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Kids to learn about the power of wind at Cooper-Siegel Library program

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Jan Pakler | Trib Total Media
Cooper-Siegel librarian Christine Aftanis, left, shows Wendy Moore and Leah McConnell, both 9, windmills that they will be making on Friday at the Wacky Weather program.

Cooper-Siegel librarian Christine Aftanas is using the wondrous powers of wacky weather to fuel children's interests in science.

“They're having fun learning about windmills and electricity, and they don't even realize that's science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills,” she said.

Aftanas will host “Wacky Weather: Wind” from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday at the library along Fox Chapel Road. The program is free for children ages 5 and older.

Participants will conduct several crafts that focus on the powers of wind.

They will create a parachute, windsock and windmill.

“We'll talk about wind in regards to plants and pollination and the fact that people can use it to spin turbines to generate electricity,” Aftanas said.

“They'll make that connection with science and not realize it,” she said.

The class is the third in the library's summer weather series and follows earlier sessions on sun and rain.

“For the class on sunshine, we darkened the room and took a beach ball and a flashlight to show how the sun creates a shadow,” Aftanas said.

The programs are meant to align with the Fox Chapel Area School District's push toward science in the curriculum, said Susan Herald, head of the children's department at the library.

It also fits with the library's STEM-related summer reading theme, “Fizz, Boom, Read.”

Herald said students in the weather class will perform easy experiments and play games related to wind.

Aftanas will suggest books to take home.

Similarly, the library offered a robotics session earlier this week to introduce students to engineering and design.

Hosted by the Girls of Steel robotics team from the Fox Chapel Area High School, students were able to operate a robot and participate in other science-related projects.

Herald said both programs are meant to support an early interest in science and math and build self-confidence and leadership skills.

“We want them to get their thinking caps on and have fun,” Aftanas said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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