ACL GRANT REPORTS Daly City Public Library
The Daly City Public Library was thrilled to be a recipient of the 2018 ACL mini-grant! On June 26th at the Serramonte branch, we were fortunate to have the Bay Area Discovery Museum lead the STEM program Fairytale Engineering. There were 27 children and 15 adults that attended.
Initially, the staff at the Bay Area Discovery Museum sat down with the group of children and explained the basic process that engineers typically follow: think (about the problem), make (a prototype), and try (and then retry). First, they told the story The Three Little Pigs and discussed the materials that were used to build the houses, the engineering processes that were or were not followed and the outcomes. To then reiterate the process even further, the staff performed a song with the children while emphasizing the key engineering terms. After practicing the song a few times, they read the story The Three Billy Goats Gruff. The children were then asked what they thought the main problem in the story was, which led to a great discussion among the children and staff! Once it was determined that the problem was because the goats couldn’t get across to the grass without waking the troll, the staff offered a challenge to the kids: to make something that would allow the goats to get safely to the grass on the other side without waking the troll. The staff showed the children a variety of materials that they could use such as colored tape, pipe cleaners, Popsicle sticks, foil, scissors, straws and cardboard. They were asked to use the thinking and planning page that was provided to plan out their idea: deciding which materials to use, and drawing an initial design.
The children and care givers then went to different tables that housed the materials. The staff explained that once they made a prototype, they could go to “stations” to test out their designs: one with water, one that had numerous little plastic goats, and one that had a large, stuffed troll. The kids had a great time using any and all of the provided materials, and taking them to the stations to test out their designs. If they wanted to make any adjustments at that time, they could go back to their tables and make changes.
I appreciated that the staff was early and well prepared with materials when they came to set up for the program. They were very clear when giving directions and emphasized the importance of trying and retrying when creating anything. They were really helpful throughout the program and spent their time walking around, encouraging the children and their creations. They also were at the stations when the kids were testing their prototypes and engaged in conversations with them about what was working and what, if anything, needed to be tweaked.
Although the program was very successful, I think there was some confusion among those who came in late. There were families that entered the program as the other kids were creating their designs and therefore they didn’t know what to do. With so much going on and the noise level, it was difficult to review what the BADM staff had done so far in order to keep those who just entered up to speed. Our library system does not turn away anyone for programs, regardless of the time they show up. I think if we were to do this again, however, I would like to explore the idea of pre- registering the kids and giving them a 5-minute window in which they could still come in so that they wouldn’t miss any crucial information.
Sarah Spence, Serramonte Library