STEAM-pow­ered learn­ing at the li­brary

Lethbridge Herald - - GREAT READS | SATURDAY BOOKS - Emily Kun­drik LETH­BRIDGE PUB­LIC LI­BRARY

Nowa­days, chil­dren are grow­ing up in a rapidly chang­ing world, and one of the best ways to pre­pare them for the con­stantly chang­ing land­scape is to teach them how to in­no­vate, to ex­per­i­ment, to cre­ate and to ques­tion. A great way to help kids gain es­sen­tial life skills is through Leth­bridge Pub­lic Li­brary’s STEAM re­sources, ac­tiv­i­ties and events.

What is STEAM? It stands for sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, arts and math. An­other closely re­lated acro­nym is STEM, which doesn’t in­clude the arts com­po­nent. These are sub­jects that per­me­ate ev­ery part of our daily lives, and STEAM pro­gram­ming brings them to­gether, demon­strat­ing the ways they in­ter­con­nect.

Best of all, STEAM doesn’t need to be com­pli­cated. There are so many fun and easy STEAM ac­tiv­i­ties that you can do with the sup­plies you al­ready have in your own home. You can check on­line for ac­tiv­i­ties such as Pa­per Plate Mar­ble Mazes, Cof­fee Fil­ter Parachutes, and Pa­per Con­stel­la­tion Tubes. If you want some­thing a bit more com­pli­cated, make a card­board ro­botic arm or a DIY zoetrope.

The Leth­bridge Pub­lic Li­brary has plenty of re­sources to get you started as well. For younger kids, try out the Sci­ence Magic Dig­i­tal Play Pack or one of our STEAM Fam­ily Lit­er­acy Kits. For older chil­dren, check out books in­clud­ing “Maker Lab” or “Maker Lab Out­doors” by Jack Chal­loner, the “STEM Quest” se­ries, or any of the “Amaz­ing Mak­erspace” ti­tles.

We also host STEAM Lab for chil­dren in Grades 1–5. In this pro­gram, kids take part in STEAM ac­tiv­i­ties based on a wide va­ri­ety of themes, such as star sci­ence, ge­ol­ogy, mu­sic and an­i­ma­tion. Reg­is­tra­tion for the next ses­sion of our STEAM Lab will open Feb. 4. In ad­di­tion, we run var­i­ous events through­out the year based on dif­fer­ent STEAM themes. Join us Feb. 23 when you’ll have the chance to try one of our most pop­u­lar STEAM ac­tiv­i­ties: mak­ing slime at Slime-a-Palooza!

We all live in a chang­ing world, and it’s im­por­tant to start teach­ing crit­i­cal-think­ing skills as early as pos­si­ble. STEAM pro­vides a solid base of knowl­edge in a wide range of sub­jects by en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren to ask ques­tions and then hav­ing them ex­per­i­ment to find the an­swers they’re look­ing for.

So what are you wait­ing for? Let the STEAMpow­ered learn­ing be­gin!

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