Welcome Back!!! This evening when you take a seat at dinner with your family, please ask your Linda Nolen kiddo if they’ve made a visit to the library S.T.E.A.M lab. I bet (hopefully) they will begin talking your ear off because this lab is SO MUCH FUN!
Because times are a changin’, school librarians have a challenge to find their role with this tech. savvy bunch of digital natives we teach each day. Is it sufficient for us to just help kids find books and write reports? That’s part of our job but only a VERY small part. In the age of concepts like the Web 2.0, citizen journalists, and digital natives, it isn’t enough for our kids to be able to find information. Now, we want our kids to learn how to ethically and effectively create information for others to use. This is where my new baby, our school S.T.E.A.M Lab, becomes so important.
A S.T.E.A.M lab is simply a type of Makerspace and a Makerspace is no more than a place where kids can go to create “stuff.” By creating a S.T.E.A.M. lab, I’ve chosen to focus our direction toward making things related to science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Each week, I issue the kids a maker challenge and sit back and watch what they can do.
This week, I’ve thrown down some tough stuff! The kids have been asked to make a structure with straws, tape, yarn, and a cup. These are the only items the kids are allowed to use. They are sitting at a table and their feet are on the floor so they can use those items as well. The challenge is to make a structure that can suspend 100 pennies off the ground for at least 20 seconds. I’m proud to say that so far, we’ve had lots of successfully built structures. But more importantly, it has been a privilege to watch the amazing team work and ingenuity that has gone into this challenge. The kids are thinking of ways to tackle this challenge that haven’t crossed my mind and that’s just great!