Compiled by Roxanne Spencer (Associate Professor and Coordinator, Beulah Winchel Education Library, Western Kentucky University Libraries)
Column Editor: Jack G. Montgomery (Professor, Acquisitions and Collection Services Librarian, Western Kentucky University Libraries)
STEM and STEAM are, well, still going full-steam ahead (sorry!)! If your batteries are running a bit low on makerspace ideas, get your engines revved up again by following some of the examples, lesson plans, and templates here. These resources are from a variety of websites, commercial and noncommercial, to consider for programming ideas for engaging children and teens in school and public libraries, and to encourage future teachers and school librarians (Note: Mention of commercial websites does not constitute an endorsement of the vendor’s products by the author or by this publication. Included for informational purposes only.).
Steam-Powered Family — https://www.steampoweredfamily.com/stem-activities/ — “Ultimate Guide to STEM Activities – with over 100 Activity Ideas!” This mom-blog is by a homeschooler with a background in animal sciences, computer programming, and psychology. She researches childhood trauma and mental health, offers definitions and resources for families and educators to begin or expand their STEM and STEAM activities.
DEMCO — https://ideas.demco.com/blog/8-inexpensive-stem-ideas-pokemon-go-library/ — the well-known library supplier offers plenty of ideas through their blog, activity guides, webinars, and idea gallery, as well as their products for school, public, and other types of libraries. In this short piece, find information on Pokémon GO and affordable STEM ideas for library programming.
We Are Teachers — https://www.weareteachers.com/stem-books-classroom-library/ — provides a variety of information and products on the teaching life. School and public libraries also will benefit from free printables and ideas for programming. This particular link includes 50 STEM books to consider for your library collection, including titles on coding, environmental titles, math concepts, and historical figures who changed the world.
STAR*net — https://www.starnetlibraries.org/stem-in-libraries/what-is-stem/ — Science-Technology-Activities & Resources for Libraries – offers extensive ideas and links to reliable sources for bringing STEM into the library. Among the information provided are links to a National Research Council Report, “Identifying and Supporting Productive STEM Programs in Out-of-School Settings”; the 2019 National Science Foundation’s “STEM for All Video Showcase”; as well as posters, presentations, and projects for libraries on STEM topics.
Microsoft Education Educators STEM Lessons — https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/education-workshop/default.aspx — presents “Hacking STEM Lessons & Hands-On Activities, with free lesson plans on a variety of topics from communication to models to space. Classroom kits are also available, which inspires public librarians to collaborate with teachers and support local school curricula. An Activity Library offers more lessons that can be adapted to other than classroom settings.
Knowledge Quest STEM and STEAM Blog — https://knowledgequest.aasl.org/category/blogs/stem/ — includes school librarians’ experiences and recommendations for incorporating STEM and STEAM in school libraries, which can also be adapted for public library children’s and young adult makerspace and similar programming: 3-D printing, augmented reality, makerspace kits, monthly STEAM challenges and more can liven up children’s programming and offer suggestions for future educators and librarians.
Makerspaces.com — https://www.makerspaces.com/makerspace-guide-school-and-library/ — “Ultimate Makerspace Resource Guide” is a powerhouse of “101+ Makerspace Resources for Schools and Libraries.” From describing, defining, showing and telling to benefits of makerspaces, beginner guides, information for special education environments, materials and supplies, tools, and equipment, projects, furniture, storage, and more—librarians will revel in the hands-on world of makerspaces and will find just about anything they need to start, modify, or expand their program offerings.
PBS Kids: Design Squad Global — https://pbskids.org/designsquad/ — The hands-on activities and videos from this site can be used in any educational setting to engage children and teens in STEM and STEAM projects. Lesson plans, activity guides, training, and more are available to encourage exploring, designing, and making, vetted by one of the foremost educational networks in the world.
SWNFLN: Southwest Florida Library Network — https://swfln.org/steam/ — Get ready for hour-long continuing education library tutorials (geared, obviously, for Florida libraries, but worth the time to explore) on STEAM topics ranging from low-budget maker programs to music on the cheap to video games to virtual reality, and more! Professionals present excellent ideas that can be adapted to any library setting. Webinar tutorials including American Sign Language translators.
Hour of Code — https://hourofcode.com/us — Hour of Code takes place annually during Computer Science Education Week, but Hour of Code can be hosted any time of the year. Begun as a one-hour introduction to computer science, it has since grown to explore computer science in a variety of ways in communities around the world. See the tutorials, how-to guides, and activities available. This is a grassroots effort that is supported by hundreds of partners and more than 200,000 educators around the world.
S&S Worldwide — https://www.ssww.com/stem/?src=side2 — is an online family business, selling educational materials. However, they have an extensive list of blog posts related to STEM activities, including holiday crafts, invention convention ideas, DIY projects, as well as promoting their classroom supplies. Creative youth librarians can adapt the ideas and activities to school or public library programming.
Girlstart — https://girlstart.org/ — STEM curriculum and resources for all educators, as well as resources to promote girls’ advancement in STEM learning. Programs of interest to librarians for partnerships include Girlstart After School, Community STEM Education, and STEM Extravaganza. Geared primarily for schools, the programs and ideas can be inspiring to enterprising school and public librarians looking for opportunities to collaborate.
STEM Activities for Kids — https://stemactivitiesforkids.com/ — Articles, descriptions and instructions, blog, STEM challenges.