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STEM exploration kit makes it easier to visit Oh Wow!



Published: Fri, May 23, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

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Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.Librarian Ashley Bentfeld of Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County read from the book "11 Experiments that Failed" during the STEM exploration kit event.

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Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.A combination of water, dish soap, food coloring and yeast bubbled over as part of a science experiment at Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County.

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Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County Manager of Youth Services and Programming Josephine Nolfi showed children the book "11 Experiments That Failed," which is included in the STEM exploration kit.

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Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.Two children who attended the STEM exploration kit event at Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County attempted to remove a dollar bill from underneath an upside down soda bottle as part of a science experiment.

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Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.The children who attended the launch of the Oh Wow! STEM exploration kit at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County waited to witness and take part in science experiments.

By TIM CLEVELAND

tcleveland@vindy.com

Oh Wow!, in conjunction with the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, teamed up to make it easier for children and families to go to the Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology.

General admission to the museum normally costs $8 (children younger than 2 are admitted free and the charge is $7 for seniors 65 and older and veterans), but starting April 21, a new exploration kit was available for checkout at PLYMC that includes books, science activities, plus a family four-pack of passes to Oh Wow! with unlimited visits for a week.

The Oh Wow! museum is a hands-on interactive children’s center for science and technology. Everything in the facility is interactive and focuses on science, technology, engineering and math. There are 9,000 square feet of hands-on interactive exhibits on the top level and 9,000 on the lower level.

“We are always interested in partnering with other organizations and we’ve had some partnerships with Oh Wow! in the past,” said communications and public relations director for PLYMC Janet Loew. “We thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to find a way to give kids who maybe couldn’t afford the passes to have an opportunity to get them free at the library. There’s a family four pack so there are families that sometimes can’t afford four passes so the library gives the family a four pack so that allows parents to take several of their children.”

The exploration kit consists of the four-pack pass, book “11 Experiments That Failed,” a guide to the exhibits and a book of science mysteries.

“The kit focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities and that’s for our summer reading program, also,” Loew said. “It was a perfect tie-in to begin offering this pass right before summer reading starts so the kids can tie in their summer reading activities with their STEM activities.

“They can learn many things in the STEM fields and that’s one of the fastest-growing fields in education and in jobs today, so it helps prepare kids from a very early age.”

“We’ve been partnering with the library for some time,” said Oh Wow! Executive Director Suzanne Barbati. “We’ve been partnering in the summer reading program, this will be our second year, and this seemed like a perfect fit. We want to make sure that the museum is accessible to the greatest number of people possible and this is a way to do that.”

To help celebrate the beginning of the exploration kit, PLYMC hosted several science experiments which several children attended and participated in.

One of the experiments was putting a dollar bill flat against a table and placing a glass soda bottle upside down on top of it. The children were challenged to remove the dollar without touching the bottle and without knocking it over. After the students failed, they were told of Newton’s law of motion, which states that an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. A library employee then rolled the dollar bill up, thus removing it from under the bottle without disturbing it.

“We worked closely with the museum,” said manager of youth services and programming for PLYMC Josephine Nolfi. “We wanted literature that extended the learning experience for children who go to the museum. We selected books that give different possibilities for science experiments that foster the development of learning skills at home so that will extend their learning experience from the museum itself. We picked books that tied into the exhibits at the museum.”


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