What does “steam” have to do with the library? STEAM is an acronym commonly used in education circles for “science, technology, engineering, art and math.” The focus of the STEAM education movement is to help prepare students for careers in science and engineering fields by teaching them to innovate, create and problem solve. Consequently, library programming throughout Fontana Regional Library has expanded to include, not only literacy skills, but also STEAM related topics.
Several of our libraries conduct a science club for elementary school age kids, where students can do hands-on experiments to learn about topics such as surface tension, gravity, and electricity. Also, at every storytime, children create art projects or do a small experiment, in addition to focusing on early literacy skills during the storytime. Finally, most of our libraries offer a Lego Club, during which children can practice their engineering and math skills to create Lego masterpieces of their own design, which are then displayed in the children’s section of the library.
Even babies and toddlers are included in the STEAM movement! But how do you get a squirmy toddler to sit still for a story and how do you teach a baby math? Using music, movement, rhyming and singing, as we do during our Toddlers Rock, Rock and Read, Baby Storytime and Sing and Sign Storytime.
As part of library STEAM programming, the Macon County Public Library will present “Get on the Path to Math” on Thursday, April 21st in the youth services area of the library. “Get on the Path to Math” is an official event of the 2016 North Carolina Science Festival presented by the Biogen Foundation. “Get on the Path to Math” will be an all-day event designed to get children (and parents) excited about math. We will have a math-themed storytime for children from 0-5 years old at 10 AM that will focus on counting, shapes, patterns and other beginning math skills. At 1 PM, we will have a hands-on math program for homeschool children. At 6:30 PM, we will have “Bedtime Math Party Time" with hands-on math activities. Finally, we will have independent math activities available all day. The events are free and registration is not required.
As an official 2016 North Carolina Science Festival event, the Macon County Public Library is among hundreds of community-based events that are showcasing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities for the citizens of North Carolina. Founded in 2010, the North Carolina Science Festival is the first statewide science festival in the United States. Through a two-week series of community-based events each spring (hosted by schools, colleges, libraries, museums, parks, businesses and other local organizations), the Festival celebrates the economic, educational and cultural impact of science in North Carolina.
Even if children can’t make it to library programming, the library still offers plenty of “STEAM” activities. Children can play with puzzles, Legos, and educational computer games in the children’s area at any time. And, of course, last but not least, we have many, many books that will excite children to learn more and as an added bonus, many of the books include simple experiments for children to experience hands-on learning.