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We offer children’s Creative STEM programming in libraries, ranging from small intimate workshops to larger community events.
Workshops are for small groups (ranging from 15-30), geared for children aged 5-12. These 45-minute to 1-hour workshops feature our hands-on STEM and Art activities, as well as a dynamic and creative learning environment. Classes usually include a 5-10 minute discussion, student movement, introduction to a STEM and 21st Century Skills concept, indoor or outdoor exploration, and a choice of 1-2 hands-on activities.
All of iSchool’s lessons feature our unique STEAM SEL (science, technology, engineering, arts, math, and social and emotional life skills) approach. Workshops take advantage of the time of year and library resources to connect children to their library and its local environment, often with a place-based theme, such as biodiversity on library grounds, water quality of library water sources, or the physical attributes and angles of the library room. As iSchool’s signature approach, each workshop will also include integration of at least one social and emotional life skill (SEL). At the end of each workshop, students will have learned a scientific skill, improved at least one SEL skill, and gained a better appreciation of the library’s resources and environment.
iSchool also creates “Do More” sheets for parents and library staff to use to encourage further exploration of the relevant science theme. These sheets will include ideas for utilizing library resources physically present in the building – including books, digital resources, pictures, and the physical landscape – in science.
Recent workshop offerings
- Water Water Everywhere! – Children play with water and examine how its density changes with temperature and the addition of solvents. Food coloring leads to natural art activities.
- Chemical reactions – Children love the classic acid-base reactions, which we offer with a twist. Children use their bodies to model chemistry, blow up balloons without using their mouths, and make colorful explosions.
- Biodiversity on the library grounds – This class takes advantage of the library’s landscaping and natural outdoor environment to learn about biodiversity and discover hidden creatures in plain view.
- Trees, Please – Students examine trees at the library (either by going outside or by looking at them through a window; its especially popular during the winter holiday season when trees are inside the building). They measure them to calculate their amount of carbon storage, use computers and online tools to estimate the value of a tree, and learn basics of climate change.
- Geometry and Sturdy Buildings – Children discuss shapes and explore the library room to identify prevalent shapes and understand why some are used more frequently than others. Then, in this very popular activity, children use raw spaghetti and marshmallows to test the structural integrity of squares versus triangles. Then, it’s challenge time, as children are encouraged to use spaghetti, marshmallows, and their newfound knowledge to build a tower or bridge.
- Fibonacci and Fractals – This popular wintertime activity combines biology with math. Students examine tree branches and plants for signs of the Fibonacci sequence and to identify repeating fractal patterns. Then, they can choose to paint a pine cone to illustrate Fibonacci, or cut out a fractal snowflake in the famous Koch Pattern.
- Wind Tunnel and Forces of Flight – We bring in our vertical wind tunnel and children build a structure that will hover inside.
- Marble Roller Coasters – In this very active class, children use paper plates and foam pipe pieces to build elaborate roller coasters that direct a marble to a designated spot.
Our list of Workshops is always growing. Many of our Family Science Night activities can be modified to be a 45-minute workshop. Pricing is competitive and depends on the size of the class (1 instructor per 15 students). Contact us to get started! Take a look at our Great Falls Library Workshops.
We have also offered a session of consecutive weekly classes at a local library. In these in-depth programs, children work towards an end learning goal and work on individual projects, culminating in presentations to library staff and their parents. Read about the program in a local paper.Watch a slideshow from the class.
Larger Community Events
Our Family Science Nights Series is easily modifiable for use in libraries with larger crowds. At these events, stations will allow visitors to rotate to sample different activities. Every station includes a hands-on component. Pricing is dependent on the number and type of stations and on staffing needs. Please contact us to get started. Read about our Great Falls Library Mini Maker Fair with a Science Flare. Community events often feature new technologies, such as 3D printers or drones.