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Like the increasingly popular "escape rooms" — in which players solve a series of puzzles to break out of a room — Breakouts use a compelling story, time limit, and series of puzzles to create an interactive game. But instead of breaking out of a locked room, students must work together to break into a tightly locked box before the timer runs out. Puzzles lead to the combinations for the different types of locks, and many games also include a digital element.
Talking Truth was initiated in fall 2015 to support and build on understanding of climate disruption. Our experiential workshops employ storytelling, reflective writing, discussions and mindfulness exercises that foster a world that is socially transforming.
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?
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."
The Highland Park Public Library envisioned forming one robotics team that would meet weekly to participate in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL). FLL is a robotics program that gives elementary and middle-school students the opportunity to work and create together to solve a common problem using robots and research.
In September 2016, our library learned that Laurens County would be in the path of totality for the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, and that a program from the Space Science Institute (SSI) and NASA was offering free eclipse glasses for libraries to distribute to their patrons. Our director thought it might be good to plan an event, especially since we have plenty of parking and a large lawn.
Science in St. Louis is an ongoing program series held at St. Louis County Library (SLCL). This program features local scientists and their research projects. While many of the topics discussed can be quite complex, the goal of this program is to present science in a fun and informal manner that encourages children and adults to become interested in science.
Since starting in 2015, there have been 16 programs with an average of 82 attendees per program. Topics have included Missouri’s Ozark dinosaurs, forensics at the St. Louis County Crime Lab, and 3D printing in medicine.
Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) is a weekly STEM workshop series for teenage girls offered at five of our library system’s locations during the month of June. Participants get to meet influential women in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, learn about STEM opportunities and get hands-on experience with STEM technologies.
Each two-hour session consists of a presentation from a female professional in a STEM field, followed by a one-hour activity that explores and builds STEM skills among the participants.
Build a Better World with Magna-Tiles was one session of our STEAM and community engagement-focused summer reading program. This session used Magna-Tiles (clear plastic 2-D geometric shapes that are lined with magnets and can be combined to create 2- and 3-D designs) in a hands-on, student-led program.
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.
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 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.
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.
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).