"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.

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