“I Survived” Challenge

This program was presented by Jaclyn Kunz from Henry Waldinger Memorial Library (Valley Stream) as part of the program Book Themed Programs: From Baby Time to Harry Potter.  You can contact her by email, jmkunz@gmail.com.

This program included activities based on the “I survived” book series by Lauren Tarshis. During her presentation, Jaclyn stressed that you do not need to read all of the books to create the challenges.  Each challenge is based on the topic of the books in the series, not about particular content in each book.  All of the activities are geared for grades 3 to 6 and the program runs fora  little over an hour.  The group should be split into teams so that there is a bit of friendly competition.  You can download a PDF version of her power point presentation with all of the activities.

Some Tips:

Jaclyn recommends having a helper so that the children can work on multiple activities at once.  In her library, she was able to send one group of children to do a Shark Scavenger hunt while the other group worked on the “Emergency Survival Kit” challenge.  This also works well for libraries without a large meeting space.

Jaclyn also provided fact cards for the children to read when not actively engaged in an activity.  She also had a “Tornado in a Bottle” demonstration with instructions on how to make one to take home.  Little Bits also have an earthquake “Quake-o-meter” that you can create using the vibration bit.


“A Bear’s Year” by Kathy Duval

This is a read aloud/craft program for ages 3 to 5 courtesy of Kirsten Cappy from Curious City DPW.  You can download the read aloud kit here: Bears_Years_Read_Aloud-Kit.pdf.

The kit comes with everything you need to run this program including printables and step-by-step instructions.  There are two options for the printable bear, already colored or black & white.  The set-up needed is that of a typical storytime with craft.  The program ran approximately 40 minutes but can be adjusted for less time if necessary.

What’s great about this program is you can add science and vocabulary elements by discussing the words in the book and the activities bear does in different seasons.

This program was presented by Rosemarie Birofka from Syosset Public Library as a part of the workshop Book Themed Programs: From Baby Time to Harry Potter..  For more information please contact Rosemarie through email: Rbirofka@syossetlibrary.org

Pokemon Go Links

Gathering links for all you need to know about Pokemon Go!169


Whodunnit at Glen Cove Library?

The Glen Cove Library held a STEAM-based program that had participants learning about solving crimes as well as analyzing fingerprints, codes, and measurements.

The participants were asked to discover who might have stolen a valuable statue from the library. Each participating child received a detective starter kit and viewed various suspect profiles at stations around the library. Teen Advisory Board volunteers (6th-12 graders), who earned service hours for the program, helped to plan it. They created video, evidence for various stations, and other items. The teens were also in charge of each station.

Three Stations:

  1. Fingerprint Station: Kids used stamp pads to take their own fingerprints, and learned to analyze and identify their fingerprints. They also had to identify the shape of the suspect’s fingerprint on statue.
  2. Message Decoding: Kids found a message found in art history book, implicating suspect, but had to first decode it. They learned about ciphers and used decoding markers.
  3. Footprint Conversion: Kids measured a footprint found at the scene of the crime and converted the measurement to show a possible height.

Once the kids were done at each of the stations, they were able to create a suspect profile and then discover who took the statue.

–Lauren Loechner, Glen Cove Public Library


Webinar: Science on a Shoestring

SpanglerSteve_headshot-150x199_16-0407edWeb.net, a professional social and learning network for early childhood educators, is offering a free webinar entitled “Amazing Science Experiences on a Shoestring Budget.”

The webinar will be lead by author Steve Spangler, who promises to show “the coolest science treasures at Walmart, Home Depot, and your local grocery store.”  This session is best suited for early childhood educators, Pre–K to 2nd grade.

Date & Time: Thursday, May 19, 12:00 noon.

Click here for more information and to register.

Sailboat Maker Buddies Program


The Syosset Public Library ran a Maker Buddies program with helpful teen volunteers. The volunteers teamed up with kids in grades 3-5 to assemble sailboats. These sailboats were created using plastic 3D printed pieces printed out using a 3D printer. Once the sailboats were assembled, the kids tested the sailboats to see if they floated.

The children learned about the center-of-gravity, angle of incidence and resulting forces on the sail, how to steer a sailboat to go opposite the way the wind is blowing, and the iterative design process for improving performance.

The most exciting part of the program was near the end. The kids made adjustments and modifications to the original designs. They added sails, combining multiple kits, changing the lengths of the straws and adding platforms.


  • 3D printed parts: sail spars, forward frame, aft frame, centerboard, rudder and tiller.
  • 4 colorful soda straws.
  • colorful cellophane food packaging
  • plastic shoebox and water


  1. Print the set of sailboat parts (designed to fit on the small Printerbot Simple bed
  2. Cut 4 equal straw pieces (3 inches long) for pontoons
  3. Cut a 1 inch straw for centerboard support
  4. Cut a 3 inch straw for mast
  5. Cut triangle sail from cellophane and tape to printed spars
  6. Assemble sailboat

Once assembled

  1. Fill plastic box half full of water.
  2. Float in water and adjust tiller and sail for broad reach.
  3. Gently blow on sail through a straw.
  4. Each boat in the regatta has a shoebox and the sailors provide their own wind at the starting signal.
  5. Winner is the first boat to go the length of the box without touching the side.
  6. Winner of the tournament (regatta) gets to keep the winning boat (which is replaced in the fleet by the one printing during the competition.)


Lessons include

  • center-of-gravity
  • angle of incidence and resulting forces on the sail,
  • how to steer a sailboat to go other than the way the wind is blowing,
  • the iterative design process for improving performance instructions


–Pam Strudler, Syosset Public Library

STEAM Programming: AMESS

At the Peninsula Public Library, we encourage children to make a mess! Our young patrons in 1st-6th grades enjoyed an interactive — hands on/imagination on — three-session program involving art and mathematics, engineering, and science through non-fiction stories. The program is called AMESS: Art and the Marvelous Exploration of Science through Stories. Each one-hour session begins with the reading of a non-fiction book or online book on a topic. Here’s an example of a three-week program.

Week 1: Snowflake Exploration

SnowflakeExWe used a smartboard to show the online Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. After the reading, we talked about snow crystals and how they form. We mixed Epsom salts and water (1 part salts to 2 parts hot water in a cup) to make “ice-crystal paint.” The kids used this paint to make designs on black construction paper. As the paint dries, the crystals form. The kids viewed crystals in the book for ideas on how to create their own. We also looked up paper snowflakes and made them as well.

Week 2: Marshmallow Challenge

MarshmallowThis fun design/build exercise teaches some simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation, hidden assumptions, and creativity that are central to the engineering process.

Children listened to the book Building by Elisha Cooper; other construction/design books were on display. Children were given white paper and pencils to design their own tall buildings. After sharing their designs, the children were separated into groups of 4 to 6 to plan their building strategies. The instructions and rules for the Marshmallow Challenge were given out.

Week 3: Oobleck Experiment

We read Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss, then made oobleck! The recipe follows:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1.5-2 cups corn starch
  • a few drops of food coloring

Mix together in a bowl. Point out how it is first a liquid, then hardens when pressure is applied.

–Ilene Madden, Peninsula Public Library