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Kids learn about science at interactive library STEM event
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A participant at the library’s first STEM day tests out her colorful spinner. - photo by Rio White

The Dawson County Public Library hosted the first of four scheduled September STEM events for children on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Wednesday’s event gave elementary-age children the chance to learn about the scientific method, types of energy, friction, gravity and more.

Participants were able to get a hands-on experience by crafting their own “spinners” that were made from a CD with a twisting mechanism glued on top and a marble glued to the bottom.

Each bag that included these supplies had different shapes and sizes of top and bottom mechanisms, giving each child a unique observational experience.

“I’m hoping that the kids will learn about thinking like a science, taking the time to observe things and asking how and why,” youth services specialist Mary Beth Tanner said. “Almost all these things that we’re doing in the next month have to do with simple machines.”

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After making a colorful design on the CD itself and gluing the part on, each participant would test the spinner on a variety of surfaces, including a smooth desk or rough sandpaper.

Another observation could be made by adding weight to each spinner by placing coins on top of the CD.

The fun didn’t stop with the kids participating, as parents also enjoyed watching their children learn and observe in real time.

One parent described how her child learned about increasing the spinner’s speed by testing out various methods of lining up the coins on the CD.

For Tanner, a former elementary school teacher, she enjoys hosting an interactive experience for kids to learn from. 

The STEM events also give parents ideas on how to teach children about science using materials they may be able to gather at home.

“It’s awesome, and I don’t have to grade papers,” Tanner said. “The [parents and children] are having fun together while learning.”

The next STEM event at the library will be held Wednesday, Sept. 14, and will involve observing motion on a roller coaster. Two more STEM events are planned after that.

For any questions about the STEM events or any other youth activities, the library can be reached at 706-344-3690.