What is STEM?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The National Science Foundation says, “In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy.
To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.”
Because, Science is everywhere in the world around us! It’s in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat.
Because, Technology keeps growing and has become a part of our daily life. What did we do before computers, before smart-phones?
Because, Engineering is not just the building of roads and bridges! It helps us solve the problems of our changing environment.
Because, Mathematics is a part of every activity we do at home and at work. You can’t bake a cake without math!
Children are natural-born scientists, engineers, and problem-solvers. They learn by touching, tasting, building, dismantling, creating, discovering, and exploring.
By the time students reach fourth grade, however, one third have lost interest in science. By eighth grade, almost 50 percent have lost interest! Why do so many tune out? Do they lack the confidence to believe they can do science, can do math, can solve engineering problems – or work with technology? Maybe we need a new approach.
Here at Chesapeake Public Library, we not only want to want to expose students to literature and the arts, but also STEM. We want them to know that they can understand and use technology. We want to show them that when they build, they are engineers. We want to make math fun!
We provide hands-on experiences with our curriculum, which presents the ideas and then gives students the opportunity to see how STEM-related concepts relate to real life. Hopefully, these kids will find something that excites them and drives them to pursue more information. We don’t encourage homework, we encourage “life” work, setting the foundation for a lifetime of following the things that interest them.
Some of the STEM subjects and activities offered are:
Astronomy (building a pinhole projector)
Engineering (Knex, straw builders, Squig, bristle builders, Cardboard, Jenga)
Science: Magnetism (magnatiles, Magformers, Magnets)
Gravity (Marbles, Balls, roller ramps, maze racers)
Math (dominoes, tantagrams & tessellations, geometry, flying Marshmallows, Zip lines, Bouncy Dice Explosions)
Art (cotton batik,mandala’s, paper weaving, watercolor, silhouettes)
Little girls are more than sugar and spice.
These classes were skillfully taught by our librarians with the enthusiastic assistance of interns from Grassfield High School’s STEM program.
Library STEM programing runs year-long. Check out what’s happening this fall at: http://www.infopeake.org