School's Out! Pick Up Some STEAM!

School's out, and all the kids are down at the library looking for fun and creative things to do. Now that they can hang out and spend time at the library, we need to think of interesting and interactive activities that will engage them.

I recently attended a STEAM Colloquium hosted by the Contra Costa County Office of Education, a leader in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics education for the school districts in the region. Their goal for this conference was to develop opportunities, provide resources and foster communication among professionals to stay abreast of topics in a rapidly emerging technological world.

This conference was different for me because the majority of attendees were educators from the San Francisco Bay area. It was nice to catch a glimpse of how teachers put together STEAM lessons and to find out how they engage their students with activities. It was helpful for me to learn more about how to offer inspirational and challenging STEAM programs at my library, including integrated curriculum, extra-curricular activities and real-world applications.

Hair dryer melting crayons on paper

Since attending the conference, I have put an increased focus on creating STEAM experiences for my young adult patrons. Not only do these hands-on activities spark the interest of tweens and teens, but they also supply new knowledge they can utilize. Learning about STEAM is an increasingly important element for young people today. 

An important component of the programs is to have attendees participate in a variety of experiments and activities in the library. The key is to engage young minds beyond mere facts. 

July seems like a perfect time to put together fun STEAM activities for tweens and teens. Here are some that we have planned at my library this month:

Child with solar oven making s'mores

Crayon Meltdown: This colorful heated meltdown will help tweens explore their artistic side.

Solar Oven: Build a solar oven to make delicious s’mores.

DIY Solar Lamp: Simple and seductively clever, they say.

Storm in a cup

Storm in a Cup: Teehee. It's a teacup, it's a storm, watch it go!

MaKey MaKey: An invention kit for everyone.

Math Pizza Party: Pizza, math, fractions and fun!

Tune in next month for more programming thoughts and ideas for tweens and teens in the library!