The circuit science workshop in Columbia is one of Daniel Boone Regional Library’s most popular regular events for kids. The workshop allows elementary school-aged children to play with Snap Circuits, a hands-on learning kit that helps illustrate how electricity works. On a recent fall afternoon, kids and their parents gathered at the library to make musical motion detectors, sound-activated switches and more.
“Programming like this is more free-form, so they can be very creative,” said Katie Long, a public service associate with the library’s children’s team. “There’s less structure and rules that they have to follow.”
The kids hovered over the plastic boards, snapping stick-like pieces into place to build circuits. For some, this was their first time attending the library’s workshop. Others, like William Keller, were repeat visitors. Keller is a fifth grader at Benton Elementary, Columbia’s STEM school, and he aspires to be an engineer when he grows up. He was joined by his grandmother, Brenda Sample.
“We check the library for everything they have, so we sign him up for anything that’s similar to this,” Sample said. “We love the stuff that they offer.”
Other children were playing with the circuit kits for the first time. Arni Patel, also a local fifth grader, said she has learned about a lot of different areas of science in school, but nothing like this. She said she was excited to be at the event, and that she came “for fun and learning.”
“It’s fun and interesting for me, because I like how in this simple piece there are a bunch of things that can do with a sound coming out,” Patel said. “All this is so cool.”
Kristy Toplikar, the children’s librarian, said that scientific learning events help kids understand how science is applicable to their daily lives.
“Kids can get the knowledge from school and from books, but unless they have hands-on application that knowledge isn’t always complete,” Toplikar said.