Library program lets kids learn the practical side of science

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PELHAM — The library is in the midst of a 10-week program for youngsters to learn about various science subjects.

The program, designed to spark kids’ interest in science, is taught by Fred Surowiec of KnowAtom North Shore, LLC.

Last week the kids not only learned about dams, but they even designed and built their very own structures out of clay and construction pieces.

“When I was young I would imitate beavers and create my own dams at little brooks,” Surowiec said. “I would cause floods and one of my neighbors was not happy because I flooded his orchards.”

Surowiec explained to the youngsters that there are three main types of dams in the United States — gravity, buttress and arch.

“The Hoover Dam was built in 1935,” Surowiec said. “It’s an arch dam that has been around for 78 years. The arch dam is stronger than other dams because it’s curved.”

Surowiec helped the kids build their dams by cutting pieces of the clay into small slithers and applying the pressure to keep the dams together.

As the kids designed their dams, Surowiec talked about the importance of spillways.

“The water has to have a place to go,” Surowiec explained. “If the water just sits behind the dam, it will cause it to erode and eventually topple over.”

Aidan Caouette, 7, enjoys the program because of the different projects the kids build. “I like science and it seems with the projects there’s a lot of art,” Caouette said. “That’s probably why I like it; we get to build things.”

Caouette and 8-year-old Kyle Mader were both creating arched dams, while Ethan Boisvert, 7, decided to build a buttress dam using his clay and Popsicle sticks.

Caouette discovered that by rubbing the white construction pieces together, it created a powder resembling snow, adding to the decoration of his dam.

Unfortunately, the “snow” was causing the clay to not stick, so Surowiec encouraged the kids to wait until the project was completed before applying the powder.

Each of the kids wears their own safety goggles when they are building their projects and get to keep each of the models.

“Last week we built a bridge,” Caouette said. “We used toy cars, it was really cool.”

Some of the topics explored in the weekly 75-minute program include why boats float, why volcanoes erupt and what makes tornadoes occur.

For more information about the program, contact children’s librarian Debbie Laffond at 603-635-7581, ext. 3065, or visit www.knowatom.com.