strawbees arm

The first After School Tinkering project is a mechanical arm made from Strawbees

Williamsport -- Educational efforts to promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) learning are often reinforced by local communities. In the Williamsport area, the James V. Brown library, is offering a "Tinkering kit" program to students.

James V. Brown's “After School Fun in a Box” Tinkering kit is made possible by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), a component of Pennsylvania’s Out-of-School Time project.

The purpose of the Tinkering Kit project is to enhance, expand, and increase STEAM programming to youth ages 8-18.

The “After School Fun in a Box” Tinkering Kit provides an overview of STEAM concepts that appeal to school-age students. Youth can experiment and test technology with resources such as Edison Robots, circuit projects, LED engineering activities, and a digital fabricator and design software.

Kit items, made available for use through library programming, will encourage critical and computational thinking and will develop problem-solving skills.

“For decades libraries have been the portal for individuals to be introduced to the latest technologies and receive instruction to be proficient users of all kinds of software, hardware and internet resources,” said Susan Banks, Acting Deputy Secretary and State Librarian.

“These Tinkering Kits and the accompanying programs that libraries of all sizes can do put Maker activities in the hands of all kids across the Commonwealth. Everyone belongs in this Maker world – and libraries can help young Makers connect to their interests and dreams for the future.”

Tinkering kit items will be made available on the second Thursday of each month in the Teen Café, starting at 4:30 p.m. The first program will use Strawbees on November 11, during which participants will make a mechanical arm using accordion linkage with Strawbees.

The program will be presented by Nina White, children’s librarian, who will be accompanied by a representative from BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, in honor of National STEM Day.

This program is limited to six participants and registration can be made by visiting or calling (570) 326-0536. Registration opens at 10 a.m. two weeks before each event.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries.

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