S.T.E.A.M. Lab Kickoff!

Students are once again participating in a weekly STEAM lab time. This is a thirty-minute slot of time each Friday where students come to the library to work on hands-on activities of their choosing that relate to science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

This year, I am excited to announce that we have a slot for our kiddos in the MD hall! This means that these students also have a weekly set time to come to the library and work on STEAM related activities.

Here’s some pictures from the first couple of weeks!


We’re Building Like Mr. Eiffel!!!


I recently learned about the life of a man named Gustave Eiffel.  He is most famous for his engineering of the Eiffel Tower.  However, he is also responsible for the inner structure of the Statue of Liberty.    This little factoid has become my inspiration for the library S.T.E.A.M. lab this week.




This week, my STAR hall friends are being challenged to use tooth picks and play-doh to build the tallest structure they can. ¬† To complete this challenge, they must first compare the structure of the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. ¬†They will notice a similar triangular pattern which they will use in the building of their own structure. ¬†I can’t wait to see how high the kids can build!


Airplanes are Everywhere This Week!




I am SO EXCITED about library this week because we’re all playing with airplanes!

My Friend Rabbit is the book I’m reading to¬†my preschool and MD hall friends. ¬†It’s about two buddies, mouse and rabbit, who manage to get their toy airplane stuck in a tree. ¬†Luckily for them, rabbit always has a plan so he enlists the help of some other buddies to try to get the plane down. ¬†While we read, my Linda Nolen friends and I will be creating our own tree and identifying common animals as we stack them up to get to our own paper airplane. ¬†Our craft this week is to make a paper airplane that the kids can take home.

This week, my S.T.E.A.M. lab friends are also making paper airplanes. ¬†I’m challenging my buddies to create airplanes that will travel the farthest distance. ¬†With the help of the kind internet, we will determine which planes travel the farthest. ¬†Do I need a fancy paper airplane or will a simple one work just as well? ¬†Using teamwork, the kids are going to build three different airplanes with different levels of detail. ¬†Then, we’re going to launch our planes and measure how far they will travel. ¬†Each group will have a data sheet where they get to graph the distance. ¬†When we’re done, we should be able to analyze our data to see which planes travel the longest distance.

P is for planes and perseverance. ¬†My STAR hall kiddos are listening to the story, Rosie Revere, Engineer.¬† This is an awesome story about a little girl named Rosie who likes to make gadgets. ¬†Unfortunately, one day, her favorite uncle teases her about an invention and Rosie is so embarrassed that she decides to give up building completely. ¬†Thankfully, Rosie’s ¬†favorite great aunt comes to visit and convinces her to build a helicopter. ¬†Rosie’s first attempt fails but with the help of her aunt, Rosie learns to persevere¬†in spite of obstacles. ¬†The STAR hall kiddos are also being introduced to online dictionaries as tools for defining unfamiliar words and each class is getting the chance to define the word¬†persevere.


Art with the Ancient Greeks

This week, our S.T.E.A.M lab¬†is an art related challenge that feeds off our challenge from the previous week. ¬†Last week, we discovered that circular columns hold the most weight. ¬†This week, we’re learning how the Ancient Greeks used this knowledge and combined it with common artistic elements to create three common column designs. ¬†They are called Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.

The kids have two challenges this week. First, they must attempt to draw an example of each of these types of columns.  Then, using our iPads, they have been challenged to find real life examples of these columns in ancient Greek as well as modern architecture.

I can’t wait to see how to kids do with their first art challenge!

How Strong is a Piece of Paper?




This week, our Linda Nolen Kiddos have been S.T.E.A.M. challenged to build the strongest column possible using only a single sheet of paper and some tape. ¬†We’ve had a great time building triangle, square, and circle shaped columns. ¬†The REALLY fun part has been placing paperback books on the tops of our work to see which shape holds the most weight. ¬†Hands down, the circular shape holds the most every time. ¬†Most of the time, it will even hold twice as much weight as the other shapes. ¬†Today, when you get a chance, ask your child which shape held the least amount of weight. ¬†They should be able to tell you the triangle makes a terrible column.

Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead!!!

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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!