We have started a new program at the Brooks Free Library: Science Storytime. The more I read about the need to bring STEM concepts to preschoolers and their caregivers, the more it sounded like a perfect fit for a library program. Science Storytime will run every other Wednesday through the school year.
For our first program I borrowed heavily from Amy Koestler’s ALSC blog post on the subject. We read The Three Little Pigs and talked about why the straw house blew down but the brick house did not, and why builders might choose different materials
when they build a house. The we went to the tables to alternate being building pigs and blowing wolves.
First we built houses out of straws. Yes, I did my best to explain the difference between the sort of straw the pigs use in the story and a soda straw, though I’m not sure how effective I was with some of the younger children who had never experienced “real” straw. But plastic straws are a lot easier to find and much easier to clean up, so that’s what we used. No one had much difficulty building a straw house, and equally no one had a problem blowing it down.
Next, for the house made of sticks, we used pencils. It took a bit more work to blow the pencils over. For this stage we brought out our backup “big bad wolf”: a high powered fan. Watching the fan blow over the pencil houses was a great deal of fun, and I think some of the kids would have spent the rest of the hour simply rebuilding the houses and watching them blow away.
Finally, I brought out mosaic tiles and grout left over from an adult craft program, and the children built their house of bricks. This took a lot more time and effort, which was a bit of a surprise to some of them. When it came time to blow the houses down, though, none of them budged, not even for the highest setting on the fan. It really brought home the differences in the materials that were used.