, is exploring music. Every two weeks, we focused drop-in experiences on a different aspect of music, from physics to history to genres. We used a variety of tools and resources for hands-on learning, experimentation, and exploration, largely engaging learners in grades 2-7. Here are some of the focus

By |November 27th, 2018|Categories: Informal Learning, Physics, STEM|0 Comments

Pumpkin STEMs!

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

FrankenCreatures!

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

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

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

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