Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Greatest STEAM Program Ever!

….well maybe not but it was super cool.
This post brought to you by Terry Ehle, Youth Services Coordinator at Lester Public Library.
I was very nervous about Fizz, Boom, Read as a scientist I am not, but my staff and I decided to dive in and go for it.  It turned out to be one of the best summer reading programs ever.  We had so much fun we decided to keep the science theme going by developing “Families with STEAM” as a way to continue science related exploration at our library.

Recently we held our first event – Treasure Hunters!  Participants were invited for a rousing read of “Pirate Treasure Hunt” by Jan Peck and given the opportunity to deck themselves out like pirates.  Then each family was given a map to enter the main area of the library where several obstacles and activities awaited them. 

  • Station 1 – Through the tape jungle to Cannon Ball Alley to build a catapult and shoot a cannon ball into a box (with a shark on it of course!)
  • Station 2 – Follow the rope through the cave to Telescope Table to make cardboard tube telescopes. Participants then used a compass (mini lesson provided) to look through the telescope to find a hidden object.
  • Station 3 – Over the stepping stones to create a glyph flag about their family which they hoisted up the mast using two pulleys attached to the ceiling.
  • Station 4- Over the snake infested waters to design and build a tinfoil boat. Once built, they were asked to predict how many pennies their boat could hold without sinking and then test it.
  • Station 5 – Walk the plank to find treasure.  Throughout the hunt we had hidden magic rocks made from baking soda, water and plastic gems.  Once they reached this station, they were able to drop their rocks into a large container of vinegar where it hissed, bubbled and released the treasure.
  • Station 6- Finally, participants followed a dotted tape line to the back of the library that led to a big X and treasure chest of books and snacks.

Did I mention that each station had a QR code that led participants to more information and other experiments they could try at home?

It was amazing, families LOVED IT!  We held the program on a Thursday night and 45 people attended. 

It wasn’t expensive; everything we used, except for the snacks, came from the story time closet with leftovers from the summer thrown in. The look on the kid’s faces when the treasure appeared from the rocks was priceless.  There were families with kids of all ages, including teens! It was chaotic, messy and a bit overwhelming and I could have used a volunteer at each station, but in the end, it was worth it!

Next month:  The Night Shift – an exploration of our nocturnal friends.

For more details about this program, please email Terry at


Michelle Meades said...

what did you use to make a cannon? And could you describe the compass to look for the missing object more - this is an amazing program that I would love to try!!

Sarah Cournoyer said...

Hi Michelle,

For more details about this program, please email Terry at tehle (at)lesterlibrary (dot)org and she will be glad to provide more information for you.