STEAM, or STEM as it is better known, is an acronym for “Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math.” Recently Art has been added, but not in the way you may think. The concept of STEAM is to teach in a way that allows students to learn by combining all the disciplines together. This is key to the STEAM principle and the huge success of the program. The art part of this philosophy is not an artsy-crafty, stand-alone project, but it covers the design and building aspect of the concept. This approach helps students learn hands-on to build and design concepts they may otherwise have great difficulty learning from a book or lecture.

In the Children’s Services Department, we have several resources for STEAM ideas and help. One of the best hands-on resources we have is our STEAMbox kits. STEAMboxes are a great way to bring school topics to life and give students another level to their learning. They are listed in the catalog as “STEAMBOX.” We currently have 50 STEAMboxes for both children and young adults. Even adults will find many of these kits fun and interesting. As you can see from this video, I had a lot of fun with this kit.

All of the STEAMboxes are now located together in the Children’s Services Department near the magazines. Just stop by the desk, and a staff member can show you to the area. Boxes can be checked out for three weeks with two renewals if there are no active holds.

Looking through our collection of books and DVDs, I found several interesting and fun items. Many new books have been added to our collection, so it was not difficult to find up-to-date information. These are a few of the standout books.

The Dad Lab by Sergei Urban

J 507.8 SCIFAIR ALL URB

This book is authored by a dad of two young boys. But as his intro states, I don’t think that the projects are only for boys. Or only for kids, for that matter. All of the projects in this book have been done by the author and his boys, so they are well thought out. Each project has a list of what you will need, what you will learn and how long it should take. There are different things to read about the topic, and each has ways to add to the project, making it more challenging for older kids, extending their learning. The organization of the projects is different from others. Some topics are Kitchen, Curious, Messy and Colorful.

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Mason Jar Science by Jonathan Adolph

J 507.8 SCIFAIR ALL ADO

This is a colorful, fun book with experiments that fall under topics such as Chemistry, Earth Science, & Physics. Many of the experiments will take quite some time to complete (sometimes days) and may not hold the attention of a younger child. You could always try to do two different projects at the same time, one that takes longer and one that has a quick resolution. This book also includes a glossary, metric conversion chart and an explanation of the scientific method. 

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STEAM Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke

J 507.8 HEI

Liz Lee Heinecke is the author of Kitchen Science Lab for Kids. While this book does not follow the STEAM format (a chapter for each letter in the word STEAM), it still has fun and fairly simple projects to do. From bridge design to a wind turbine to a balloon rocket, there will be something for all age groups. Even the adults! Directions are clear, and there are pictures that help with the creation of projects. Included in the back is a list of resources, an index and a list of other books available.

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STEM Lab: 25 Super Cool Projects by Jack Challoner

J 507.8 CHA

This book will cover things like forces & motion, liquids & reactions, shapes & structures and light & sound. The projects in this book can be made using household items. Beautiful full color and sometimes full-page photos help explain all the science and technology behind every project. At the end of each project, there are explanations on how or why, with real-world examples. There is a simple glossary in the back, along with an index. There is a foreword from the author that is worth reading and short explanations at the beginning of each chapter for the subject covered.

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STEAM DVDs

There are a few DVDs that would be good for young children. My favorites are by Nickelodeon and feature favorite children’s characters like PAW Patrol & Dora. Each video is about 20 minutes long. The first DVD in the series has six topics, and the second one has seven.

Physical items are not the only resources we have. From home, you can access our eResources directly from the library’s website. From any page on our site, hover over the “Learning & Tech” tab, click eResources. Check “Children” for age group, and select “Education & Homework Help.” This will open a list of our eResources in that category. These are the eResources (databases) that I recommend starting from:

  • Science Reference Center: Access reliable information on life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, technology and more. Ideal for middle school and high school students. Teachers and parents may also access lesson plans, worksheets and curriculum standards. Search by topic.
  • Scholastic Go!: Explore credible, accurate and reliable research content via nonfiction texts, world newspapers, videos and more on almost every core-curricula subject from elementary through high school. Use the search bar to start your search.
  • ScienceFlix: videos help you discover earth science, space, health and the human body, engineering and more. Topics are ideal for students in grades 4–9. Also experiments!
  • TrueFlix: Find excellent science and social studies videos, eBooks, games, quizzes, project ideas and more, perfect for elementary school students. Teachers can find lesson plans and great content for Whiteboards. They also have a science and nature section.
  • TumbleMath: Access the most comprehensive collection of math stories available anywhere, all in the world-famous TumbleBook format, which combines animation, narration and sound to create a compelling and enticing story for students of all ages.

If you ever need help with these eResources or any other resources, please call or come in, and one of our staff members will be happy to walk you through the process and get you the help you need.