By DEB SULLIVAN
On the Shelves
Here’s your question for the day: What do BeeBots and STEM have in common?
Answer: They are both part of “A Day of Exploring STEM,” to be held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Martin Library.
And just in case these terms are new to you (as they were for me), a BeeBot is a programmable robot designed for young children and STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math.
Schools and libraries are working to increase student knowledge in these science-based areas for future workforce needs. Saturday’s event will introduce kids and their families to STEM in a fun way. It is free to attend and there are a variety of activities surrounding robotics, coding and building planned for kids from pre-school age on up through high school.
York Country Day School staff members are coming to do a science activity with the kids, and teen TechFire robotics champs will be there with their award-winning robot to chat with kids, teens and parents about robotics and what they have been able to accomplish.
“They are really inspirational,” said Laura O’Grady, children services librarian for Martin Library. “They take what they do very seriously and work hard to be ready to compete.”
O’Grady said that in addition to science knowledge, the teens help kids build skills in public speaking, teamwork and cooperation through their efforts.
“They are motivational to kids,” she added.
In addition to meeting these knowledgeable teens, attendees will have a hands-on opportunity to program the library’s new robots — LEGO NXTs and BeeBots. The library was able to purchase these robots thanks to generous donations made by community members, family and friends to the Joe Schell Memorial and Jan Schell Memorial funds.
Youth services staff also plan to engage the kids in MineCraft. The library has a MineCraft server where the kids can safely play the game in the same digital world.
“Minecraft teaches building, coding and engineering skills,” O’Grady said. “It also teaches civic and social literacy as through transactions like trading and bartering cattle.”
LEGOs and Duplos will be available for building whatever the kids can imagine — bridges, houses and skyscrapers, all of which help instill engineering skills. Plus, games set up for a variety of ages on the library computers will help take the mystery out of coding and introduce kids and teens to the concept of how learning computer science basics can enable them to be a maker, a creator and an innovator.
“Libraries get to inspire,” O’Grady said. “Kids can come to an environment where they can play and learn at no cost to them. These things will get them on track for high school and college.”
If you go
What: A Day of Exploring STEM
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14
Where: Martin Library, 159 E. Market St., York
Details: Robots, LEGO building, MineCraft, and computer coding games are among the activities slated for all age levels from pre-school and grade-school children to middle- and high-school students. It is free to attend, and registration is not required.
Martin Library offers other opportunities for kids to build STEM skills in a fun way. They include MineCraft, LEGO club, and Leap Into Science programs. Several other York County Libraries have LEGO clubs at their locations. Search the www.yorklibraries.org calendar for program details and locations, as new events are added throughout the year.
MineCraft: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Martin Library. Space is limited; call 717-849-6946 to register.
LEGO Club: 5 to 6 p.m. Mondays at Martin Library, for children 5 to 12 years old; 6 to 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at Dillsburg Area Public Library, for children 6 years and older; 4:30 to 5 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at Dover Area Community Library, for first- through sixth-graders; and 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month at Red Land Community Library, for first- through fifth-graders.