Hello everyone! This week’s storytime blog is all about STEM/STEAM.

If you have school aged children, you have probably heard these terms bandied about. The STEM acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The ‘A’ is added for Art as many educators believe that creativity plays an equally important role in science and technology.

A rising number of people believe that early exposure to STEM/STEAM can help children establish a strong foundation in the concepts and skills they need to be successful in school and in life. It is expected that the majority of jobs in the future will be in the STEM fields.
Seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling are all important parts of meaningful learning experiences.
Technology is more than computers, smartphones, and other devices. By true definition for any age level, technology is anything that has been created by humans. Crayons, paints, paper, scissors, markers, dough, cardboard, blocks, etc. should be the technological focus for infant and toddler programs.

STEM is much more than an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and maths. It’s about teaching children inquiry-based learning, so they know how to ask the right questions and how to answer them authentically. We often focus in on one academic area of STEM when teaching, but science, technology, engineering, and maths are meant to come together as a whole to encourage higher-level thinking. By providing hands-on experiences with open-ended materials that incorporate STEM components, children become prepared for the world in which they live. They develop the valuable 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity by engaging in exploration and learning how things work.

Book cover for Goodnight Spaceman

Goodnight spaceman written by Michelle Robinson is an excellent bedtime story. It discusses the STEAM themes of space and transport and includes rhyming, counting and large attention grabbing print and wonderful illustrations. It also includes a cool letter at the beginning from ESA Astronaut Tim Peake.

Book cover for Whatcha Building?

Whatcha Building written by Andrew Daddo and illustrated by Stephen Michael King, is a motivational story about making the most of your community. It includes lots of machinery and tools that will appeal to the younger audience, and invention and creativity for the older kids. The illustrations are big and full of detail to keep kids interested finding all the different items included in the drawings.

Book cover for The fabulous friend machine

The fabulous friend machine written by Nick Bland is a narrative story about technology and its dangers. Sounds dull? Never! This story is very cute with lots of science concepts and follows the path of Popcorn, the friendliest chicken at Fiddlesticks farm! When she finds a Fabulous Friend Machine in the barn, she sets about making some brand new friends. But behind the screen of the Fabulous Friend Machine, maybe her new friends are not so friendly after all.

Rhymes

Craft – Tangram designs.

The tangram is a dissection puzzle consisting of seven flat shapes,  which are put together to form shapes. The objective of the puzzle is to form a specific shape (given only an outline or silhouette) using all seven pieces, which can not overlap.

A good craft for toddlers is to colour the tangram pieces, cut them out, and then make whatever shapes they would like out of them.

You can access tangram templates here