Program description: Transform your STEM programming with new approaches that encourage youth driven and connected learning. Using hands-on examples we’ll show you how to embed inquiry-based learning techniques into your programs. We’ll look at how you can align your STEM offerings with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and STEM pathways. Lastly, we’ll discuss outcomes and evaluating programs.
Renee Neumeier, Young Adult Services Supervisor
Evanston Public Library, Evanston, IL
Katie LaMantia, Teen Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library, Schaumburg, IL
Janet Piehl, Youth Services Librarian
Wilmette Public Library, Wilmette, IL
Tyler Works, Youth Services Assistant Department Head
Indian Prairie Library, Darien, IL
Check out this Tinker blog that several of the presenters co-founded and co-facilitate.
Handouts: Handout, Slides
Tinker: 20-60 staff get together and spend time with tinker tools. It’s hands-on with tinker tools and they bring in guest speakers.
Inquiry-based learning is wonder > explore > reflect/discuss. Instead of having the teacher in front of the classroom, the student is the center. The teacher is more of a facilitator and you and the student are learning together.
Why inquiry-based learning?
- Gets kids excited about learning something new
- Works for all ages and abilities – very approachable for everyone to use
The Next Generation Science Standards: what students do, know and think. Students don’t just decide they want to be an engineer or scientist, they need to do it or see themselves doing it.
Why should you do this in libraries?
- Connect with skills
- Youth build on what they learned in school in a more relaxed setting
- Reach kids with different backgrounds and learning styles. Meet them where they are at
- Make learning connections to books
- Libraries are not bound to a curriculum
- Easier program planning
- Librarians are good at asking questions. Questions are the driving force of inquiry-based programming
- Wonder: the driving question
- Exploring: hands-on learning process. The library staff’s job is to facilitate
- Discuss/reflect: share what you’ve learned during this process
- Can you say more about that?
- What makes you think that?
- What’s another way to do that?
- Explain your thinking to me
Goals of Talk Moves
- Share, expand, and clarify individual thinking
- Meaningful, active listening
- Deepen reasoning – ask, how did you arrive at that conclusion?
- Think with others, push it a little bit further
Program Model in Action
Example: Icee Challenge (see Handout)
Wonder: How can we prevent brain freezes?
- Showed a PBS video on brain freezes
- Had a discussion on how we can prevent brain freezes
- Come up with the faster you eat, the faster you’ll get a brain freeze. Led them to want to design a new cup/receptacle
Explore: Construct a better cup to prevent Icee from melting quickly.
- Cleaned out supply cabinet for supplies
- Library worked as the facilitator and used talk moves
Reflect: Share your design. What worked best?
- If staff had planned this like a regular STEM program, they would have done a ton of research ahead of time. With inquiry-based STEM programming, there is much less pressure to plan. More about facilitating the creative process.
Evaluations and Outcomes
- Program objectives are what learners can get out of it. All ties into real life stuff kids are interested in. e.g. Icee headaches
- Helps kids with critical thinking skills
- You don’t have to be an expert in this!
- Continuum of service: you are re-enforcing what they are already learning in school
- Take it out of your building, use it with kindergartners through 8th graders