Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Zooming into STEAM Programming

I love book clubs.

I personally belong to four (three of which focus on children’s and teen titles).  I run one for tweens at my library.  The adjustment of doing this all online was very simple.

I love storytimes. 

After figuring out how best to frame staff on the Zoom screen and getting storytime permissions, storytimes adjusted virtually very easily.

I love STEAM programs.


Seriously, though, I was wondering HOW exactly STEAM programs were going to translate to a live virtual program.  I had done, and seen, some pre-taped crafts and such, but I’ve been just itching to actually connect and interact with kids.  I know many, many of my colleagues have been offering deeply impactful STEAM programs online, but last week was my first.

I don’t really get nervous programming anymore.  I was nervous for this.

My set-up before the program. Note the webcam. Also forgive the chairs…our storycraft room doubles as a storage room, as we have removed half of the furniture for social distancing!

I chose a program on Air and Wind that I was supposed to do last spring for elementary students.  I had offered this program before, at a different branch.  Doing something comfortable seemed preferable. 

The big difference was using a webcam, so that I could show them how to conduct the experiments and make the crafts from above.  This choice helped so much.

We experimented with blowing cotton balls with and without a straw.  We made different size roto-copters (such a great experiment from San Francisco’s Exploratorium).   We talked about wind facts and made windsock kites and spiral spinners.  The program lasted about 45 minutes on a Wednesday afternoon during spring break.

One parent of three attendees asked if they could turn their camera off.  I agreed—I had heard many of my colleagues say that kids like them off, and I don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable.  But I did, lightly, ask if I could see their kites when they were done at the end of the program.  They agreed.  Other attendees also turned off their cameras.

However, after we made the roto-copters, and they were working, all the cameras snapped back on as kids wanted to share what they had discovered. 

If you learn nothing else from this blog, seriously, use the roto-copters! 

What have been some of your virtual successes?

This post addresses the core competency of III. Programming Skills.

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