STEM @ Your Library

Nationwide, schools are responding to the critical role that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education plays in the future of the United States. In order to grasp and retain children’s interest in the Sciences, schools are using unique methods to incorporate STEM subjects in their curricula, giving students opportunities to discover and apply STEM concepts. Libraries often provide programming to compliment schools’ learning objectives (e.g. a Summer Reading Program, Book Clubs, etc.), and the Mercer County Library System is stepping up its STEM game as well. Many MCLS branches offer fun-filled programs that give children, from preschoolers to high school students, opportunities to explore, learn, and apply STEM skills.

Programs, workshops, and events revolving around STEM topics are continually being added to branches’ schedules. Use the library’s program calendar to see what programs are currently offered, to find out additional information about each event, and to register for programs. Below is a sampling of upcoming programs:

Computer Science - Computers and technology is the new peanut butter and jelly. Back in June, Laura N.’s Coding for a Rainy Day blog post discussed the initiative to give children the opportunity to learn the fundamentals behind computer programming languages. The computer science industry is booming -- from computer programmers to web developers to hardware specialists. Programs and workshops are available to introduce your child to the “inner workings” of computers and technology.

Girls Who Code (Hightstown) -- There is a new club for 6th through 12th grade girls! Come find out about the Computer Science & Technology club, Girls Who Code, on Saturday, November 22 at 3pm. The Hightstown Branch’s incredible volunteer instructors, trained and supported by the Girls Who Code staff, are ready to educate and inspire girls about computer technology opportunities available to them.

Hour of Code (Hopewell) -- On Saturday, December 13 from 10am to 11:30am, the Hopewell Branch is hosting an Hour of Code event for 4th to 8th graders. The grassroots campaign spearheaded by, Hour of Code 2014, encourages students to try an hour of coding during Computer Science Education Week (December 8-14). Hour of Code participants at the Hopewell Branch event will have an opportunity to explore computer science and to discover how coding is used to create computer programs, websites, apps, and more. Registration is required.

Introduction to Scratch: Learn to Code, Code to Learn (West Windsor) -- The West Windsor Branch continues to offer introductory coding workshops using Scratch, a popular (and fun to boot!!!) interactive computer programming language. The next Scratch workshop, scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 22, will give children in grades 3 to 6, the opportunity to learn about computational thinking. Registration is required.

Engineering - LEGO® creations and engineering? Oh, yes indeed! A blog on MIT’s School of Engineering website goes on to say “In both intended and unintended contexts and uses, Lego lets kids exercise creativity and learn some fundamentals of engineering—almost in spite of themselves.”1

Bricks 4 Kidz (Hickory Corner) -- The Hickory Corner Branch currently offers a monthly Bricks 4 Kidz program for children in grades K-5. Participants design and build machines, catapults, pyramids, derby cars, buildings and other constructions out of LEGO® bricks. While exploring engineering, architecture and physics, students develop problem solving and critical thinking skills. The next Bricks 4 Kidz takes place at 7pm on Monday, November 24. Registration is required.

Along with their grade school program, Hickory Corner also holds a monthly Bricks 4 Kidz program for preschoolers, ages 2 to 5 years. The preschool Bricks 4 Kidz program consists of children listening to a story and then doing a guided build with Duplo® bricks. Check the library's program calendar to find out when the next preschooler Bricks 4 Kidz program is scheduled at Hickory Corner.

LEGO® Club (Twin Rivers) -- Meet with other LEGO® enthusiasts of all ages to design and build amazing things with LEGO® bricks at Twin Rivers Branch’s LEGO® Club. The next gathering is scheduled for 4pm on Tuesday, November 25.

Math - Often the library is associated with books, reading, and literacy. Well, what about libraries and math? Sure! Why not?

Crazy 8s Math Club (Hickory Corner and Hightstown) -- It is math gone wild with creative and interactive sessions such as “Glow in the Dark Geometry” and “Toilet Paper Olympics”! Children, from kindergarten to 2nd grade, are invited to the Crazy 8s Math Club to learn mathematical concepts with fun, interactive, hands-on activities. The next Crazy 8s Math Clubs are:

Science - “Mom, why do leaves change colors?” “Mom, why are some bubbles bigger than others?” “Mom, why is your hair turning grey?” It goes on and on, right? Well, there are library programs to help encourage your child’s’ curiosity.

Drop-In Science (Hopewell) -- The Hopewell Branch offers a monthly Drop-In Science program for those inquisitive 3- to 11-year-olds who want to do experiments and figure out how things work. Stop in anytime between 1pm and 3pm on Saturday, November 15 to experiment with “Rings, Wings and Flying Things.” No registration is necessary, but adult supervision is required.

Preschool Science Station (Hightstown) -- Come explore science concepts with hands-on activities, using everyday household items. Aspiring scientists, ages 3-5, can hone their skills at the Preschool Science Station program at the Hightstown Branch on Wednesday, December 17 from 4:15pm to 4:45pm. Registration is required.

Science Fun (Ewing) -- Children, ages 5-10, have the opportunity to conduct hands-on experiments with a list of suggested websites and books. Science Fun meets at the Ewing Branch on Monday, November 17 and Monday, November 24 from 4:30pm to 5:15pm. Adult supervision is required.

Storytime with STEAM (Robbinsville) -- Children, grades K-3, are invited to try science experiments and crafts at the Robbinsville Branch on Saturday, November 22nd at 10am. Girl Scout Cadette Troop #70538, supervised by library staff, will lead participants through hands-on science-based activities. Registration required.

Branches are adding programs all the time. You can stay abreast of what programs each branch is offering on the library’s program calendar. The calendar provides additional information about each program, as well as registration instructions.

Anna V.

1 "What Do Legos Have to Do with Engineering?" Web blog post. Ask an Engineer. MIT School of Engineering, 6 Mar. 2010. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.


  1. Thanks for all your information.Website is very nice and informative content.

    Stem Program


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