Three thousand families will have the chance to explore science in a new way with Kentucky Science Center’s new Do Science at Home STEAM Kits. These free, family-friendly kits feature hands on activities focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM). Each kit includes guided instruction and additional resources for continued exploration for families with students in grades 3-6. The kit series is made possible by a $150,000 Institute of Museum and Library Services Program grant from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA).
Starting in April and running through August, the kits will be available to families at 23 libraries across the Commonwealth. Each kit has a theme: Material Master, Inventors Lab, Secret Agent, and Artistic Chaos. The kits will allow students to use pocket microscopes to explore items at the microscopic level, build automata puppets, learn how to use force to create artwork, build a tripwire, and understand the science behind weaving patterns. Families interested in these kits are encouraged to pre-register with participating libraries to receive their kits.
“These kits provide a hands-on experience for families in their homes in a completely screen-free way,” says Kentucky Science Center Chief Executive Officer Mike Norman. “After a year of disrupted learning due to the global pandemic, these fun activities offer a chance to step away from the computer and learn together in a very relaxed setting. As the state science center of Kentucky, we believe in Science for All, that everyone should have the opportunity to Do Science in fun and engaging ways. By promoting science literacy, we nurture a world of life-long learners that ask questions, work together, problem solve, and think creatively to make a better quality of life for everyone.”
“In response to the pandemic, both educators and parents teaching their children at home have been encouraged to consider alternative learning practices in order to cross the digital divide of internet access. The $150,000 grant from KDLA is one tangible way that we can help children learn through their local public libraries,” says Terry Manuel, KDLA Commissioner, State Librarian, and Archivist and Records Administrator.
“Creative experiences, such as these STEAM kits, will give young Kentucky public library patrons encouragement to move away from the computer screen and encounter science in their own homes. The kits stimulate inquisitive minds, encouraging children to seek answers to ‘why’ and ‘how’ instead of just ‘what’, and to consider the process of science instead of just the product, or the result, of an experiment. By exploring creativity through a scientific lens, reading research, and improving problem-solving skills, these kits will enrichen the learning experience and encourage a lifelong love of learning and literacy,” Manuel says.
The recent school year exposed the digital divide in which 36% of Kentucky students, roughly 240,000, lack adequate internet access, and additional gaps for families struggling across the state to implement digital learning alternatives. The Do Science at Home STEAM Kits will aid statewide and local initiatives to eliminate STEAM learning gaps between in-school and at-home experiences available for students. Providing students with durable kits and guided projects will help teach and inspire them at critical ages, introducing STEAM opportunities and promoting literacy through library engagement. and selection of grade level reading resources helping address Kentucky’s statewide 3rd-6th grade level proficient gaps.
Kits will be distributed to libraries the following counties: Boyd, Bracken, Breathitt, Butler, Caldwell, Christian, Clinton, Cumberland, Daviess, Floyd, Hardin, Johnson, Kenton, McLean, Meade, Mercer, Metcalfe, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Oldham, Perry, Scott, and Trimble. Registration for kits will be available through individual libraries in each community.
About Kentucky Science Center (KYScienceCenter.org)
Kentucky Science Center is a nonprofit educational institution that encourages people of all ages to do science in engaging, educational and entertaining ways to inspire a lifetime of learning. Designated the “State Science Center of Kentucky” by the 2002 Kentucky General Assembly, Kentucky Science Center features interactive exhibits and engaging programs for children, families and adults. Kentucky Science Center is committed to growing a scientifically literate community that investigates, questions, and challenges.
About Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives
KDLA provides equitable access to quality library and information resources and services, as well as helps public agencies ensure that legislatively mandated documentation of government programs is created, efficiently maintained, and made accessible. For more information on KDLA resources, programs and services visit www.kdla.ky.gov or call 502-564-1753.