County libraries to participate in Maryland STEM Festival
— 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
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.
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.