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STEM Club returns to challenge youth

September 6, 2018

SCOTTSBLUFF — Each month in the Media Room at the Lied Scottsbluff Public Library, there are tables filled with a variety of objects. Children are gleefully gathered around the tables, anxiously awaiting the next challenge that will expand their minds. This is STEM club.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and the club at the library incorporates those concepts into each fun meeting.

At the first club back after the summer break, STEM Club will be participating in a roller coaster challenge where youth will learn how inertia, kinetic energy and gravity all work together in harmony to create a one of a kind experience. The roller coasters will be made out of toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls and any other paper products that can be recycled.

“The kids will have challenges and roadblocks along the way,” said Peggie Michael, librarian assistant. “Failure is an option.”

Michael enjoys the fact that there are regulars who come each month, but that there are always new ones. She’s also pleased that not only do parents stay and make their own projects, but they are sometimes challenged as much as their children.

“There are a lot of times where the adults say, ‘I don’t know how to make it either,’” Michael said. “I love it when the parent makes their own and the kid figures it out before the parents.”

Michael said not everything you create is going to be successful the first time.

“You may fail, but you can try again and again until it works,” she said. “That is the success of STEM.”

October will be all about coding and an introduction into LEGO Mindstorm.

“We’ll learn what it takes to be a coder and how simple it is,” she said.

In November, the STEM Club will be treated to visitors who work in the community in STEM fields. They will be introduced to the concepts of why STEM is important to different job fields as well as how having that knowledge got community members their job.

Michael is already looking forward to December where the club will make trebuchets out of recycled materials. A trebuchet is a type of catapult. It uses a swinging arm to throw projectiles and was commonly used during sieges.

“The kids will learn how gravity, engineering and trajectories work together to reach a target,” she said. “And, of course, there will be challenges and roadblocks thrown in.”

STEM Club is free for students in grades K-5. Pre-registration is not required. STEM Club meets the second Tuesday of each month from 5-6 p.m. The Lied Scottsbluff Public Library is located at 1809 3rd Ave. For more information, call 308-630-6250.

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