What is a STEM Activity Kit?
STEM Activity Kits are loanable kits that have activities related to a specific STEM subject with the goal to encourage student (ages 11- 18) engagement in science, technology, engineering, and math in a fun way. The STEM Activity Kits are a HiTech pilot program made possible from Verizon Foundation.
What topics are included in the STEM Activity Kits?
For the pilot, STEM Activity Kits will focus on Engineering. There are five types of engineering kits:
- The Electrical Engineering Kit is focused on understanding and building series and parallel circuits, teaching students about series, parallel, and transistor circuits as well as building PNP and NPN circuits.
- The Civil Engineering Kit uses a bridge model to emphasize the value and purpose of civil engineering, as well as teaching the concepts of design, planning, load and constraints, and key construction components.
- The Mechanical Engineering Kit uses a roller coaster model to provide hands-on experience for three experiments that focus on structural design, mechanical considerations, and physics concepts.
- The BioChemical Engineering Kit is focused on becoming familiar with the elements and identifying common trends such as atomic radius, electronegativity, and ionization energy, as well as learning about the parts of the microscope and different types of molecules.
- The Computer Science Kit uses a mini robot to teach fundamental programming terms such as variable, function, and loop, and teaching students how to create shapes and designs by writing computer programs.
In addition to being categorized by topic, the kits are divided into Series A and Series B designations. There will be 28 Series A kits that offer a basic level of independent learning and 28 Series B kits that will offer more advanced independent learning models with instructional videos.
When are kits available for borrowing?
Because this is a unique and pilot collection, the rollout will be segmented into three phases:
• Phase 1: Series A (Electrical, BioChemical, and Computer Science Engineering) kits are available now.
• Phase 2: Series A (Civil Engineering) and B (Computer Science Engineering, Mechanical Engineering) kits will be available by mid-March.
• Phase 3: Series B (BioChemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering ) kits will be available by the end of March.
What’s in the kit?
You may view images of the STEM Activity Kits online and call the owning branch to check for availability.
Contents include a STEM Activity Kit manual, which is a step-by-step guide to using the kit, curriculum information, kit checklist, standards mapping, activities, and links to testing and feedback tools; STEM Activity Kit parts; and a one-sheet list of books and DVDs related to STEM, including nonfiction and fiction materials to foster student exploration and interest in anything STEM.
How can I request and borrow a STEM Activity Kit?
STEM Activity Kits are available to be checked out and returned at these branches:
- Savage Branch and STEM Education Center
- East Columbia Branch
View images of the STEM Activity Kits online. Then call the East Columbia Branch (410) 313-7700 or Savage Branch (410) 313-0760 to check availability and request a 24-hour hold. Kits can be held until the close of business the following day.
Branch staff will work with you to arrange a convenient pickup date and time. STEM Activity Kits may not be sent to other HCLS branches and must be returned to the location where they were checked out.
What are the loan limits?
STEM Activity kits are available to library card holders 13 years and older. Kits are not available to individuals with Educator cards or those who have registered online. The loan period for each kit is 14 days (2 weeks) and items may not be renewed. Only one (1) item may be borrowed at a time.
If a kit is returned late, is there a fee?
For every day that a STEM Kit is late and the Library is open, there will be a $2 fee with a maximum of $30. Seniors (65+) pay half the fines on all overdue materials.
What is the cost if a STEM Activity Kit is lost or damaged?
Each STEM Activity Kit comes with a contents list and return instructions. The expectation is that kits will be returned in the condition in which they were borrowed.
- If any key essential components of the kit are missing, the library account will be charged for those parts. Essential components are listed on the contents tag and a sheet included with each kit.
- If the entire kit is not returned or is damaged, the full replacement cost and a $4.00 processing fee will be charged.
- Replacement pieces purchased by the customer will not be accepted, and the customer will be charged for missing parts
How should I return a STEM Activity Kit?
A STEM Activity Kit should be returned to the designated table in the lobby. Branch staff will retrieve it from the lobby table, place it in quarantine, verify the contents for completeness and condition, then check the item in to clear the library account.