Catawba County Library integrates Halloween, STEAM lesson for kids

Catawba County Library integrates Halloween, STEAM lesson for kids

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HICKORY – Halloween got a jumpstart for kids at the Southwest Branch of the Catawba County Library System during Wednesday’s STEAM: Mad Science program.

The young scientists learned all the basics for creating everything from slippery slime to spooky electricity.

Josiah Florez, 11, said building electric circuits was his favorite thing to learn.

“It was fun to be able to make any circuit, and I also found out if you block one of the light bulbs, the electricity getting to it, the other one glows brighter,” Florez said.

The event was part a regular series of STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, arts and math) programs the library system holds year-round at all of its branches.

“The kids get to see the library as more than a place where ‘mom takes me there and makes me get books,’” Ede Escuder, the Southwest Branch library services specialist said. “They also get to see school related things outside of a school situation. They get to experience things parents might not have the opportunity to do at home.”

Escuder, who led the “Mad Science” experiments made sure to provide parents, who are interested, with instructions on how to recreate similar STEAM related experiments at home.

While the program was all about getting children of all ages excited about learning and experimenting with science, Escuder, a former teacher herself, admits she had just as much fun at each “Mad Science” station and coming up with the different projects.

Julie Gridley said her son, six-year-old Aiden, was more than ready for the “Mad Science” event. The family is new to the county and was looking for activities for Aiden.

“We were debating what to do. We were going to go to the science center, but we ran out of time and all day he was, ‘let’s do mad science,’ so we were excited to make it,” Julie Gridley said.

 Grace Rhymer liked the strong educational element wrapped up into every station.

Her children, 11-year-old Ava and 9-year-old Avery, are homeschooled so she’s always looking for similar events.

“Especially if you’re doing it on your own, you need to reach out as much as you can to learn about these opportunities,” Grace Rhymer said.

She’s taken her children to coding classes at the Ridgeview Branch of the Hickory Public Library system as well.

Ava Rhymer said making the slime was her favorite “Mad Science” station.

“I do it all the time at home,” she said. “I like to do experiments and see what happens.”

Her brother Avery enjoyed seeing the reaction when they made their own version of a lava lamp with oil, water and food coloring. Both liked the fact that these kinds of events help them figure out what they enjoy doing and what they don’t when it comes to learning about science.

The four stations kids got to work on during at the Southwest Branch “Mad Science” event included building an electrical circuit with special homemade play dough as the conductive material to light up a pumpkin.

They got to learn how spiders spin webs in an orb pattern and built their own with marshmallows and toothpicks.

The kids moved on to the slime making project next. They used basic ingredients like glue, water and borax to create their slimy concoction and then topped it off with a spider.

The last stop was learning about chemical reactions mixing cooking oil, water, food coloring and an effervescent tablet to create a mini lava lamp.

For more information about other events at any of the Catawba County Library branches, visit or call 828-465-8664.

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