Guest Blogger

Building Spatial Awareness in Story Times Through the Use of Tangrams

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get my hands on a galley of Molly Bang’s upcoming book When Sophie Thinks She Can’t (anticipated January 2018). I immediately rejoiced at Bang’s creative highlight of Tangrams. As anyone who has heard me speak about tangrams in the past, there are not enough picture books to tie in with this fantastic Chinese puzzle. In almost all our libraries you can find a tangram set. No matter what, you can locate printable tangram templates on the internet. (A tangram set consists of seven shapes: 2 large right triangles, 1 medium sized right triangle, 2 small right triangles, 1 small square, and 1 parallelogram). To many, the use of tangrams is something to keep the kids busy rather than an intentional and useful activity that helps students develop their spatial awareness and creativity skills. According to Yi Ling Cheng and Kelly Mix,…

Guest Blogger

Exploring 3D Shapes in Early Math Programming

As children’s librarians, we are pros at introducing shapes to even the youngest of customers in our libraries. How many times have we pointed to a circle in baby time, made triangles with our fingers in toddler time, or sang a shapes song in preschool story time? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? Introducing the concept of 3-Dimensional shapes can be just as easy and is just as important for young learners. As a friend once told me “2D shapes are flat and 3D shapes are fat.” I use this saying frequently in my story times when we look at 3D shapes, such as building blocks, Legos, and various shapes I use on our light table or projector. Introducing 3D shapes to toddlers and preschoolers involves 1. Sharing their correct name 2. Having children use the accurate mathematical term and 3. Giving them time to build with and explore the shape. Youth at…

Books

Science Literacy Moments #alsc14

“Pretend the window is a screen,” said poet Susan Blackaby at this morning’s #alsc14 session “The Poetry of Science.” People spend so much time with their eyes glued to their electronic devices that they’re liable to miss what’s going on in their environment. Imagine if people gave as much concentration to nature as they give to their computer screens. How many hawks would they see? What other wonders would they encounter? Author Margarita Engle joined today’s panel, discussing how she uses both poetry and her science background to advocate for animal and environment conservation. As a child, Engle said, “No curiosity was too small for concentration.” She made the point that the phrase “the spirit of wonder” is applicable to both science and poetry. Because of this commonality, it’s possible to interest poetry loving kids in science phenomena and give science fans the chance to experiment with language. Poet Janet…

Blogger Amy Koester

Counting & Measuring: A Preschool Math & Science Program

I’ve been branching beyond straight preschool science programs lately to incorporate more of the overlap between all the STEM areas. My latest endeavor focused on counting and measuring–both math skills that are important in many science activities. Doing simple tasks like counting and measuring in a storytime setting shows caregivers that they do not need to be scientists or mathematicians to be able to engage with their kids in science and math activities. We can all handle preschool-level activities in these areas, and our recent program illustrated that fact. First, we read a story. I knew I wanted to use books with cooking in them to illustrate counting and measuring, and I ended up using one of my favorites, Pizza at Sally’s by Monica Wellington. There are lots of interesting things going on in the illustrations, giving the children and me plenty of openings to include counting, color matching, and cooking vocabulary…

Blogger Amanda Roberson

STEM @ Your Library!

The Maryland state board of education just approved the following seven Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Standards of Practice for use in schools and many other states are working to create similar standards of practice for their school systems. These practices give guidance to the need to educate our youngest learners to live in a world where the job they will have as adults doesn’t even exist yet. 1. Learn and Apply Rigorous Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics content 2. Integrate Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Content 3. Interpret and Communicate Information from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics 4. Engage in Inquiry 5. Engage in Logical Reasoning 6. Collaborate as a STEM team 7. Apply Technology Strategically My colleagues and I recently attended a great conference on STEM and Early Childhood. We learned more about the need for STEM in young children’s education and strategies for childcare providers and early…