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What kinds of tools do you use at home?  We use tools everyday when we brush our teeth, open canned food, even eat dinner with a knife and fork. These tools make our lives easier. Can you imagine eating a baked potato without utensils? They don’t call them hot potatoes for nothing. Ouch!  Engineers are people whose job it is to help design products that help people. They design roads, buildings, electrical systems and so much more. You can explore the engineering design process at home by creating a simple household tool out of paper.  We did this during Library Lab...


Earth Day is right around the corner and with the necessity to shelter in place, it is even more important for children to celebrate our beautiful world from home this year. But how? I felt stuck. Many of the Earth Day traditions I would recommend to families are not possible this year, especially for children living in Brooklyn. Any other year, I'd encourage families to join a park clean-up, plant a tree, or walk or bike to a nearby park for time outside. These are not options during the pandemic. I found many wonderful resources on the web that recommend family-friendly documentaries...


In honor of National Agriculture Week, we're showing you how to Grow your Own Green Onions! Depending on who you ask, green onions are called scallions or spring onions. They are sold at various markets with the roots intact. Normally, you use everything but the roots. To save money, save time, reduce waste, upcycle and show off your green thumb you can easily regrow green onions! Here’s a super easy way to regrow spring onions so you can get an almost endless supply. A perfect way to make use of kitchen scraps. All you need are the following materials: a jar (reused a...


Did you ever wonder about how salt can melt ice?  First, check out this COOL YouTube video on Ice and Salt.    Then, try out this Winter STEM activity by STEAM Powered Family, you will be pleasantly surprised! Winter STEM Activity What you'll need: Clean tin cards Ice cubes Table salt Coarse rock salt Measuring spoons Digital Thermometer Set up 5 tin cans, each with the same amount of ice.  Set one can for you to control.  This one will have no salt added. In the next two cans, add table salt.  Can#1 add 1 teaspoon of table...


Happy Halloween! Ghouls and Goblins!  Here is your favorite library lab experiment that everyone enjoys--SLIME!   Check out some of these books on your favorite library lab experiment: The Slime Book written by DK Publishing he Slime Book is packed full of more than 30 gloopy, squishy, and stretchy recipes to make at home. Create glow-in-the-dark slime, gross out your friends with snot slime, and take a bite out of tasty chocolatey slime. Simple step-by-steps and vibrant photographs show how to create every awesome slime. Each recipe is Borax-free and uses...


Looking to do something FUN this Summer?  Do you love bubbles? Check out this YouTube video about simple bubbles experiments you can do at home!   If you can't get enough about bubbles, here are some books to check out: How to make bubbles written by Erika L. Shores Simple text and full-color photos instruct readers how to make bubbles and explain the science behind the activity. Check the Catalog Bubbles float, Bubbles pop written by Mark Weakland Simple text and photographs explain the basic science behind bubbles. Check the Catalog...


  Use your Summer Reading 2019 rocket bookmark to create a straw rocket! All materials (including straws, while supplies last) can be found at your local branch on June 1st during Summer Launch. This year's theme is  "A Universe of Stories," and every branch will feature fun activities throughout the day as we begin our summer reading challenges! Materials Summer Reading 2019 Rocket Bookmark Markers or crayons Scissors Small piece of scrap paper Tape Straw   Instructions Color and decorate your rocket. Cut out your rocket along the...


Late last fall, the Crown Heights Library hosted several STEAM programs presented by science edutainer “Brainy” Bill Louden. From exploring the states of matter, to digging for fossils to spooky science, Brainy Bill made the learning experience accessible and fun for all! We hope to see more of Brainy Bill this summer as we explore “A Universe of Stories”. Just for fun, we thought we’d get to know him better and ask him some mostly serious questions. What exactly is an "edutainer"? An edutainer gets to bring the best of both 'edu'cation and enter'tainment' to each event. Science...


Do you love roller coasters?  Or have you ever wondered how roller coasters really work? Check out some books and challenge yourself to go to a Library Lab: Roller Coaster program at your local library! Kids building a roller coaster structure at Paerdegat Library, Image by: Iman Powe Maynard   The Roller Coaster Kid written by Mary Ann Rodman Even though Zach finds roller coasters scary, he rides one with Grandpa in an attempt to make him happy again after Grandma's death. Check the Catalog Engineering written by Emily M. Hunt...


Looking for good a time? It's always a great day for making slime! If you're not up on the latest slime craze, it's taking libraries and classrooms by storm. Making slime is a great way to introduce chemistry & other STEM concepts such as polymers and viscosity. Check out this video kids made at the Clarendon Branch Library for a great how-to guide!   Want more library lab programs? Check out our calendar of events to find great STEM activites near you!


Learning to Code is the new wave for the future! Check out some books and programs to help you get started! Pictured Above: T4 Volunteer, Christian Giles, teaching coding at Paerdegat Library   You wouldn't want to live without coding written by Alex Woolf How do you code a computer? -- How did coding begin? -- Who invented the first computers? -- How did computers develop? -- What are programming languages? -- How has the Internet affected coding? -- Who creates computer programs? -- What is debugging? -- What is hacking? -- What is a computer virus? -- How...


Egg Drop Contraption w/Coffee Filter Parachute   I love tinkering with high-tech applications, circuits, and robotics to answer difficult science questions, but it's important to remember you don't need fancy and expensive materials to be a researcher.  With a walk through your kitchen and some rummaging through your closet, you can find materials to become an engineer and scientist. At Kensington branch, we made egg contraptions from recycled materials, pipe cleaners, coffee filters, and straws to protect raw eggs from a high fall.  We set down newspaper and a...


The kids and teens at the Clarendon Branch have been busy building and programming a fantastic cloud lamp! This marvel of math and science was wired by the kids using a breadboard, and coded in Python by the teens using a Raspberry Pi.  Check out these wiz kids in action. . .   Check out these wiz kids in action. . . The cloud lamp goes through a series of animations depicting sunshine, rain, a thunderstorm, overcast skies, and finally a sunset. It was a bit of work programming all the different loops for our LED strip, but it all came together with...


These spinning noisemakers are easy to make and will teach young patrons about how different sorts of vibrations can produce different sounds. The kids had a blast making and playing with these during one of my recent Library Lab sessions. It was really cool to see the variations in sound their noisemakers could produce as they experimented with and fine tuned their designs. Some of their noisemakers were so loud!  Just make sure you’ve got plenty of space for the kids to whip their creations around, otherwise it can get a little chaotic. Check out the instructions below!...


Engineer Fun with Homemade Catapults National Engineers Week, Feb 18-24, is a week-long celebration of engineering designed to get children and their families more familiar with the world of engineering. Check out their web site at www.discovere.org for lots of fun activities to make engineering come to life for children. And, consider registering to become a Girl Day Role Model on Thursday, Feb. 22 by planning a fun engineering activity for girls. A perfect activity for engineering week is catapult engineering. We made catapults during a recent Library Lab at Cortelyou Library; not...


Do you go over the river to grandmother’s (or another relative’s) house during the holiday season? If so, chances are you will cross at least one, if not several, bridges on your way there. After all, New York City has some 2,000 bridges or tunnels—including pedestrian, car, bike, subway and railroad bridges. Then there are the city’s famous bridges, like the Brooklyn Bridge, which inspires people from around the world to come walk its 1,600 foot span. But bridges are more than just concrete and steel structures that get us from here to there. They connect “people with people, bringing...


  Looking for a quick STEM activity to beat the heat?  Then this post is for you! Materials: 1 cup       Vinegar 1/2 cup   Cornstarch 2 tbsp     Baking Soda 1              Zipper Sandwich Baggies 1              Paper Napkin                Food Color/ Liquid Color   Instructions...


Interested in getting with the latest trend and teaching your kids to code? We’ve got your back. The library already offers coding classes for kids. At my home branch, Clarendon, we offer arduino classes, HTML and CSS workshops, Raspberry Pi workshops, Scratch workshops, and python workshops too. Seeing a child’s face light up after their first line of code is rendered is simply priceless. I mean, look at these cute faces! Need more convincing that coding is important for kids? Check out this article from Rasmussen on the benefits of kids coding. So, without further ado, here...


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