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STEM

Picking Up the Pieces: Circulating LEGO WeDo

LEGO WeDo Hungry Alligator

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Or an axle. Or a 24-tooth crown gear. Or all of them in one sitting.

That was the challenge we faced here at Mid-Continent Public Library as we planned to make LEGO WeDo kits available for programs at our 31 branches. How do you circulate 40 kits throughout the system without losing most of the pieces — and your mind?

TEDxYDL: 'Invent. Create. Change.'

Speaker at TedxYDL next to PowerPoint presentation

TED talks — Technology, Education, Design — are an international phenomenon where speakers share big ideas in short, inspiring speeches. TEDxYDL (Ypsilanti District Library) is an independently organized event in the spirit of TED talks. The audience hears from local speakers on a variety of topics around the theme "Invent. Create. Change."

Exploring Memory and the Brain with Kids

A neuron made out of candy

At Skokie Public Library, we recently spent four months exploring different aspects of what it means to be human, as a host site of ALA's Exploring Human Origins exhibition. In one of our upper-elementary science programs, we focused specifically on the human brain and its memory capabilities. The program was literally sugar-coated, as you’ll see below.

Oceanside Library Science Café

Oceanside Library Science Cafe audience

The Oceanside Library Science Café is a monthly series in which a scientist presents informally on a current science topic for approximately 10 minutes, followed by discussion and questions from patrons. We use the format created by NOVA, which focuses on presenting science topics in a relatable and engaging way, and in an informal setting. (We also serve coffee and really good cookies.) No PowerPoint or other formal presentation materials are used.

Art Lab: Electric Painting

Girl using the electric paint project

Art Lab is a recurring program focusing on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), with a focus on art. It is held at 7 p.m. every Monday. The first and third Mondays of the month are planned lessons, and the second and fourth Mondays are open draw sessions for students to relax and meet other artists.

The information below focuses on the Art Lab lesson: Electric Painting, in which the students made an interactive sound device using paint.

'Un-tech' Methods Help Library Teach Coding to Kids

HTML coding language

Question: When do you go “un-tech” when you want to go high-tech?

Answer: When you’re creating a coding program for kids.

That was the strategy Assistant Branch Manager Claire Rust applied when she designed the Beginning Coding Concepts program for kids at the Mid-Continent Public Library Blue Springs South Branch. Instead of building the program around computers, Rust opted for manipulatives and tabletop games to introduce the concepts behind computer program coding.

Bug Olympics

Praying mantis on a Bug Olympics presenter's hand

Knoxville Public Library’s annual Summer Reading Program (SRP) took place in June and July 2016, following the national theme for early readers and children, “On Your Mark, Get Set, READ!,” which focused on sports and keeping active.

Meet at the Lodge: A Mini-Camp for Kids

Children participating in the Rescue Challenge

This summer the Skokie Public Library offered a drop-in program entitled Meet at the Lodge every weekday for youth entering grades 3 through 5. Meet at the Lodge was timed to be in conjunction with the free summer lunch program we offer through the federally funded summer lunch program; our goal was to offer a convenient and free opportunity for kids to have a mini-camp experience from 12 to 2:30 p.m. every day (lunch lasted 60 minutes, Meet at the Lodge lasted 90).

Telescope Lending Program

Young girl looks through a telescope

The Telescope Lending Program is the result of a partnership between St. Louis County Library District (SLCL) and the St. Louis Astronomical Society (SLAS). The lending program makes 28 telescopes available for patrons to check out for one week; it is believed to be the largest telescope lending program at a single library district in the country. SLAS borrowed the concept from the New Hampshire Astronomical Society, which first introduced the lending model.

Skeleton Key Adventure Club

Skeleton Key Adventure Club logo

Skeleton Key Adventure Club gives kids ages 7 through 12 a monthly, hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activity to attend at the library from September through April. Participants earn an actual skeleton key to take home and add to their collection for each session they attend.

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