Base library train picks up STEAM

Col. Gregory Wood, 30th Space Wing vice commander, engages with parents and children during the first STEAM meeting of the year Sept. 6, at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The STEAM program is on Wednesdays from 1:30 p.m. through 3:30 p.m. at the base library, with two 16-week programs during the fall and spring semesters. 

U.S. Air Force photo Senior Airman Ian Dudley

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE -- The base library launched its annual Science Technology Engineering Art and Math program, Sept. 6.

The STEAM program is on Wednesdays from 1:30 p.m. through 3:30 p.m. at the base library, with two 16-week programs during the fall and spring semesters.

“The library contributes to the effort of preparing our young students by fostering a love of learning and by Introducing STEM concepts in a way and in a place where learning is non-compulsory and fun,” said Eva McLaughlin 30th Force Support Squadron supervisory librarian.

Library STEAM programs are part of library efforts to prepare students for the Program for International Student Assessment, which focuses on math, reading and science.

Col. Gregory Wood, 30th Space Wing vice commander, addressed the gathered parents and children during the first STEAM meeting of the year.

“I remember when I was eight I loved programs like this,” said Wood. “As a kid I would launch little model rockets and I thought it was amazing, and look at me now, it’s what I do for a living. That was something that I never thought I would get to do. Just have fun with this program, there is so much you can learn and you never know where you will end up in the future.”

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The diverse curriculum is designed for children ages seven through 11, and strongly encourages parental participation.

“Children as young as five are allowed as long as parents are on hand to help explain and assist,” said McLaughlin. “We have also had teens come and participate. They are much quicker at learning the concepts and have also been a great source of volunteers to help younger participants. In some cases teens have parleyed their experience into a college reference letter and have been able to cite their STEAM volunteer involvement on their college applications.”

The concept of literacy has now grown to include information, computer literacy and coding.

“Robotics is our ultimate goal,” said McLaughlin. “The children start by linking an LED light or a small vibrating motor to a button battery with conductive tape and the result is a circuit with the output of light or motion. Attach these circuits to a card that looks like a light saber or a toilet paper tube that has been colored to look like R2D2 and they have made an automated toy.”

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