Library Bonanza

Because a library party just wasn't good enough

Curious Kitties Launches – STEAM at Play

on February 15, 2013

It has been more than 6 months since I started my splendiferous job at Fremont Public Library. Now that I have all the basics down (including collection management, working the desk, and storytimes), I want to set my sights higher and offer more programs. In addition to storytimes, I intend to provide more popular character programs (like Dr. Seuss, Thomas the Tank Engine, Ninjago, etc.), Hands-On crafts for one- and two-year-olds, and STEAM programming for preschoolers.

STEAM is a very exciting format and guide for developing thought-provoking programs. I was inspired to include a regular STEAM program by the lovely Amy over at The Show Me Librarian. The acronym stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. This concept began with STEM (excluded the “arts” aspect) and has been most commonly pushed in the school setting. Francis Eberle, the executive director for the National Science Teachers Association, describes a successful STEM education as providing “students with science, math, engineering and technology in sequences that build upon each other and can be used in every day situations” (Adamowski, “STEM @ Your Library“). While I may not be able to build upon each program from the last due to large gaps in time (I intend to start with bi-monthly programs), I can still create wicked programs.

Enter the ‘A’ in STEAM. There is a growing push to add “arts” to this educational agenda because arts and science go hand-in-hand. Arts oftentimes spurs the ingenuity of science, connecting creativity with innovation. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space, explains that science, math, and arts are not at odds but that they “are avatars of human creativity” (Pomeroy, “From STEM to STEAM”). For preschoolers, art is a form of expression they are familiar with and are drawn towards. Providing answers to their world through science and math, and expressing that curiosity through arts and crafts, is a natural connection that gets their hands connected with their brains.

Curious Kitties is for ages 2-5, with older or younger siblings. The wide age range allows two siblings to engage equally in the program which is a nice change from our smaller age ranges (Preschool Stories is ages 3-5, Toddler Time is for twos). The first half of the program is formatted like a storytime, and the second half is hands-on activities. During the storytime, parents sit on the floor near their children and are encouraged to engage in the activities. For preschoolers, this program is equally as important. Our first class was on all types of weather. Let’s see what we did!

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Opening Song: Shake Your Sillies Out

Note to Parents: Importance of scientific observation & the scientific method—question, predict, experiment, observe, conclusion

Intro to seasons book: What Makes the Seasons? by Megan Montague Cash

Flannel: What Will Teddy Wear? Patterns found at Measured in Moments

This would work better with flannel material because you are dressing the bear, but I printed the pattern out and made it with magnets. No magnets on Teddy – he was taped.

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It’s hot, hot, hot in the sun, sun, sun.
What should teddy wear to play in the sun?
It’s cold, cold, cold in the snow, snow, snow.
What should Teddy wear to play in the snow?
It’s wet, wet, wet in the rain, rain, rain.
What should Teddy wear to play in the Rain?
It’s chilly,chilly, chilly in the wind, wind, wind.
What should teddy wear to play in the fall leaves?

Stretcher: Act out the weather – rain, sun, wind, rainbow, tornado, snow

Book: If It’s Really Cold…And Other Weather Predictions by B. A. Hoena

Transition: The Wiggle Song (Tune: For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow)

My thumbs are starting to wiggle,

My thumbs are starting to wiggle,

My thumbs are starting to wiggle,

Around, and around, and around.

…Hands, Arms, Toes, Legs, Head…

All of me is starting to wiggle,

All of me is starting to wiggle,

All of me is starting to wiggle,

And now I need to rest.

Book: Like a Windy Day by Frank Asch

Fingerplay: Water Cycle Song

Book transformed into Flannel: This is the Rain by Lola Schaefer

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This is the ocean, blue and vast

That holds the rainwater from the past.

This is the sunshine, hot and bright,

That warms the ocean, blue and vast,

That holds the rainwater from the past.

These are the clouds, low and gray,

Full of vapor, moist and light,

Made when sunshine, hot and bright,

Warms the ocean, blue and vast,

That holds the rainwater from the past.

This is the rain, falling all day,

That forms in clouds, low and gray,

Full of vapor, moist and light,

Made when sunshine, hot and bright,

Warms the ocean, blue and vast,

That holds the rainwater from the past.

This is the land, dry, porous ground,

That absorbs the rain, falling all day,

That forms in clouds, low and gray,

Full of vapor, moist and light,

Made when sunshine, hot and bright,

Warms the ocean, blue and vast,

That holds the rainwater from the past.

This is the water, seeking low ground,

That runs into ditches

That pours into creeks

That drain into rivers,

That flow to the sea.

This is the sunshine, hot and bright,

That makes the vapor, moist and light,

That fills the clouds, low and gray,

That bring rain somewhere every day.

—————

Activities

Station 1 – Clouds with Shaving Cream: A mesmerizing look at how rain drops need to gather and condense in a cloud before it finally breaks through the cloud and rains. Simple materials with shaving cream, food dye, water, and a clear cup.

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Station 2 – Can the Wind Move It? (with chart): Predict which objects you can move before starting then test your predictions. Why can you blow them? Why not? Perhaps their mass is heavier than the strength of your gusty blow. Maybe their round and provide less resistance to movement.

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Station 3 – Seasons Trees: Trees change every season, so why not reflect that in an arts activity. The children had four empty trees. With their coloring dots, they filled in the trees to how they look during each season.

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A fun time was had for both parents and children. The parents seemed particularly appreciative of the subject matter (and the irregular time offering at night and Friday morning) and were really engaged with their children–with slight nudges of encouragement from the librarian, of course.

Reading: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Listening: Neon Bible by Arcade Fire
Watching: The Wonder Years


3 responses to “Curious Kitties Launches – STEAM at Play

  1. [...] happy kids and grateful parents. I gave a brief description of STEAM in my last article about my STEAM program on weather so I will jump right in to my second program on animal [...]

  2. […] In the past I have done programs that are more science-focused than math. I’ve done my body, weather, and animal adaptations. Math is definitely used in these programs as it is applied to science by […]

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