Leo Lionni STEM Story Time

Here’s a story time plan that incorporates STEM and STEAM techniques.

Books: Inch by Inch and Little Blue and Little Yellow, by by Leo Lionni

  • Author studies encourage literacy by helping children bond with a particular author/illustrator. Have other books by the author displayed for children to check out afterward.
  • Use an iPad to show a picture of the author. Tell them that Leo Lionni loved art as a child, his first book was Little Blue and Yellow, he used torn paper from magazines to create the characters, and he was a grandfather when he wrote it.
  • Read 2 books by the author, then ask for the kids to vote for their favorite.

Little Blue and Little Yellow — a friendship story using abstract color artLittleBlue

  • STEM chemistry: Do an experiment with two water bottles. Fill the water bottles half way. Add yellow food coloring to the first and blue to the second. Mix the two bottles together to make green. Before mixing ask the kids to guess what will happen.
  • STEAM (adding art): At the end of the program, have kids tell their own stories through art, using blue and yellow paint circles or scraps of blue, yellow and green paper. You can easily model ideas on a flannel board.
  • STEM engineering: On the flannel board, have the kids build a bridge using different color squares and rectangles that little blue and little yellow can climb over.
  • STEAM (adding music and movement): Sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” replacing “happy” with “wearing red” or “wearing blue,” etc.
    If you’re wearing red and you know it, clap your hands…
    If you’re wearing blue and you know it, stomp your feet…

Inch by Inch — an inchworm that solves problems by measuringInchbyinch

  • STEM activities: Have kids measure various objects using their “inch worms.” Alternatively, have kids measure object on a flannel board. Use math vocabulary and ask, which is bigger, smaller, longer?
  • STEM science: Add worm facts from a nonfiction book.
  • STEM technology: Show inch worms in action on the iPad
  • STEAM: Sing “The Itsy Bitsy Worm” to “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” tune.

This story time is aimed at children 3 to 6 years old.

–Janine Breakstone, North Bellmore Public Library

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