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Second Saturday Science takes off at NOPL

Participants in the first Second Saturday Science program at NOPL @ Cicero learn how to push a ping pong ball through a paper towel tube using air pressure.

Participants in the first Second Saturday Science program at NOPL @ Cicero learn how to push a ping pong ball through a paper towel tube using air pressure.

— Nicole Hershberger wants kids to understand that science is cool.

That’s why Hershberger, the children’s librarian at NOPL @ Cicero, initiated Second Saturday Science at the library. The program kicked off last Saturday, Feb. 11, with a program about air pressure and how air moves.

Hershberger said she wanted to give kids more hands-on experience with science and technology, as well as open up the library to more scientific pursuits.

“The impetus behind it was that libraries tend to do a lot of humanities-type programs,” she said. “We do plenty of that, and I really thought it would be nice to do more math and science hands-on stuff. All of the math and science programs that we’ve done, we’ll have The MOST come in and do demonstrations, and they’re always super popular, so we know there’s a lot of interest in the subject.”

In addition, the programs offer younger kids an opportunity to work with concepts they otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to experience until high school.

“When you’re in elementary school, for instance, you don’t get introduced to physics and chemistry very often, because, physics, in particular, the thought is, well, those involve math, so until you can do math, we’re not going to do too much of that, so you have a lot of focus on animals and Earth science and all of that,” Hershberger said. “And that’s great, but there’s no reason you can’t start exposing kids to concepts like air pressure and the way that gases behave in certain conditions and things like that. There’s no reason you can’t start exposing them to those ideas earlier so that when they do get to physics class in high school, they go, ‘Oh, yeah, I do remember that.’ The soil has been primed a little bit. They’re ready to absorb those concepts a little bit more.”

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