A lot of hard work came to fruition at the Salmon Public Library before the close of 2017, as the Maker VISTAs delved deeper into longer-term projects. Steadfast in her mission to get maker education into local preschools, this past month Maker VISTA member Francesca Bessey invited Salmon’s early childhood educators to join her for a webinar with Heather Lee, founder of a STEM preschool and Early Childhood Intern with the Idaho STEM Action Center. She also attended the 2017 Idaho Commission for Libraries’ “Read To Me Rendezvous,” to learn how libraries around the state are supporting early childhood education and integrating STEM learning with early literacy.
Meanwhile, Maker VISTA member Jesse Hunt has been helping to create weekly design challenges for the Salmon Library FabSlam team as they prepare for competition. In one memorable December class, Jesse played the role of a janitor in need of an innovative management system for his numerous keys — students had to rapid prototype and pitch their ideas before the session was out!
The Maker VISTA team has continued their work of getting the Library’s STEM tools out into the community and promoting their site’s reputation as a hub for maker learning. Jesse visited a fifth grade class with Edison Bots, providing basic programming instruction as well as a history lesson on the famous innovator Thomas Edison himself. Francesca piloted a training on Facilitated Learning with Makey Makeys at a local after-school program. Several staff, by their own admission, had never played a videogame in their lives, but they enthusiastically applied themselves to a game of Pacman controlled by Play-Doh “buttons.” The Maker VISTAs then spent the holiday break revamping the Library’s in-house programs, so that they can take full advantage of the community’s growing enthusiasm for maker learning in the new year.
In December, Jesse and Francesca found these tools or resources essential:
- Idaho STEM Action Center!
- Snacks (for kids and grown-ups) [Editors’ note: For. Real.]