STEAM Kids: 50+ Science / Technology / Engineering / Art / Math Hands-On Projects for Kids

Hey, I found a STEAM/STEM book I actually like! Or I guess it would be more apt to say I found a STEAM/STEM book that I think works for me at my library.

steam kids

Often times I see project books and they have one or two good projects and a lot of fluff. Maybe things are too easy, too hard, too dependant upon adults, etc. I feel like this was a really good mix of projects in different areas that, for the most part, weren’t too much like homework. I saw a lot of things I have done or considered doing. Some of the projects range from circuit bugs to catapults to rotational symmetry art.

I would bet most of these projects are on pinterest, but I actually hate wading through pinterest to try and find something I saved a year ago so having them all in a book is a plus for me. I also like that the projects have a breakdown of difficulty, estimated time, and an explanation of the STEM components.

 

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Book Thoughts – The Secret Rescuers

The Secret Rescuers The Storm Dragon-68980-3

These covers caught my eye the very first time I saw them. When I saw them at Target I knew I had to get them for work. I am 99% sure that grade school me would have loved these. Heck, who and I kidding I like them now and can’s wait for the next one to come in.

The first book stars Sophy and she stumbles across a magic rock that lets her speak with magical creatures, which is good because a baby storm dragon has crash landed in the castle’s orchard. The adults want to capture the dragon so it is up to Sophy to save him and return him to his family.

the sky unicorn

In the second book Ava’s life is changed when she meets Clover, a unicorn foal, and Sophy. Ava acquires a magic rock from Sophy which lets her communicate with magical animals. When a bad man betrays the hidden unicorn herd Clover is captured and locked in a cage. Ava and Sophy must think quick to rescue him.

These are really cute, if a little light. I wish the interior illustrations were in color or a little less sketchy.

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gameinhart is a nominee for the Buckeye Children’s & Teen Book Award in the grades 3-5 category.

some kind of courage cover

 

I know there are quite a few people out there who are tired of sad books and dead parents. Some Kind of Courage is not your book. Right off the bat we have a Joseph, a young boy who lost his mother and sister to illness and then his father to an accident. The man who is supposed to be caring for Joseph is a drunk and sells his pony, Sarah, to a thug while Joseph is out doing chores.

I am probably dating myself here but this remind me a lot of the movie Wild America, where three brothers traveled across America filming wild animals for a documentary. It is the kind of story you really can’t tell with the interference of parental figures.

I liked this book much better than The Wild Robot, though I think it has more of a niche appeal. Joseph is a really good kid that stays positive throughout the book. I love the dynamic between him and his unlikely traveling companion, Ah-Kee,  a young Chinese boy, the only survivor of a terrible accident.

Sadly, I don’t like the cover. I think the art is more off-putting than enticing and I dislike the chunky font. Joseph does not really look like a boy and and it completely eliminates Ah-Kee, who is present for a majority of the adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

This Was My Week

Cheers and Jeers

Ah vacation! As much as I like the structure of work it was good to have a few lazy days. I intended to read a book a day, but I spent a lot of time organizing STEM information and reading STEM books that I never even counted.

What Happened This Week?

Monday:

  • Closed for the holiday
  • STEM/STEAM focus group on Tuesday

Wednesday:

  • An entire day on the reference desk, minus my hour lunch.
  • Printed signs, put up decorations, etc for summer program

Thursday:

  • Some people associated with the remodel came to look at the building.
  • My boss had drama with a raccoon kit that ultimately died.
  • Made phone calls about missing supplies and books
  • Printed blank underwear templates for a Captain Underpants design contest

Friday:

  • Reference desk all day
  • Writing descriptions for programming through the end of the year including new STEAM program, new Science Saturday program, and new family book discussion

What did patrons want?

I lot of movie requests and one patron that calls and I can’t understand what he wants. I think he asked for 50 Shades of Grey. Let’s hope so because that is what he is getting.

 

The Easy Reader Fiasco

Sometimes things happen at the library that I don’t necessarily agree with. The easy reader fiasco is a lesson I learned about listening to my gut and being more confident in my own abilities.

About a year ago I noticed some Mr Putter and Tabby books in the J novel section that I really thought were more suited to be in the dot book/easy reader section. I showed my boss, I filled out a request to change paperwork asking for them to become green dots which are 2nd grade level. (Levels and AR are a topic for another day) They came back a few days later saying sorry green dots dot exist anymore so they went back into the J novels.

Time passes and we get some Princess in Black, DC Superpets, DC Heroes, Lego stuff etc and it is all coming through to J novels it doesn’t feel right to me but I forget about it until one day when I scan a book and see that every other library has it in the easy reader section but us. I grabbed a cart and pulled every single one of the books I had suspicions about and all but two were listed as easy readers in our other libraries. I don’t know why ours aren’t but now we are manually taking each one and changing them and making new spine labels.

My lesson here is if you don’t want to change a few hundred books all at once you should listen to your gut when you think something isn’t right!

Book Thoughts – The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown is a nominee for the Buckeye Children’s & Teen Book Award in the grades 3-5 category.

the wild robot cover

Welcome to unpopular opinion time starring your host….me! I have a history of having very unpopular book opinions. Hate is a bit of a strong word, but I very much dislike a lot of the most popular picture books. I will pass on Mo Willems and Eric Carle for pretty much anything else. So I guess it should be no surprise that while everyone else loves The Wild Robot I wasn’t really impressed.

Basically a robot washes ashore an uninhabited island when the ship transporting robots is wrecked at sea. Some otters accidentally activate Roz and then she works really hard to learn the language of the animals on the island and be accepted by them even going so far as to be a surrogate goose mother.

If you happen to care about spoilers you should stop reading about now.

WildRobot4.jpg

So you know how a person who is into something can easily tell a knockoff? This feels like a faux studio ghibli movie. Oh humans are messing up the climate….but it never goes anywhere. Characters die and there is no drama with the death. Roz accidentally kills a goose family but saves an egg and the goose never has any conflicted feelings about it. Apparently humans are still pretty awful but robots are programmed not to do violence but also have no self defense. Also while the art is okay I didn’t think it was spectacular.

Meh. If Harry Potter doesn’t win this category on name recognition I suppose this will because everyone seems to love it.

This Was My Week

Cheers and Jeers

I am on vacation! Actually I don’t know how good that is. I accidentally left my computer at work and I miss the routine of going to work.

What Happened This Week?

Monday:

  • Book Commercials – This was amazing, but I can’t really share much from it so no blog post on it.

Wednesday:

  • Vacation

Thursday:

  • Vacation

Saturday:

  • Vacation

What did patrons want?

I don’t know because I was on vacation. I wish I got to do more reader’s advisory but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Outside of work I forced my mom to read Wonder.

 

Book Thoughts – The Ninjabread Man by C.J. Leigh

The Ninjabread Man by C.J. Leigh is a nominee for the Buckeye Children’s & Teen Book Award in the K-2 category.


I actually finished this book a while ago and misplaced it. I had wanted to do in depth reviews for all the buckeye nominees but honestly this is a rehash of The Gingerbread Man. I didn’t like the art or the text and there just isn’t much to say about this. Maybe I would recommend it if you are doing a unit on fairytales and have kids who love ninja warriors.

This Was My Week

Cheers and Jeers

Well I’m hoping this is a good thing, but I got an email saying we would be having a meeting about STEAM in the library at the end of the month. We are supposed to bring all of  our ideas so now I am scrambling to get everything from my head to paper. I recognize the director and maybe 2 other names in the group of 8 people so I am hoping we will be able to be very focused, but I don’t know what to expect at this point.

What Happened This Week?

Monday:

  • Family Movie Night
  • Put all summer events and reminders into my calendar
  • More weeding J books not in the catalog
  • Prepping music for Disney Trivia Night

Wednesday:

  • 3 people off today
  • More new books arrived, I think they all look good so I hope they circ.
  • Worked on decorations for summer reading Build a Better World theme. Gear flowers should be cool right?

Thursday:

  • Steam focus group email sent me scrambling to get all of my STEAM stuff together
  • More weeding

Friday:

  • Printers down for a few hours
  • Short one person and another left early so pretty busy
  • STEAM reading
  • Unconference directly after work

What did patrons want?
I actually don’t remember anything very interesting that was requested this week. I got a kid to take home a book I recommended.

 

STEAM Materials Requested

Here is the list of the items I requested for the STEAM program. Amazon is the easiest website for me to use so that is why everything listed can be found on amazon. Prices do fluctuate but I have listed what it was at the time I first requested the item.

Dominoes $9.90
Snap Circuits Jr $20.99
Makey Makey Kit $49.95
Tangrams $7.28
Spirograph $11.24
LEGO Space Needle $54.79
K’nex Bridges Kit $29.98
Amazin Marbles $28.06
Code & Go Mouse $40.68
Modeling Clay $2.81 & Tools $4.99
Geoboards $12.68
Geoworld Preserved Bugs $28.67
Gears! $18.52
Doodle Robot $10.40
Magnetic MightyMind $23.40
Magnet Science $13.48
Magic Penny $20.01

I tried to pick the highest reviewed, cheapest, and most practical to request for the STEAM program. I did not consider 3D printers or other large machines with what I imagine is a large learning curve.

I submitted my original material request to my boss via email and after a verbal okay I have now printed and filled out the paperwork for each individual item.