8.17.2019

"at your library" in the north island eagle: did you know your library is steam-powered?

Your library is STEAM-powered.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. But STEAM is much more than those five subjects. It’s an approach to education and learning. STEAM is a way of looking at the world around us, discovering how things work, and working together to create.

STEAM activities use Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math to promote discovery. A STEAM program doesn’t ask you to memorize a list or a chart. STEAM learning happens by doing – tinkering, working with others, problem-solving, tapping into our own creativity.

Whether we realize it or not, STEAM learning is all around us. LEGO and other building kits are STEAM activities. There’s no step-by-step guide requiring us to join LEGO pieces in a certain way, no directions to follow. When we build with LEGO, we use our imaginations and creativity, and experiment to see what works.

STEAM learning is growing a plant inside a jar, using a telescope to see the night sky – then using the internet or a book to identify constellations, experimenting with food colouring and baking soda. Coding – learning how to program a little robot, or create a basic website – is an important STEAM activity, and much easier than you might think.

These days, many jobs are STEAM-based, so we want our children to develop these skills. But even if your children aren’t heading for a STEAM field, STEAM activities are still important. STEAM learning fosters curiosity, creativity, confidence, and the ability to work with others.

The Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) supports STEAM learning in several ways. Library programs such as Minecraft, Code-A-Pillars, Gears Gears Gears are classic STEAM activities. You can also take STEAM home! Search for “Tinker Totes” at virl.bc.ca, or ask at your library. VIRL Tinker Totes are complete kits to use at home, so you can experiment along with your kids.

Your library has hundreds of books to support STEAM learning, from crafts to coding to the limits of your imagination. E-resources like Lynda.com and Kanopy include a huge variety of STEAM learning, from coding to robotics to science experiments. And of course, these are all free with your library card.

If you know about a STEAM program you’d like to see at your library, let us know! We’ll try to make it happen.

3 comments:

Amy said...

Is STEAM the BC version (or maybe Canadian version) of STEM---or has STEAM generally replaced STEM? I like the addition of arts.

I had to stop when you described how children work with Legos. My experience with my grandsons (both of whom LOVE Legos) is that 90% of what they do is follow the directions. After a kit has been assembled, they generally keep it that way, although some are taken apart and the blocks used more freely. But even following the directions has great value---they have to learn to follow instructions and to visualize in three-dimensions what is depicted in two. It helps with eye-hand coordination. As you can tell, like my grandsons, I LOVE Legos!

laura k said...

STEAM has generally replaced STEM. Nobody really uses STEM anymore. Yay for including the arts!

Interesting LEGO experience! We don't have any instructions or directions with LEGO in the library, so that mode is not open to them. I like that because libraries are MAD for crafts, which are all about following instructions. Crafts definitely teaches other skills and has value, but I try to inject less structured, more creative modes when I can.

LEGO is AWESOME. Or as we must write in the library, LEGO(TM) is awesome.

Amy said...

This trademark law professor appreciates that you added a trademark symbol. :)

My older grandson uses Legos more freely now than he used to. They also build with classic wooden blocks and a lot of other building toys that are more free-form. Both love building and designing. Must be some of my dad's DNA.