Tag Archives: Children’s programming

Acceleration Nation

checkered-flags-309794_640Scholastic and NASCAR have teamed up to provide a STEM education program for elementary and middle school students, with the target ages of 8-12. Acceleration Nation teaches students about the math and science behind NASCAR’s “Three D’s of Speed: Drag, Downforce, and Drafting” and also gives them a behind-the-scenes look at some of the popular drivers in NASCAR and how pivotal science and math are to the sport.
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Summer Reading Kickoff – 2014

 

fbrOnce again this year I’ll be live blogging our Summer Reading Kickoff event in partnership with the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Library, the Morton Mandan Public Library, and the North Dakota Heritage Center. Keep checking back throughout the day for photo updates. I’ll be posting them whenever I can break away for a moment!

Some  wily balloons attempted to escape from ILL before getting tied down throughout the building and capitol grounds:
2014-05-30 08.02.43 2014-05-30 08.03.53

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Robots are Coming

Image of a Finch robotWe’ve previously mentioned LEGO robotics, coding clubs, and littleBits machine building kits as ways to develop library STEM and STEAM programs around computer programming and machines. Today I’d like to introduce another option, the Finch robot.

The Finch was developed at the Carnegie Mellon University as a robot for computer science education. Their website has an assortment of ready-made assignments that can easily be incorporated into school curricula or used in library workshops.

Finches can be programmed through a wide range of software, making them appropriate for all grade levels, including Python, Java, Javascript, C++, Matlab, and Visual Basic, as well as the Snap! visual interface for younger users (age 4+). You can see the full list of compatible languages broken down by grade level here. They have a host of on-board sensors (light, temperature, accelerometers, and obstacle sensors), a pen mount for drawing, and a full-color LED beak.

Finch robots cost around $99 each to purchase (the price goes down if you buy in bulk), but if you’d like to grant fund your library’s robot acquisition, there is grant writing assistance custom-tailored to Finch robots available here.

Want to learn more about the Finch? Here’s a 3 minute overview:

Celebrate TableTop Day at Your Library

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This year, International TableTop Day will be observed on April 5th–and it’s not too soon to get your library signed up as an event host! It’s free and you’ll have a blast.

What is TableTop Day? It’s a celebration of the fans of tabletop gaming. A single day where the whole world is brought together in a common purpose of spending time together and having fun.

If you already have board, card, and other tabletop games at your library, you have everything that you need to participate. TableTopDay.com even has free trophies you can print out and fold to give to game winners, as well as marketing and promotional tools you can use to bring attention to the event and to your library. Continue reading

New and Upcoming Educational STEM and STEAM Kits

Here are two exciting new and upcoming that libraries can incorporate into STEM and STEAM programs and into Makerspaces. The first is called littleBits. littleBits are magnetically connectable color-coded electronic modules. They teach children how to connect circuits and build machines but require no soldering, wiring, or programming.

There are a number of kits available for sale or you can buy modules individually. littleBits has an educational site that includes lesson plans, design challenges, tons of great ideas. Brilliantly, their hardware is open source and everything on their site is Creative Commons licensed, so it’s all free to use and modify. They’ve got a growing community of contributors uploading new lessons, projects, and build videos as well. Continue reading

Upcoming Scholastic Chess Tournaments in North Dakota

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5Encouraging kids to play chess is a time-honored and exquisitely fun means of developing their analytical thinking and STEM skills. In that spirit, there are a number of scholastic chess tournaments coming up in North Dakota (or just across the border in Moorhead), that I wanted to bring to the attention of librarians, teachers, parents, and chess enthusiasts.

On January 25 the FM Chess Tournament will be held at the Moorhead Center Mall.

On February 8 there will be a Scholastic Tournament in Flasher for grades K-12. It will be held in the school cafeteria.

Finally, on April 12, the North Dakota Scholastic Chess Championship will be held in Bismarck at the Shiloh Christian School. The top player from this tournament will qualify for a national tournament!

Typical scholastic tournaments have separate sections for grades K-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-12 to balance play.

You can find out more information on the North Dakota Chess Association’s Tournaments pageContinue reading

Your Library in the Hour of Code

computerScienceEducationWeek

The Hour of Code is a campaign from Code.org to recruit 10 million kids to try computer science for one hour during Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15). Industry leaders like Microsoft, Google, Apple, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg; organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America; celebrities, athletes, and politicians like will.i.am, Chris Bosh, Enrique Iglesias, and Bill Clinton; and scores of others have joined the campaign.

Computer science is foundational for all students today, yet the overwhelming majority of schools don’t teach it. This is a chance to inspire under-served students to achieve the 21st Century American Dream. Continue reading

LEGO® and Your Library

LEGO - the blocks that keep on giving. CC BY-SA 3.0 by Benjamin D. Esham.

LEGO – the blocks that keep on giving. CC BY-SA 3.0 by Benjamin D. Esham.

LEGO blocks are a perennial favorite of children of all ages. Library LEGO clubs provide a great way to engage children and young adults in developmentally beneficial play.

LEGO blocks click together with library youth services, as promoting play of this sort “contributes to early literacy development by increasing attention span, memory, creativity, and language and vocabulary skills.” It’s also great for older children and teens, since “tactile and kinesthetic learning increase student understanding” (read more about the educational benefits in this School Library Journal article quoted above). Continue reading

Liveblogging our Summer Reading Kickoff Event

Dig into Reading logo

Today I’m going to liveblog our Summer Reading Kickoff Event. Stay tuned for photos and blurbs about the day’s exciting activities as they unfold!

Update circa 8:30 a.m.:

Four State Library Staff fill balloons with helium in the ILL DepartmentOne of the first orders of business: filling balloons with helium!

Update Circa 11:00 a.m.:

P1000578The weather could be better for the event, but at least it’s not presently pouring.

P1000579Dedicated firefighters explain safety and rescue measures to youths and their parents.

The big red dog is on the sceneClifford shows up for work…

P1000566…and gets mobbed!

The man with the yellow hat and his curious simian friendThe man in the yellow hat is consoled by his little monkey.

Update Circa 12:02 p.m.:

P1000550Nice hat!

P1000574The pottery wheel in action!

P1000577Backup supply of balloon animals…

P1000559The Cat in the Hat gets swarmed.

Update Circa 1:00 p.m.:

secstateSecretary of State Al Jaeger reads to a fine gathering of kids.

ltgovStory Time with Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley.

characterLineUpA rogues gallery of storybook characters.

Update Circa 3:15 p.m. (final post!):

P1000571 Shovel Craft!

P1000572A big crowd at the sign up table.

P1000583Burleigh County and Morton-Mandan Bookmobiles.

P1000558Children diligently reassemble a dinosaur at the Heritage Center.

P1000560The much beloved Cat in the Hat.

Happy reading everyone!

Publicizing Reading to Dogs Programs

Two young girls reading with a trained therapy dog.

Young readers enjoy sharing their books with Daphne the dog at the Bismarck Public Library

I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for early literacy programs where kids get to read to dogs, and I’m elated that libraries in our state offer them. That being said, what I love most about this newsletter article is that it promotes library services through a non-traditional channel. It’s so easy to focus solely on our own organizations’ newsletters, but by doing so we miss the opportunity to reach a wider audience and form community partnerships. If you’re providing a service like this, why not feed a story to your local shelter or humane society?

Do you offer reading to dog sessions at your library or are you interested in starting a program? We’d love to hear about it!