STEM Summer Programs @ Dorr Township Library: Dollar General Grant Winner

We were very excited when we found out that we won the YALSA/Dollar General grant! As soon as I found out we won the grant, I knew for sure what one of the programs had to be (it was geodes). We used this grant to fund 4 STEM programs for our Summer Reading Program: make your own Solar Induction oven, 2 Eclipse classes to get ready for the eclipse and a Geode program where participants could have their geode broken open for them and then take home!

Participants of the solar ovens had a great time coming up with food ideas to cook in their oven. We had ideas of s’mores, toast, chips and cheese, and one participant even suggested steak! We were very fortunate to have a local quick stop donate the pizza boxes and with the grant, we were able to supply the rest of the materials for participants. Here is the finished product. 


Since there is a Solar Eclipse on August 21, we thought we should get people ready for the Eclipse by having a few activities. In our first Countdown to the Eclipse program, we talked about how the moon can cover the sun because the moon is so far away. Then the participants made and tested out their UV detector bracelets (did you know that you can buy UV color changing pony beads on Amazon? I didn’t. They are AWESOME!). 


For the second program, we talked about the Sun, how the Sun worked and how far the Sun is from the Earth. We also discussed how the photons that form from the fusion of Hydrogen into Helium take tens of thousands of years to travel from the core to the surface of the sun. Participants then made themselves tasty treats by making a model of the surface Sun in a sugar cookie. We had enough cookies for everyone to make two. Yum!

Our last program funded by the YALSA grant was our Geodes program with speaker Steve Tchozeski from Great Lakes Geoscience. He had spoken once before at our library and he is great with all age groups. He brought many samples of quartz, agate and geodes for the participants to look and touch.  He talked with our participants about what made something a mineral, different types and colors of quartz and how geodes are formed. He then explained how he goes out to find the geodes and how he takes his “whomping” hammer and “whomps” the geodes open to reveal the quartz crystals inside. Then he allowed the participants to pick a geode and he then broke it open for them and told them what type or types of quartz were present in it. Everyone had a great time! 

We were so excited by this opportunity that we’ve extended our programming to include our Eclipse party on August 21st. We received glasses from Starnet/NASA for the eclipse, and we have a party planned in our parking lot for the observation. We will be offering food and crafts while people watch the eclipse. We greatly appreciate everything that the YALSA grant has allowed us to do this summer; things we would not be able to do on our own! Thank you!

My name is Reilly Brower. I have a BS in Mathematics for secondary teaching from Grand Valley State University and am going back to school for my MLIS this fall. I am currently the Technology Librarian at Dorr Township Library in Dorr, MI. I wear many other hats as well, as one does when working in a small library. I also work at a local high school as a testing center coordinator/academic interventionist. In working with my director and fellow library staff, we have a blast planning and plotting programs that will garner the interest of our community. All I have to say is that Pinterest is the most evil of inventions. 


















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