Full STEAM Ahead to Children’s Learning!

Get kids ready for the upcoming school year with STEAM materials they can check out online or in print for Curbside Pickup with Abbot Public Library! If you are new to our Curbside Pickup Service, please carefully read these instructions for how to reserve items and set up an appointment to pick them up after they come in.

Hoopla’s STEAM Lookbook Collection has a number of items for students of all levels. STEAM Lab For Kids not only has science projects, but Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math activities as well. The book explores the connection between art and other STEM subjects, giving kids tools for problem solving and critical thinking. Check out even more fun projects in Math Art and Drawing Games for Kids which combine artistic skills with STEM concepts, such as making pixel art with graph paper. Overdrive also has fun STEM activity ebooks such as STEM Lab, in which you can learn concepts by racing wind up cars or making a homemade guitar.

A similar book in print format to reserve for Curbside Pickup is 100 Easy STEAM Activities: Awesome Hands-On Projects for Aspiring Artists and Engineers. Included are games and projects to help kids learn concepts in science, technology, engineering, art, and math such as shaving cream rain clouds or a pool noodle obstacle course. 

For young science lovers, the Bill Nye the Science Guy DVDs may be just the thing to help kids learn about friction, animals, light optics, pressure, energy, and more! During Curbside Pickup service, there is no checkout fee for DVDs, so you can explore science with Bill Nye for free! Some fictional characters that can help kids learn about STEM concepts are Ada Twist, Scientist (in print and on Overdrive/Libby app and hoopla) and Rosie Revere, Engineer (in print and on Overdrive/Libby app and hoopla).

These are just a few of the library’s offerings! Browse through hoopla’s STEAM Lookbook Collection or search for more online science, technology, engineering, art, and math items for kids on hoopla and Overdrive/the Libby app, or reserve physical titles through the library catalog for Curbside Pickup. Read about how the Curbside Service works here.

Shoot for the Stars: Resources for Stargazing and Learning About Outer Space

A Boston Globe article from May 6 highlighted a family-friendly quarantine activity that is out of this world: stargazing! The current lockdown has led to a reduction in light and air pollution, resulting in better conditions for observing the night sky. Caity Sullivan, education associate at the Charles Hayden Planetarium of the Museum of Science, outlines some tips and tricks in the article for at-home stargazing with your family, including free star-viewing apps and what to look for in the night sky.

Though you can’t visit the Hayden Planetarium in person, Sullivan and the folks at the Museum of Science have made it possible for the Planetarium to come to you! Check out their Facebook page for Virtual Planetarium events — you can view past presentations and stay informed about upcoming events, including livestreams of what to view in the night sky. If you miss the presentations, take a look at the Museum’s handy May Sky Chart & Viewing Guide — May is a great month to start backyard stargazing as there will be a rare Mercury sighting the week of May 19th!

For even more space-related fun, listen to Pulsar: A Podcast from the Museum of Science. Their episode on Living in Space, featuring Sullivan, is a must listen, as well as their namesake inaugural episode, All About Pulsars. And for young astronomers, learn about our universe through hands-on activities, such as the Museum’s Our Place in Space family STEM activity and Boston Children’s Museum’s treasure trove of Beyond the Chalkboard NASA-inspired activities, including inventing your own constellations, building paper rockets, and keeping a sky observation journal.

Want more galactic goodness? Check out these fiction and nonfiction titles for all ages — some of many available on Overdrive/Libby with your library card number — to keep your whole family shooting for the stars:

8 Little Planets by Chris Ferrie
Moon! Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty (audio) 
Stars! Stars! Stars! by Bob Barner
Fly Guy Presents: Space by Tedd Arnold
Ada Twist’s Big Project Book for Stellar Scientists by Andrea Beaty
Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8) and its companion Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Space by Mary Pope Osborne

Junior Genius Guides: Outer Space by Ken Jennings
How to Be A Space Explorer by Lonely Planet Kids
Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Hidden Figures (Young Readers’ Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterly (audio)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown

And for some further space exploration, check out encyclopedic text about the solar system in Salem Press, or take a peek at our selection of Great Courses videos about astronomy and the mysteries of the universe:

Our Night Sky
Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe
The Search for Exoplanets: What Astronomers Know
The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries
The Remarkable Science of Ancient Astronomy

Happy stargazing!