ALA Annual 2018

STEM for Babies and Toddlers #ALAAC18

What is STEM… Some may think, STEM?!  for toddlers?!  for babies?!  Of course, we think of teaching and using STEM for kids in high school and even in first grade.  But, is it ever too early to start STEM?  I always knew STEM as “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math,” but two librarians from the Brooklyn Public Library, a librarian from the Everett Public Library, and Early Childhood Literacy Consultant and Expert Saroj Ghoting gave a more detailed definition.  The science portion is really a way of thinking, technology is a way of doing, engineering is a way of creating, and math is a way of measuring. Within this new context, it was easy to see that toddlers and babies naturally engage in STEM every day.  When they throw their full cereal bowl on the floor, they are practicing cause and effect and learning about gravity.  When playing with blocks, a…

ALA Annual 2018

STEAM-y Library Programs at #alac18

You can’t be a children’s librarian today without being inundated with STEAM, STEM, STREAM requests from your admins, patrons, councilmembers, educators, and children themselves. It has been a buzzword for the last 10 years or so… but what does that actually mean at your library? I really liked this program because it talked about the theory and why of STEM and how we were already doing a lot of it and just additional framework for how we can think and talk about STEM as we develop programs and empower parents. As one presenter put it– we want parents to feel like they have achieved things and accomplished things! And then beyond the framework– there was a chance to interact and play with materials and PRACTICE discussing STEM questioning with ourselves and colleagues in the room. I mention that because as one of the presenters mentioned– this takes practice, there is no…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Libraries Rock: Between Summer READing ‘n’ Hard Places

Summer READing is upon us! So, you’ve got everything lined up for summer.  Performers – check!  Special storytimes – check!  Crafts – check!  Libraries rock! But what about the unexpected?  It’s all happened to us – a performer cancels at the last minute, or a crucial staff member calls in sick.  Will you be ready? Here’s some quick and easy hands-on activities that can be turned into full-blown, hour long programs!  All on the turn of a dime and just as affordable!  Rock – I mean – read on! Libraries Rock – Literally! Zen or Sharpie Stones What could be easier?  Take some rocks, get some Sharpies and create simply patterns all over them! These can be as simple or as complex as you want: Mini Rock Garden Easy mode: Get a shoe box lid, add some sand and rocks and create patterns with a plastic fork. Source: Pinterest Tip: Put…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

STEM Hurricane Irma Activities – Kids Tweens Teens

Weather map of hurricane

STEM Hurricane Activities So, yes, quite frankly we have been living under a rock for the past few weeks.  Why you may ask?  Hurricanes, of course!  It’s been a matter of survival!   Now that things are slowly returning to normal and libraries are re-opening, help kids understand one of the strongest forces of nature through STEM hurricane activities!     STEM Hurricane Activities just for Kids How does wind move across the United States – check out this amazing, interactive map!           Build your own hurricane without the messy cleanup!   In this interactive game, kids can build their own hurricane.  They’ll learn what kinds of wind conditions, latitude, and sea temperature make hurricanes.  It’s okay if they don’t know a lot about hurricanes—there are hints built in to help them out.       But wait, there’s more! Aim a Hurricane – Students can learn…

STEM/STEAM

Cheap and Easy STEM Programs

It’s no secret that I love doing STEM programs. They’re educational, a bit chaotic, and fun. If you fear facilitating STEM programs, consider this: remember when science was awesome? Before it got all difficult and filled with math that still gives you (read: me) panic attacks? When you’re a kid, everything is new and super cool because you’re learning how the world works. Frankly, sometimes science seems like magic–only better because it’s real. So, you can take that natural curiosity of theirs and use it to explore science alongside them. You don’t need to be an expert; just admit you don’t know something and learn with them as you go. Ahem. Pardon my science-y soap boxing. This month, I’m sharing my Top 5 Inexpensive STEM Programs: Catapults. In my program, 4th-6th graders learned a bit about physics, watched educational videos about how medieval “siege engines” worked, and built two types…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Eclipse Madness : Zombies Might be Easier

In case you are one of the 18 people who  haven’t yet heard the news: there’s going to be a total solar eclipse on August 21st, that will cross the United States. Media coverage of this rare occurrence  is exploding. It’s exciting to have such an enthusiastic response from the public.  It’s also a little intimidating.     Along with 4799 other public libraries, my library was lucky enough to be selected for the eclipse viewing glasses grant. The 2017 Solar Eclipse project is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through Grant GBMF5373 to the Space Science Institute.  When I applied months ago, barely anyone had heard about the event. It hardly made a ripple in the programming pond.  Some of my colleagues questioned why we would need so many pairs of the glasses. I strenuously asserted that, yes, we would need every single pair. It turns out…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

STEM: Teaching Kids About Nuclear Concepts

Four days ago was the 72nd anniversary of a U.S. atomic bomb destroying five square miles of the city of Hiroshima.  Yesterday was the 72nd anniversary of the U.S’ atomic bombing of Nagasaki.  In five days time from the writing of this post, WWII ended. NEA The NEA has an excellent set of lesson plans, text resources, images and video to help children understand the events that concluded WWII. Turning the tragic loss of 210000 men, women and children into a positive experience for our youngest patrons is not beyond any of us.  And in many ways, I personally feel that the majority of those who perished that fateful week would want our next generation to understand the positive and constructive uses for nuclear energy. Voyager We are on the cusp of a major eclipse, and there’s no better time while children are excited about astronomy to tell them all about the…