On April 20, 2019 at 11 AM at Playa Vista Library, I spoke with a group of 15 individuals. The group was composed of 2/3 children and 1/3 parents. I was very excited by the little faces ranging from 2-8 years old. The goals for my presentation were two-fold including:
- providing an engaging and edifying experience for the children; and
- giving the parents an opportunity to recognize that a STEM curriculum can be covered at home through reading their children nonfiction books and setting up activities around these books.
I read my book aloud and had the children come up to the front of the semi-circle where I was sitting and use the puppets I have to represent the different animals within the book. The owl, raccoon and bat puppets are examples of animals from page 4, all are nocturnal or masters at being active at night. After the reading I had the children do activities with stamps and stickers representing the different animals and their specialties. I also had biological samples of feathers, an Emu egg, shells, beetles, snake skin, different bones from mammals…. One of the children asked me the funniest question, “What do you do for a living and where do you live?” That was an appropriate question for a city kid to ask. I told him that I study and teach science and have collected sample specimens of different organisms all my life. The live animals I had for the children included my pets: Sedona, a Leopard Gecko and Yin and Yang, my two Firebelly Toads.
For the parents I provided a small binder of articles about STEM Early Childhood Education and Next Generation of Science Standards. I gave a mini-lecture on how to bring STEM into their home and how to engage in STEM conversation around clouds, movement and distance while driving in the car.
I felt really great about the program. I plan to continue to reach out to local librarians to get on their calendar of events so as to encourage my community to increase the amount of time that is spent on STEM Education..