Magnets make science fun for young learners

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Brayden Puglisi and Amelia Mercadante [center], of Point Pleasant, and Sophia Gerard, of Brick, learned about magnets and went fishing during the first “Little STEAMers” event at the Point Pleasant Borough Library Jan. 7. [DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS]

POINT PLEASANT — Singing, dancing, reading and experimenting all came together Tuesday to engage and introduce children to the world of science through a new “Little STEAMers” program launched at the Point Pleasant Borough Library. 

The inaugural Little STEAMers storytime Jan. 7 introduced half-a-dozen children ages 4 to 6 to the world of magnetism, allowing them to get hands-on experience learning about what magnets are and what items easily found at home and in the library are magnetic or not.

“I like doing new things and I have seen other libraries do it and it is something I have always been interested in and it just makes it fun and the kids learn hands-on,” Librarian Cindy Fragale said.

“I always like to do something where they can just have an initial hands-on exposure. The earlier you are exposed to things the more likely you are to enjoy them and science is fun and it can be fun so that was my motivation.”

The session kicked off with the children warming up with a literary version of the classic song “If you’re happy and you know it. ” with organizers replacing those lyrics with, “If you like to read a book” instead.

Following the singalong, Ms. Fragale read “Chicken Break: A Counting Book” to engage the children in counting and numbers and all six were on the edge of their mats counting along and listening to the many antics the chickens got into throughout the course of the tale. 

“Today I want to start a new program called ‘Little STEAMers’ where we are going to do little science experiments and … today we are going to talk about magnets and the thing about magnets is that they work by being drawn to other items and other material,” Ms. Fragale told the children.

Stepping into the library’s: “laboratory,” the children had the chance to engage with several steps of the scientific method. Using various objects from her treasure chest, Ms. Fragale had the children hypothesize what items from her equipment stash, including a baby chick toy, LEGO, pot scraper, frog toy, bell, seashell, button, toy star, keychain, pencil sharpener and clip-on button, would be magnetic and which not using their fishing rod to test their theory.

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