February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Amy Koester’s Favorite STEAM Programs


Slime Science (appropriate for all ages). Making slime demonstrates chemical reactions as individual ingredients transform into something new when combined. Preschoolers love to poke it, school-age kids let it run through their hands, and teens enjoy making theirs glow in the dark. Simple slime involves mixing water, cornstarch, and liquid food coloring. Other recipes require two mixtures—white glue and water, plus water and borax. Liquid food coloring and glow-in-the-dark paint are optional additions.


Coder Camp (school-age and teens). This program series created by the Darien (CT) Library introduces kids to coding using the computer programming platform Scratch. After figuring out the basics of programming, participants begin creating games of their own.


Egg Drop (school-age and teens). Kids form teams to create an apparatus that will keep a raw egg safe when dropped from 30 feet. After discussing the forces acting on the egg to get it to break, participants use recyclables to make the apparatus to protect the egg. Creations are dropped, egg inside, from a basket crane.


Catapult Attack! (school-age and teens). After hearing the story of a famous battle in history—Troy, the Alamo—participants create catapults out of Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and bottle caps. They also use paper, scissors, tape, and markers to design the setting for their catapult battle. Once the setting is constructed, the battle takes place with pom-pom balls as ammo.


Measuring Mania (preschool). Get measuring tapes into the hands of preschoolers, whether it be as part of a measurement- or construction-themed storytime or as a stand-alone hands-on activity. Provide plenty of things to measure, from books to furniture to people. Preschoolers typically want to measure everything.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.