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…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Summer Reading Wind Down – time to amp it up!

Inaction is not an option! 2017 Summer Reading might be winding down, but it’s time to amp it up for next year!  Next year’s theme is ‘Libraries Rock!’.  STEM and STEAM programming have tons of crossover applications to music. Here’s a few ideas to get you stoked for next year! Ukulele Got ukes?  How about a ukulele club?  Learning to play a few chords on ukulele is super easy – anyone can learn.  Nail C-F-G chords and you’d be floored how many songs you can play with ease.  We’ve been teaching all summer long and the kids are lovin’ it.  Next summer would be a great opportunity for you to start up your own club.  We searched around and found starter kits, complete with ukulele, bag, picks, tuner and extra strings for only $34 on sale on Amazon.                 Teens! Teens will truly…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Build a Better World – Sustainability STEM programming!

sustainability

STEM and STEAM this summer! Summer reading is a great time to market ourselves, but it’s even better for starting new programs.  Get kids hooked on STEM and STEAM programming!  Focusing on “Build a Better World”, try these three “hot” topics that all touch on Sustainability: Global warming Princeton University created a game and teaching guide that children from fifth grade up can enjoy and learn with – The Wedges Game! This is a “team-based exercise that teaches players about greenhouse gases, plus technologies that reduce carbon emissions” (Wedges Game) Try out this resource for even more ideas!  STEM Learning Take these programs a step further! Have kids debate the issues Have kids draw up policies and recommendations to present to local councils Nothing increases a child’s understanding of topics better than a little research, a bit of debating and then presenting to others.  And what better way to build a better world than…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Summer Reading 2017: On Beyond Lego!

Let’s get ready to build stuff! The 2017 Summer Reading theme is “Build a Better World” and I wanted to touch on two key options: Building sets Recycle, reuse and re-purpose Building Sets: looking beyond the ordinary Giant Crystal Connectors by Constructa Retro! 4″ interlocking discs with eight slots Translucent, and brightly-colored   Cardboard construction tools – Makedo!       playful cardboard construction 30 reusable parts build creations from junk! You supply the stuff – cardboard, foam, whatever – and Makedo makes it possible to construct anything you can dream up.  Re-usable and SAFE! From the trenches: Denver Public Library loads up their programming room with recyclables for attendees to build stuff.  Imagine combining that with Makedo kits! SmartMax by SmartMax Explore magnetism! Strong, large pieces Safe for kids as young as one High-quality, sonically-welded bars Learn about magnetic attraction and repulsion while constructing towers, bridges and other creations. The magnets are…