News from Youth Services Category: STEAM Saturday

STEAM Saturday: Celebrate Astronomy Day

Saturday, May 15, 2021 is Astronomy Day! This day is a great time to learn more about astronomy and do fun activities inside or outside.  

Astronomy is the study of the universe beyond the Earth including the sun, moon, stars, and more. To learn more about astronomy, use your MPPL library card to access the many web resources we have available. You can find the kid focused web resources on the Homework Help Web Page.  

One activity you can do with your family is track the moon phases. Every night, the moon looks a little different. This is due to how the sun is reflecting off the moon. To track these changes, create a journal with your nightly observations.  

moon phases
Source: NASA/Bill Dunford 
Published: August 14, 2014 

For more ideas, check out PBS.org’s article, Stargazing and Other Astronomy Activities You Can Do with Your Kids

There are also many books about astronomy and space, which you can check out at the Library.

STEAM Saturday: Water Pollution Experiment

two little boys reaching into a pond in a park

Water that you find in nature is not necessarily clean or pure; you would not want to drink pond water, for example. There are ways to clean water, though, and you can try this experiment at home!

First, take a clean jar with a lid and fill it with water from a lake, pond, stream, or any other source of water outside your home. Put the lid on until it is time for the next step. What do you notice about the water?

To clean the water, you will need something called alum. Alum is a hydrated double sulfate of aluminum and potassium, used in dyeing and tanning. If you don’t have this at home, it can be found in the spice aisle in the grocery store.

Put 2 tablespoons of alum in your water, close the lid tightly, and shake it up. Then let the water sit for a few hours.

When you look at your jar again, what do you see?

You may notice that the dirt gets pulled to the bottom. In a real water treatment plant, the added alum forms clumps with the dirt and pulls it down to the bottom of the basin.

Experiment from:

To learn more about water and water pollution, check out one of these books.

Let's Save Water book cover
My River: Cleaning up the LaHave River book cover
The Ocean in your Bathtub book cover

STEAM Saturday: 3-D Printing for Kids

3-D Printing is available again at the Mount Prospect Public Library and kids can submit print files to be printed. For kids to print, permission is required by a parent or guardian.  

MPPL is now accepting 3-D print submissions

How Does 3-D Printing Work at MPPL (Condensed Version): 

  1. Design your 3-D print and save it as an .stl file. 
  2. Go to the website: https://mppldev.org/services/3d-printing/ 
  3. Fill out the submission form at the bottom of the page and attch your print file.  
  4. Once it is submitted, someone from the Library will contact you about your print.  
  5. Once everything is approved, the Library will add your print to the queue to print. 

For more information on printing rules, helpful tips, and the submission, go to: https://mppldev.org/services/3d-printing/ 

STEAM Saturday: Ice Experiments

Did you know that salt lowers the temperature of ice water? To see this process happen, try making ice cream with only a few ingredients.

Materials Needed:
  • 1 Gallon Zip Bag
  • 2 Sandwich Zip Bags
  • 1/3 Cup Rock Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Ice (enough to fill 1/2 of the gallon zip bag)
  • Gloves
homemade ice cream ingredients
Instructions:
  1. In one sandwich zip bag, combine the milk, sugar, and vanilla extract together. Then, zip the bag close.
  2. Put the zipped bag with the mixture in the second sandwich zip bag and zip this one closed. This gives your mixture extra protection.
  3. In the gallon zipped bag, make sure there is enough ice to fill 1/2 of the bag. Then, add the rock salt to the ice.
  4. Place your sandwich zip bags with the mixture into the gallon zip bag of ice and salt. The, zip the gallon zip bag close.
  5. Put on your gloves and shake your gallon zip bag for 10 minutes.
  6. After 10 minutes, take you sandwich bags out and open them to tasty vanilla ice cream.

There are many different recipes to make ice cream like this on the internet. We found this one on the Happy Toddler Blog.

Lift Ice Cubes with Chemistry

After making your tasty treat, learn more about salt and ice including why it is used on snowy roads in the winter. You can even learn how to make a piece of yarn to stick to ice with this experiment from Scientific American.

ice stuck to piece of yarn
Photo credit to Scientific American

Insects in Winter

How do insects survive the long, cold winter? In several different ways!

Some Overwinter as Eggs

Praying mantids spend the winter as eggs, waiting for the warmer spring temperatures to hatch. Both the native Carolina Praying Mantis and the Chinese Praying mantis are found in Illinois.

Carolina mantis egg case
Carolina Mantis egg case
Chinese Mantis egg case
Chinese Mantis egg case

Some Overwinter as Larvae

Woolly bear caterpillars, the larval form of the Isabella Tiger Moth, spend the winter curled up under leaves.

Woolly Bear Caterpillar, larvae of Isabella Tiger Moth
Woolly Bear Caterpillar, larvae of Isabella Tiger Moth

Some Overwinter as Nymphs

Insects that have an incomplete metamorphosis only have three stages of life: egg, nymph and adult. Dragonflies spend the winter as nymphs underwater will stay active under the ice. They emerge in spring as adults.

Dragonfly Nymph
Dragonfly Nymph

Some Overwinter as Pupae

Some moths and butterflies will stay in their pupal cases (chrysalides or cocoons) and come out in the spring as adults.

Cecropia Moth Cocoon
Cecropia Moth Cocoon

Some Overwinter as Adults

Monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico in the fall and wait for the spring to arrive to begin their journey back home.

Monarch butterflies

To learn more, check out these books: