STEM Storytime: Preschool Fun with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math


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With a STEM-based curriculum in place in schools, our youth services departments can play a fun and active role in helping preschoolers get ready to learn. Presented by Jen Thomas and Robin Gibson from the Westerville Public Library at the Ohio Library Council's Southwest Chapter Conference on April 3, 2013.

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STEM Storytime: Preschool Fun with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

  1. 1. STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.Preschool STEM is a storytime, geared at preschoolers ages 3-6, whichexplores Science, Engineering & Mathematical concepts through pictureand nonfiction books, games, and related hands-on activities. Technologyis also utilized in the Preschool STEM program, but due to the age of theparticipants, it is not as much of a focus as Math, Science, and Technology.Parents (or adult caregivers) are expected to actively participate with theirchildren throughout the program.
  2. 2. In 2010, Ohio public schools began using academic standards known asthe Common Core. “The Common Core State Standards provide aconsistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, soteachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. Thestandards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world…” Thenew Common Core State Standards encourage teachers to focus on skillssuch as creative thinking, investigation, conversations, and connectionsoutside the classroom. Common Core Standards
  3. 3. The addition of the Preschool STEM program,both on and offsite, provides libraries with aconvenient opportunity to promote the skillsnecessary to successfully prepare preschoolers forthe Common Core State Standards.Just as Every Child Ready to Read helps parentsprepare their children for kindergarten by instillingin them the necessary skills for reading andwriting, Preschool STEM helps parents preparetheir children for kindergarten by introducingthem to nonfiction science, math, and engineeringbooks and concepts.Preschool STEM promotes inquiry, curiosity andexcitement about learning and offers fact-basedlearning and fun hands-on experiences.
  4. 4. Preschool STEM emphasizes interactivity. The songs, games, flannel boards, books, and hands-onactivities that we choose for Preschool STEM are all highly participatory and place a strong emphasison interaction between the preschoolers and the librarian, as well as with their adults.Throughout the program, we encourage the preschoolers to make predictions and to providefeedback about our topics. As we read the books, we ask questions and point out pictures and wordsthat will help participants fully understand the material, and then, when the book has ended, wediscuss what we have read.
  5. 5. Nonfiction books convey information inThe picture books that we use in our interesting ways. Many preschool parentsregular preschool storytimes often contain don’t use this part of the library as often –facts that can be pointed out and we like to show them that there are greatdiscussed. informational books for preschoolers.• A Tree is Nice, by Janice Udry • Are Trees Alive? By Debbie S. Miller
  6. 6. Our Preschool STEM program is scheduled for 45 minutes. The first 20 -25minutes is dedicated to the storytime portion of the program. This includes1) an opening song, 2) a picture book, 3) a song or interactive game, flannelboard, or activity, 4) a nonfiction book, and time permitting, 5) anothersong.The second half of the program is set aside for hands-on activities.Hands-on activities allow our participants to put into practice theknowledge that they have gained in the earlier half of the storytime. Wemake each hands-on activity an extension of the topic we discussed.
  7. 7. Then, filling in circles . . . What could they be?Activities:Open-endedChild-centered-Going on a circle hunt
  8. 8. Since parents are their children’s first educators, weencourage parental involvement as much as possibleduring our programs, both in the storytime portionof our program and in the hands-on activities.
  9. 9. Along with the storytime and hands-on activities, we like to includeadditional take home activities with related projects that participants can dowith family members after they leave the library.
  10. 10. There are multiple resources available for STEM planning. Simplystepping into your Juvenile Nonfiction department can help inspire you.
  11. 11. What’s the BIG Idea? Bridges! : Amazing Structures toMother Goose Asks “Why?” You Can Count on Mother Goose Making Math and Science Come Alive for Design, Build & Test, by Carol A.Vermont Center for the Book Vermont Center for the Book Children and Families in Your Library Johmann and Elizabeth J. Reith Vermont Center for the Book More Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using The Everything Kids Easy Science Experiments Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry, K-4 by Science Is Simple: Over 250 Activities for Book : Explore the World of Science Through Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan Preschoolers, by Peggy Ashbrook Quick and Fun Experiments, by J. Elizabeth Mills
  12. 12. Reading Rockets “Literacy in the Sciences” Tip Sheets RIF’s STEAM Multicultural Booklist resources/multicultural/2012-multicultural-booklist.htm
  13. 13. National Science Teachers Association Blog - INK (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids) The Early Years years/
  14. 14. ODNR Division of Wildlife - Wild Kids Preschool Math Activities age/kidspagesplaceholder/kidsdefault/tabid/6024/Default.aspx math/
  15. 15. Knowledge Matters: Public Library Programming for Library Makers {hands-on learning for all ages] : Young Knowledge Seekers Wonderworks Jones, Children’s Services Librarian, Monroe derWorks County Public Library, Bloomington, Indiana Youth Services Librarian, Madison, Wisconsin
  16. 16. Celebrate Science Nonfiction author Melissa Stewart’s blog. The Show Me Librarian: All Things STEAM Amy Koester, Children’s Librarian, St. Charles City-County Public LIbrary, Missouri - preschool & school age STEM programs and links to additional resources.
  17. 17. Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal 50 Books about Science and Scientists For most distinguished informational book for children, sp?idBookLists=76 administered by ALSC. Most of these are older than preschool audience. Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children Books Count! Number Fun for Children NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) p?idBookLists=148 Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 Math & Science Booklists for PreschoolersNational Science Teacher’s Association (in cooperation with the Children’s Book Council) .php Big Idea Booklists Topics include: The Cook Prize Patterns, Mapping, Weather, Trees, Measurement, Shapes and many literature/cook-prize/ more! Bank Street College of Education, for the best STEM (Science,, Engineering and Math) picture books for ages 8-10. Begun in 2012.