Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 52° Clear
News >  Features

Libraries help kids explore science

From left, Kamayah Mace, 5, and Max Mangis, 6, watch a marble roll down a roller coaster they built Feb. 4 at Kids Explore and Discover Club. (Tyler Tjomsland)
From left, Kamayah Mace, 5, and Max Mangis, 6, watch a marble roll down a roller coaster they built Feb. 4 at Kids Explore and Discover Club. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Our weekly pick for families

The county library district’s after-school programs for grade-schoolers got a new name last fall: The Kids Explore and Discover Club.

“It’s an opportunity to learn, but without feeling like you’re learning,” said Gwendolyn Haley, the library district’s youth services manager. “It’s sneaky learning.”

This month’s program is Marble Roller Coasters, a “great way to explore physics,” Haley said.

Club sessions usually start with a related story or nonfiction book. For the roller-coaster activity, librarian Amber Williams also put together facts about Silverwood’s rides.

“Then we’ll go over the science of it,” Williams said, giving kids the vocabulary to go along with roller coasters, terms like “potential energy” and “kinetic energy.”

After the explanation, track gets distributed and children build their marble roller coasters.

“It was super, super fun,” librarian Christie Onzay said of the roller-coaster building at the Cheney library.

“We got a couple of double loops in there – those took a little bit of time to perfect,” she said.

Each month the club explores a different topic involving science, math, engineering or crafts – or a combination.

“STEM is everywhere and we just kind of have to highlight it a little more,” Williams said.

Sometimes community experts come in as volunteers. Architects helped with a marshmallow- building activity in December; local author Kelly Milner Halls helped children create dinosaur artifacts in October.

In March, the club activity is Kitchen Chemistry. Onzay said the activities – Kool-Aid playdough, color changing milk and chromotography – combine science and art.

“We offer something different every month. It’s always hands-on; it’s never a lecture or a talk,” Onzay said.

“It’s all fun,” she said. “There’s the science built in there, but it’s all fun stuff.”

Kimberly Lusk

When and where: Marble Roller Coasters at Otis Orchards Library, 22234 E. Wellesley Ave. at 4 p.m. Tuesday and at Deer Park Library, 208 S. Forest Ave. at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. Each activity is about an hour long and happens at each branch once. Check or pick up a flier at your local library for the schedule.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.