Many people think that the purpose of STEM education and programming is to get kids to grow up to be engineers or scientists. But the authors of STEM Lesson Essentials: Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics describe the goal of S.T.E.M. education slightly differently:
“The main goal of STEM education is not for students to become mathematicians, scientists, technicians, or engineers; although it would be great if more of our youth had such aspirations. The goal is for all students to be able to function and thrive in our highly technological world–that is, to be STEM literate.” (p. 9)
Given the current emphasis on STEM, it’s not surprising that libraries are adding STEM components to their programming. After all, libraries already have large nonfiction collections. It makes sense to build programs around all aspects of our holdings, not just picture books or literature. We’re in the information business, not the Arts and Humanities business.
The problem when planning a STEM program is that many resources are oriented toward classroom use. Lesson plans for public libraries will necessarily be quite different. Librarians can often adapt activities intended for parents and families. But that can be time consuming and frustrating. If only there were an online collection of actual library programs. Well, now there is! It’s called Simply STEM.
The original source of lesson plans for Simply STEM was the assignments participants shared in an online course I took through ALSC called STEM Programs Made Easy. But I’m hoping that it will expand to become a large collection of program ideas and resources that will help Youth Services librarians provide quality STEM programs to children of all ages.
- Show Me The Awesome: Librarians as Catalyst in a STEM/History Collaborative Project (thesassylibrarian.blogspot.com)