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  • MidRivers STEAM Collection Is Ready for Viewing!

    Earlier this year we received a generous grant from MidRivers. This grant in combination with a grant from If/Then Next allowed us to create a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) library. Our collection is now complete and ready for viewing and you can be one of the first by joining us for Library Saturday on May 7th.  It will be available to check out on May 16th.

    You may have heard some of the children in your lives discuss this collection as I have been visiting the school and hosting computer classes at the county library. We played with gyroscopic robots (think those special round cars in the newer Jurassic Park movies) remote control cars, two robots that are programmed using color, a robot that looks like a stack of bowling balls, and two robots that can be easily programmed by preschoolers.

    We used the manipulatives that we purchased to make all kinds of creative structures that sometimes-defied gravity and sometimes collapsed spectacularly. Magnatiles, a marble run, blocks, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, Squidgies, Brainflakes, and these strange plastic building pieces that look like multicolored cockleburs allow us to build to our heart’s content.

    The Gravity Maze and Domino Maze allow us to problem solve. The three Kano devices give kids hands on experience in coding a computer game. The finished products allow you to battle Darth Vader (or Yoda if you are feeling particularly evil that day) make snow and ice with Elsa and create spells with Harry Potter. Mathcubes allow students to brush up on their math skills in a fun game, OSMOs teach students specific skills like math, spelling, or computer coding in conjunction with apps that have been preloaded on one of our IPADs.

    We purchased art supplies so that kids can be creative, kinetic sand that teaches both creativity and some principles of physics, and a Bloxel that lets you code your own video game with an app on one of our Kindle Fire tablets that were purchased with grant funds from MidRivers.

    Children with a passion for machinery will enjoy our SnapCircuits and LittleBits. These items allow kids to build small workable machines that are battery powered like fans, lights, speakers, and cars. We have a Raspberry Pi kit that (when Mary finds the courage to source and read an enormous book on the matter) will allow us to make our own rudimentary computer.

    We even have a kit featuring musical instruments and a kit that is all about dinosaurs. Both kits are perfect for the toddler or preschooler in your life.

    But that was not all that we purchased; we also got an exciting collection of books for readers of all ages.

    We have board books for babies and toddlers on astrophysics, quantum physics, math, and dinosaurs. Picture books on math, nature, computers, and astronomy are great for emerging readers. Computer savvy kids will love the books we have on how to write their own computer programs to create games, apps, and more. There are books for a variety of ages from young readers to teens and adults that show the average user how to program in several different computer languages. Are you tired of asking your child to fix your phone or your IPAD or tired of fixing your parent’s devices? We have books for you as well. All these titles are from the Visually series that use pictures of screens with bulleted instructions to make learning new technology easier. We even have books to encourage budding makers to explore the world through science experiments and a DVD of STEAM stories.

    All together the grants allowed us to purchase fifty manipulatives and one hundred books. We hope that these resources will encourage everyone to explore STEAM, learn things and make something new.

    I cannot wait to see you at McCone County Library.

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