Fully funded by a grant awarded by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, the Peninsula Public Library Explorers program for students in grades 3–6 brought STEAM to the library. The Explorers learned about simple machines and built catapults, and explored community building, science experiments, technology, and artistic expression. Here’s a round-up of each session:
Session 1: Catapult Into Success
Explorers learned about catapults, then built their own using popsicle sticks, rubber bands and spoons. Then they competed to determine which device could launch the marshmallows furthest. They also talked about the factors affecting each launch.
Session 2: Design Your Space
Using shoe boxes, poster board, and other basic craft materials, the Explorers built their own community. They had to figure out what basic services the community would need, how the area should be laid out, and how things could be done differently.
Session 3: Glow in the Dark Lava Lamp Sensory Bags
Explorers learned about chemical reactions and what unexpected things could happen when ordinary substances combine. What happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar? How do oil and water react when mixed? How does glow in the dark pain change what we see?
Session 4: Light It Up
The Explorers learned about light and basic electricity and how to make their own light using a few everyday objects.
Session 5: Expand Your Tastes
How do we decide what things taste like? With our mouths only? Explorers did some taste tests to help solve these mysteries, then celebrated with some homemade ice cream.
Session 6: See Your Self Differently
Starting with their own photos, Explorers used different mediums to make a work of art. Inspired by the unique artistry of Ezra Jack Keats, the Explorers changed the way they look at themselves.
–Irene Madden, Peninsula Public Library