Building roller coasters at the library

Sissy and Elena build a roller coaster through the shelves of our Headlands Branch.

Sissy and Elena build a roller coaster through the shelves of our Headlands Branch.

We transformed our Headlands Branch into a theme park during our Curious Kids program.

Kids built roller coasters with foam pipe insulation tubes and paper towel rolls. Then they sent marbles down them. They quickly learned that they could adjust their coasters to increase the speed of the marbles. Physics!

By the way, you can perform a similar experiment with pool noodles and marbles, if you want.

The kids see how much ballast their boats can hold before they sink.

The kids see how much ballast their boats can hold before they sink.

For bonus physics fun, the children also built boats from aluminum foil. Then they saw how many pennies they could stash on board before their boats sank.

Each month, we use games, activities, and even crafts to teach the tenets of STEAM. That stands for Science Technology Engineering Art and Math, if you’re unfamiliar with the acronym.

But there are a lot of ways the library can help your kid or you learn about science, tech, and more. Here are just five:

  1. Kids can check out the STEAM kits at our Main Branch. Experiment with magnetism, electricity and the water cycle with our physics kit. Design a race car or an amusement park ride. Learn the basics of coding with an Ozobot. Kids can use any of our kits in the library. (Sorry, they’re not available for lending.) Peruse your options at our Children’s Desk.
  2. Our Lake Branch has a STEAM station where fledgling scientists as young as two can learn about science, tech and more by playing with our educational toys.
  3. Visit the state-of-the-art makerspace at The HUB in Mentor High School. Library patrons can use The HUB’s laser engraver, heat press, large-format printer, and green-screen studio for school, work, and personal projects. We also have 3D printers that you can use at Main.
  4. Both our Main and Headlands branches host monthly STEAM programs. Full STEAM Ahead will meet at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at our Main Branch. Meanwhile, the next Curious Kids gathering is at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10, at our Headlands Branch.
  5. Browse our shelves! They’re packed with books full of fun science experiments that you can do with your children
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