NEWPORT, Ore. – Libraries in Lincoln County are distributing about 800 free bags of science activities for kids, thanks to a grant Georgia-Pacific gave to the Oregon Coast STEM Hub.
Over the last several weeks, Oregon Sea Grant staff, who coordinate STEM Hub activities, have been stuffing the bags with supplies and instructions, which are in English and Spanish. Depending on the intended age group, the bags can include: a magnifying glass, colored pencils, plastic specimen box, pen, journal, lanyard, rubber ball, tape measure, tweezers, eye dropper and a paper microscope called a Foldscope.
The supplies are for the activities, which feature seven daily challenges that teach kids to think critically and to observe, make, draw and deconstruct things. The activity book is at bit.ly/3kgT3Jq.
“The kids learn to think like scientists, ask questions and pay attention to their surroundings,” said Tracy Crews, the manager of Oregon Sea Grant’s marine education program and interim director for the STEM Hub. “The activities may seem simple, but they are laying the foundation for skills used in careers in science, technology, engineering, art and math.”
The activities challenge kids to:
Make a raceway from paper tubes, paper plates or cardboard cartons.
Take apart objects like a toy or a pinecone and assemble them into something new.
Observe a live animal, write or draw observations and ask questions about what they are seeing.
Build a structure from paper and tape that can hold a small stuffed animal or toy. Kids are asked to think like an engineer by defining the task, brainstorming ideas, drawing a design, testing it and refining it.
Go on a scavenger hunt for items in nature and then create a picture or collage with them. While outside, they observe a spot for 10 minutes and write or draw what they heard, saw, felt and smelled.
Place toys so they cast a shadow on paper and then trace the shadows to create a scene. Kids are asked to think about the relationship between the location of the object, the light and the size of the shadow and when the best time of day is to make shadow art.
Fold paper to make different airplanes and see which ones fly the farthest, highest or fastest or do the most acrobatic tricks.
The bags are available only to Lincoln Country residents at libraries in Toledo, Siletz, Lincoln City, Newport, Waldport and Yachats. Crews recommends that people contact their library first because the libraries are distributing the bags at different times and in different ways.
Housed at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, the Oregon Coast STEM Hub is managed by Oregon Sea Grant and is one of 13 state-funded regional hubs that prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Georgia-Pacific is one of 64 partners in the Oregon Coast STEM Hub. Visit oregoncoaststem.oregonstate.edu for more educational resources for families, students and teachers.