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Local

Get your STEM on at the Newton Public Library

Youth services librarian at the Newton Public Library Phyllis Peter holds onto some of the library's STEM backpacks that are designed to teach children about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Youth services librarian at the Newton Public Library Phyllis Peter holds onto some of the library's STEM backpacks that are designed to teach children about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics enthusiasts have a few more reasons to stop by the Newton Public Library. STEM backpacks filled with activities related to magnets, music, writing and weather are now available at the library for excited learners to check out.

“They would be great for classrooms like a preschool classroom,” youth services librarian Phyllis Peter said. “It could check out to a home school family, it could check out to a daycare.”

The library’s supply of STEM backpacks more than doubles with the
addition of four sets, provided by Iowa Public Television. The three already on hand were so popular, the staff new they needed to add more.

Any person with a Newton Library card can check out of the backpacks. They have a three week check out period and if one is already gone from the library, it can be put on reserve until it is back.

The backpacks contain books relating the theme and tools for hands on learning. In the magnet backpack, children can learn the science bhind magnitism including what they stick to and why.

“It has been a real educational push even from our governor, from the state legislature trying to encourage more STEM learning,” Peter said.

With the library being able to provide the learning tool, it gives families the opportunity to try many activities without having to shell out the dollars themselves.

“Some of these things would be really expensive for families to purchase,” Peter said.

To ensure the backpacks stay intact, the library placed a picture of the contents with the kits so those who use it know exactly what should return to the facility also for safety of those potentially using the activities.

“Pay attention to the ages. I really wouldn’t recommend them for under age three just because of choking hazards,” Peter said.

The list of backpacks currently available for checkout include Pattern Puzzles, Roller Coaster Fun, Building Challenge, Magnets, Weather, Music and Writing and are recommended for children in Pre-K through fourth grade. With the popularity of the kids, the library staff has hopes to add more in the future. with hopes for more in the future.

“If there is a topic that people would really like to see us do they can let us know,” Peter said.

Contact Dustin Teays at
641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or dteays@newtondailynews.com

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