Elkhart Public Library and ETHOS Science Center are bringing the moon to our hometown … literally. Moon rocks, a spacesuit, the Science 2 Go bus and more will be here for Family Moon Night, 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2, at the downtown library.
The special event will include hands-on activities and education, and families will learn about International Observe the Moon Night later in the month. Kids in attendance will also receive a journal to write down their observations of the moon and stars leading up to Observe the Moon Night.
The moon, after all, is the Earth’s closest neighbor, and it has much more effect on us than you might think. The moon affects the sea and the tides, and every night, it reflects the sun’s light back to Earth.
Family Moon Night is just one of the ways Elkhart Public Library is involving our area in STEAM-related education through NASA @ My Library, a grant awarded to just 75 communities across the country. ETHOS Science Center is one of our important partners in the effort.
ETHOS’ goal is getting children to connect science to everyday life through problem-solving, discovery and critical thinking.
“We believe in the STEAM approach because it is best practice to integrate science, technology, art, and math,” says Lisa Nyers, a STEAM consultant for ETHOS, “thus, increasing comprehension of concepts, and preparing students for success in the 21st century.
“Through this approach students are encouraged to solve real life problems using collaboration, technology, and both science and math skills,” Nyers said. “Students communicate their findings through art, oral, and written skills, and support their claims with evidence and reasoning from their research. These are skills needed to be successful in careers of the 21st century, and students who learn in this way are not only prepared for high school, college, the job market, but for a successful life.”
Behind every app and computer program, there’s code. Code delivers the directions to a computer to complete complex tasks.
The good news: Coding is not hard.
Anyone can learn to code. We are teaching kids to code in our fall series, Coding Music. Even if your child’s future career does not involve computer programming, they will benefit from learning to code. It will give them a new way to think about the world that involves math, logic, and computational thinking.
Want to get your kids coding but aren’t able to attend the program? Or even if you want to learn a little for yourself, check out these books at the library today.
How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons
Author: Sean McManus
Following the 10 lessons in this book will have you creating video games using the programming language Scratch. Then, you can build your own website using HTML and CSS to share the game with the world.
Coding Games in Scratch
Author: John Woodcock
This book also teaches how to build games using Scratch, but with sample games and more detailed instructions. Readers are encouraged to hack and tweak the games into something uniquely their own.
Kids Get Coding series
Authors: Heather Lyons and Elizabeth Tweedale
Kids Get Coding is set of four books introducing code concepts to an even younger audience. These books use very simple language and offline activities to introduce the concepts behind computer programming. There are also links provided where you can go to learn more.
Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World
Author: Reshma Saujani
Girls are underrepresented in the tech field, so this author decided to do something about it. In 2010, she set out to teach girls to code and encourage them in a world that can be full of boys and men. The book is packed full of information about coding in a way that makes it feel like just a fun chat with a friend. Interspersed throughout are short biographies of women who are paving the way in companies such as Pixar and NASA.
For all K-12 students, Elkhart Public Library provides a space for after-school tutoring.
Starting Sept. 18, National Honor Society students from area high schools will be available to help any student with their homework, no matter the subject. Tutors are not unlimited, so it is a first come, first served basis.
Each location will host a night of Homework Help each week.
Monday – 4 to 6 p.m. at Cleveland*
Monday – 5 to 8 p.m. downtown
Tuesday – 4 to 7 p.m. at Dunlap and Pierre Moran
Thursday – 4 to 7 p.m. at Osolo
* – Cleveland schedule through December 2017
Students interested in coming to Homework Help should bring their assignments, as well as the materials and supplies needed to complete projects. They will get help from qualified and knowledgeable National Honor Society students, and they also get to create a bond with a good role model from the community.
“Homework Help has been an ongoing program at EPL for more than 15 years,” says Chuck Pieri, Branch Children’s Librarian, “and when it started, I think it was especially important since the schools didn’t offer a lot of after-school programming for the students.”
But things are different this time around, and Homework Help is more of a supplement to the programs offered at schools. Pieri is hopeful this program will serve students well.
“I hope that the kids get the help they need for their assignments, as well as new skills and strategies to tackle these subjects on their own in the future,” Pieri says. “I’m happy that we can collaborate with the schools and create a safe learning environment where young kids and their peers can work together.”
While students are here for Homework Help, they will also get the chance to check out more of Elkhart Public Library’s resources.
“I also hope that while they are here they take advantage of all we have to offer,” Pieri says, “like getting a free library card, checking out books, or accessing digital music, eBooks and much more.”
Homework Help runs through Memorial Day.
Yes, the calendar just turned to fall. But our Friends of Elkhart Public Library can’t help planning to make the holiday season bright.
Now through Oct. 7, decorators can reserve their free spot in the annual “Trees! Trees! Trees!” campaign.
Finished trees are put on display in the downtown library atrium starting Nov. 6, and the auction runs through noon Saturday, Dec. 2.
The event is an important fundraiser for the Friends, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to expanding educational opportunities in our library system. Monthly book sales and other special events also generate revenue, allowing the group to provide financial support for the summer reading program and more.
Decorations can be store bought or handmade. The final design must be between 18 and 24 inches tall, and other specifications are included in the complete contest rules. By signing up before Oct. 7, a tree provided by the Friends will be available at no cost to the participant.
In addition to the auction, a people’s choice award will be given.
Downtown storytimes just got more exciting for the 4- to 6-year-old set.
Preschool-age children are invited to join the downtown Tuesday Tales for an hour of stories, songs, and learning activities. Each week until Oct. 24, the 10 a.m. Tuesday Tales will give kids the chance to learn from a different presenter, meet the many friendly faces of Elkhart Public Library, and prepare for kindergarten.
“We will feature longer stories, and the songs and rhymes between stories will have more advanced application of early literacy skills,” says Allison McLean, head of Young People’s Services. “The crafts after the stories will be designed to help children develop their fine motor skills.”
Along with parents, child-care centers are encouraged to bring groups build even greater connections with the library.
“I hope that kids who come to Tuesday Tales,” she says, “see the joy of reading, learn to love the library, and are better prepared to enter kindergarten as a result of coming to our program.”