STEM literacy backpacks now at local libraries

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Northwest Iowa families can now visit six libraries throughout the region and check out STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) educational backpacks created by Iowa State University students and sponsored by local county extension councils and the Excellence in Extension grant received through Dr. Connie Beecher and Dr. Sara Nelson from Iowa State University.

The STEM backpacks are available at the George, Hull, Sibley, Sanborn, Everly and Milford Public Libraries, with each library having four different backpack kits.

"Each library received a 'Slinky Science' backpack, 'Bee and Me' backpack, 'Curious Coding' backpack and 'Fabulous Five Senses' backpack," Mackenzie DeJong, the Human Sciences Program coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach in Sioux, O’Brien, Lyon and Osceola Counties, said. "Each library is free to determine their own plan for checkout and use."

Every kit contains two children's books — one fiction and one nonfiction — as well as an activity outline for children and their parents to follow. Families will also find the materials required for each STEM activity in the kit.

"The kits are designed to encourage hands-on learning and literacy in each of the STEM areas," Sue Boettcher, Dickinson County Human Sciences Program coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach, said. "This makes them a great and fun tool for at-home learning."

For more information on the backpacks and how to check them out, DeJong and Boettcher encourage families to contact the local library.

For more information on the STEM backpack program, contact DeJong at 712-737-4230 or

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