County li­braries to par­tic­i­pate in Mary­land STEM Fes­ti­val

Cecil Whig - - JUMPSTART - By JES­SICA IANNETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— From de­vice dis­sec­tion and Thanksgiving-re­lated en­gi­neer­ing chal­lenges to toy sci­ence and hands-on pro­grams about the sun, county li­braries will of­fer some­thing for peo­ple of all ages and in­ter­ests dur­ing this year’s Mary­land STEM Fes­ti­val.

This is the se­cond year for the STEM fes­ti­val, which brings to­gether ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions from around the state to of­fer 10 days of pro­gram­ming geared around Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Math (STEM). The fes­ti­val starts Fri­day and runs through Nov. 13.

More than 450 events will be of­fered across the state and about 240 of those will be held at li­braries, in­clud­ing many at Ce­cil County Pub­lic Li­braries branches.

CCPL saw a great turnout when it par­tic­i­pated in STEM Fest last year and is ex­cited to be of­fer­ing a wide va­ri­ety of pro­grams again this year, said Rachel Wright, CCPL

CE­CIL COUNTY

youth ser­vices man­ager.

“We un­der­stand the im­por­tance of STEM in our lo­cal com­mu­nity,” she said. “We pro­vide STEM op­por­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren and teens as part of our reg­u­lar pro­gram­ming so this is a great fit.”

Many of the pro­grams CCPL plans to of­fer will re­volve around the “Un­der­stand­ing the Sun Through NASA Mis­sions” ex­hibit cur­rently on dis­play at the Per­ryville branch li­brary. Wright said she hopes fam­i­lies can view the ex­hibit and then at­tend one of the sun-themed pro­grams of­fered, which are geared to a va­ri­ety of ages.

The youngest kids can par­tic­i­pate in “Preschool Sci­ence: The Sun,” which of­fers hands-on sci­ence ex­per­i­ments while older kids can sign up for pro­grams that in­volv­ing mak­ing sun­di­als, so­lar pow­ered glow jars and per­sonal green­houses.

There will also be a NASA and the Sun live broad­cast at the Per­ryville li­brary on Wed­nes­day, where NASA ex­perts will broad­cast live to the li­brary to talk about NASA and the 2017 so­lar eclipse. An Or­bital ATK en­gi­neer will also give a talk on Nov. 12 about what it’s like to work for a com­pany that builds rockets and is plan­ning a mis­sion to the sun.

Out­side of the sun-re­lated pro­gram­ming, there will be two Mad Sci­ence of­fer­ings, one on toy sci­ence and one on movie ef­fects, Wright said. The Per­ryville li­brary will also of­fer a “De­vice Dis­sec­tion” pro­gram on Thurs­day for older stu­dents that Wright thinks will be a pop­u­lar draw.

“Hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to take things apart in a con­trolled and pur­pose­ful way is a cool thing for many kids,” she said.

For fam­i­lies, there will also be a Thanksgiving-re­lated en­gi­neer­ing chal­lenge of­fered at the Per­ryville branch on Wed­nes­day. Dur­ing this event, fam­i­lies will work in teams on a set of dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties such as cre­at­ing mini cat­a­pults that chuck candy corn pump­kins, Wright said.

“It’s kind of a scaled-down ver­sion of pump­kin chunkin,” she said. “It makes it fun and pro­motes prob­lem solv­ing along the way.”

Re­gard­less of which event they at­tend, Wright said she hopes par­tic­i­pants will walk away with a re­newed in­ter­est in sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy.

“A lot of the rea­son we do this is to get kids ex­cited about sci­ence and STEM,” she said.

Out­side of the county li­braries, Elk­ton High School will hold a STEM fes­ti­val event from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Wed­nes­day. Ses­sions will be held from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., 6:40 p.m. to 7:10 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. The event is open to all stu­dents in grades four through six in the county.

For a com­plete list of STEM fes­ti­val events both in and out­side the county, visit mary­land­stem­fes­ti­val. org.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF NASA

The sun erupts promi­nently in this Novem­ber 2012 photo taken by NASA’s SDO pro­gram. Many of the li­brary’s pro­grams for this year’s STEM week were in­spired by an ex­hibit at the Per­ryville li­brary about NASA and the sun.

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