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HandsOnSTEM Events with Schenectady Public Library

Its been quite a couple of months since we have posted an update, but rest assured that we have been busy. In the first half of the year, we were able to take advantage of the nice weather and take some of the experiments at the Latham Chinese school outside. We ended the school year off with reinforced sandcastles, giant bubbles, and everyone’s favorite handmade ice cream in a bag. The end of the Chinese school did not mark the end for us. In August we were once again able to partner with SCPL to deliver 3 days of fun and learning at both the Central and Niskayuna branches.

Although we were once again working with SCPL, we offered three different experiments for kids to enjoy. On day one, we made handmade ice cream, albeit with mixed results. We learned that salt water has a knack for getting into places it shouldn’t, including into the bags holding our ice cream mixture. This unfortunately led to a couple of salty vanilla ice creams.

Preparing for this experiment also helped us become more conscious of our impact on the environment. In order to make ice cream we had to use many different plastic bags and this is not unique to this experiment. One way we try to reduce the amount of plastic we have to buy is by reusing bottles and their caps, toilet paper rolls and other plastic containers. Performing hands-on experiments with large groups inevitably requires a lot of materials, the more we can try to reduce, reuse, and recycle the better.

The second day was hosted at the Niskayuna Library and we created giant bubble mix with guar gum. This experiment is great because it gives kids of taste of lab work. By carefully measuring and mixing together several different ingredients they were able to successfully make a bubble mix capable of blowing huge bubbles. We were also able to discuss the three essential ingredients in a good bubble mix: water, soap, and a polymer.

On the third and final day, we created dual function robots at the Central Library. These robots act as both a standing fan and a graffiti robot that spins around. Everyone was able to successfully complete their circuits on the first try which was amazing to see. This feat is just another testament to the importance of clear and concise instructions and the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.

1 Comment

Core IT
Core IT
Jan 07


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