Library event fosters STEM learning

Published 9:30 am Monday, June 24, 2024

Science learning blasting off Friday as children delved into a hands-on experience at the Luverne Public Library.

On June 14, local children gathered to learn the difference between two different scientific principles, internal combustion and the movement of electrons, and discovered how it relates to movement through fun experiments. 

“[Educational subjects] can be made a lot of fun,” said Jody Foote, the assistant director of the Luverne Public Library. “It’s just how we approach them, how we introduce them and how [children] are exposed to them is going to determine a lot and how they think about them, and possible future choices as far as the careers they pursue or even the hobbies.”

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The library brought in Mr. Bond’s Science Guys, a Nashville based organization that provides different ways for children to learn more about science through live demonstrations. John Wicks, also known as Professor Graybeard, served as presenter for the program.

“We know that science plays a huge role in our lives, being a critical thinker is incredibly important these days,” Wicks said. “We have a pretty comprehensive program to help assist getting kids excited about science, so they then will pursue those careers that are also important.”

Starting the presentation, Wicks introduced the concepts of thrust, acceleration and velocity with a balloon on a string; explaining that when the balloon was filled with air and then released, it flew to the other side of the string. 

From there, participants discussed why rocket ships like the ones found in Huntsville do not use electricity to move. 

“I think the final conclusion we came to after comparing internal combustion engines or internal combustion explosions to electrons is the force of gravity. forces us to use something hyper powered, something super powerful, which is an explosion,” Wicks said

Wicks demonstrated both internal combustion and the use of electrons through experiments, bringing up volunteers from the audience to help. Near the end of the program, Wicks and the children launched multicolored ping pong balls with acceleration through the use of a leaf blower. 

“Apparently, I became a target, which was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it,” Foote said. “I like to laugh, I like to find the silly and the absurd and just have fun.”

After the presentation, children were encouraged to check out books related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) from the Luverne Public Library. 

“The one thing our director, Kathryn Tomlin, is amazing at is the variety and the types of books she brings into the library, especially when it comes to nonfiction, learning experiments, things like that,” Foote said. “We just got some that are more focused towards STEM or STEAM, and they do a lot of experiments that you can do at home with everyday items.” 

The next event, Doc’s Variety Show,  is scheduled for June 21, starting at 10 a.m. The Luverne Public Library’s programs are free for attendees and open to the public.