Monday, October 27, 2014

Wisconsin Science Festival 2014, Pewaukee Public Library

This post brought to you by: Jenny Wegener, Head of Children’s and Young Adult Services, Pewaukee Public Library
Have you heard about the fantastic Wisconsin Science Festival?  Since it began in 2011, the Wisconsin Science Festival has celebrated curiosity and learning.  The Festival is headquartered in Madison but more and more libraries across the state are joining in and offering great learning activities as well!   Why should you consider partnering with the Science Festival?  As the Festival web site states, “Science festivals not only celebrate curiosity and creativity, they also build a community of people who find joy in exploring the unknown and appreciate the enterprise of the sciences, arts and humanities.”  I am sure you will agree that their mission sounds familiar!  
The Pewaukee Public Library has participated in the Wisconsin Science Festival for three years.  The first two years, we offered an afternoon show.  The Science Alliance from Lake Geneva entertained in 2012 and Karl Debelack did his Bubbleology show last year.  In early spring of this year I decided that we should increase our Science Festival events – things always sound so do-able 8 months out – to include hands-on science activities for families and a star-gazing event hosted in the evening by the Pewaukee Astronomy Club.  
I am happy to report that it was a success.  Okay, except for that part about the marshmallows in the carpet, but really, the whole day went very well.  The hands-on science activities were a huge hit and I was SO happy to have a great group of 12 volunteers, most of them National Honor Society kids, helping out.   We held the event from 10:30 to noon, a time frame that seemed to work well.  The science activities included simple things like block and Lego play to more involved experiments such as play dough in a plastic bag and slime.  Kids also enjoyed learning about weights and measures, building catapults, looking at rocks with magnifying glasses, playing in sensory bins of rice and water beads, and more.  Many of the activities were “reruns” of things we had done in summer which helped cut down the planning time and expense.  Steve Belliveau did his “Getting Excited About Science” show for us in the afternoon and even the weather cooperated – the skies cleared just in time for the Astronomy Club to set up some telescopes and share their love of the night skies with patrons.  

The Wisconsin Science Festival people are great to work with – our event was posted on their website, included in their promotional materials, they provided bookmarks & pencils to use for promotion, and we were even able to order t-shirts for the volunteers at no charge!  If you are interested in participating in 2015, take a look at their site for answers to questions.

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