I like to think of our library as a safe space where even the Shaw's youngest learners can use their minds to figure out how to create things. This past week was all about showing the students that the library is the perfect place for them to explore and experiment!
Here is an update on the learning taking place in the library!
Kindergarten- The students and I looked at the Tumblebooks version of the story Mechanimals by Chris Tougas. When a tornado hits and a farmer loses all his animals, he refuses to give up. He gets organized and invents different animals out of scrap metal.
This story was a fun way to introduce the engineering design process, showing students that they can follow steps to come up with a solution to a problem. We talked about the importance of gathering materials and drawing up a plan. Students sketched plans, then moved on to the creating phase. Legos were the material of choice. The students did an incredible job using their problem-solving skills to invent and build!
First, Second, and Third Grade- To prepare for Computer Science Education Week, we began to develop the skills of a computer scientist. Students created algorithms (sets of instructions) to move a character through a maze using a single command. Students also practiced "programming" one another using a combination of hand gestures. They set up a grid on the floor made up of pieces of paper. One student was the Walking Machine and the others were the Controllers. The Controllers led their classmate step-by-step through the paper maze that they created, using the provided arm signals. When the Controllers gave the signal to "STOP", the Walking Machine flipped over the page they were on. If that page had a smiley face on it, then the maze was a success!
I offer STEM in the library because children of all ages are curious about how things work, and I can help their curiosity grow. Women and men of color are grossly under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers, so one of my goals in the library is to help Shaw students develop an interest in these fields. I hope to ignite passion in them so they become doctors, architects, scientists and astronomers. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to start this when they are young so they grow up believing that they can and that they have the ability to do so.
Mrs. Keohane is the School Librarian at the P.A. Shaw. She loves hockey, going to the beach, and reading (obviously!)