Checkout STEM was created to expand access to research-based literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) experiences for K-3 children and their families. This program was created through a unique partnership between the Ames Public Library and Iowa State University that brought together librarians, university faculty and undergraduate students. The results of this partnership include the creation of Checkout STEM kits that are designed to support the development of literacy and STEM skills.
Each kit contains:
- Two books
- Materials for STEM play
- A lesson plan that revolves around a theme such as coding
The lesson plans utilize the Experiential Learning Model to assist in the development of STEM process skills. This model encourages children to first DO an activity, REFLECT on the activity and then APPLY knowledge learned to other life experiences. Each lesson plan first encourages the reading of a fiction book to help focus the experience around a problem or theme. This is then followed by a variety of hands-on STEM experiences or STEM play (DO). Then children and their families are encouraged to discuss the experience and learn more about the topic by reading a nonfiction text (REFLECT/APPLY). The kits are currently being piloted by seven public libraries across the state. The activity guides for these kits are available for download.