Kids can blow off some STEAM at the Summit County Library
Kirsten Nilsson wants children ages 3 to 10 to blow off some STEAM during a wind-inspired Science Technology, Education, Art and Mathematics activity night on Thursday, Oct. 3.
The event, which will serve as a prelude to the Park City Education Foundation’s One Book One Community events that spotlight Malawian inventor William Kamkwamba’s autobiography, “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind,” will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Summit County Library Kimball Junction Branch, the Youth Services Librarian said.
Park City Film will screen the documentary on Oct. 7, and the Park City Education Foundation will present Kamkwamba himself for a talk on Oct. 9, Nilsson said.
She also said it is important that families who want to participate in the library’s activities be ready at 6:30 p.m., because the event isn’t a drop-in event.
“We will host a welcome, a book reading and discussion at the beginning of the night, and then we’ll divide into groups,” she said. “We will then participate in open-ended science activities with children’s books that are about the wind. And we want to make sure everyone has the chance to do them all.”
Some of the activities will help kids understand the concepts of air and wind, according to Nilsson.
“We will talk about how we know air exists, even though we can’t see it,” she said. “We will talk about different kinds of winds, breezes and gusts, and how they happen, and we will talk about different types of weather.”
Children can make contraptions that will help them detect wind, and there will also be a wind-driven toy boat race, Nilsson said.
“We want children to come prepared to think like scientists, so they should come prepared to do some experimenting,” she said. “We want to show them that science is fun.”
All the activities planned are outlined in the Leap Into Science, a national program that was originally designed to build interest and skills in science and literacy for underserved children, Nisson said.
“It was developed by the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, and now the program is nationwide,” she said.
Nilsson learned about the program during the Utah Library Association Conference that was held in Salt Lake City this past May.
“It so happened that they were studying wind this year, which is a perfect tie-in to our One Book One Community theme,” Nilsson said. “It’s interesting because Leap Into Science listed a number of books that would go with this program and the children’s picture-book rendition of ‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’ was one of the books.”
Nilsson was also relieved that Leap Into Science would provide all of the activities’ supplies.
“It was pretty easy for us to do,” she said. “All we had to do was sign up.”
The family STEAM activity night is also a perfect fit with the Summit County Library’s mission to help the public, especially students, expand their intellectual horizons, Nilsson said.
“The library is a key player in children’s education, but it’s not a classroom,” she said. “Of course we support what they learn in schools, but we also want to offer extra enrichment activities. And maybe through these activities and programs these kids will discover they like science or they want to become a writer. You can find anything at the library, and it’s a fun place to learn.“
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Park City Film’s in-person screenings will include a string of Academy Award-nominated films.