By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterFebruary 8, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Fort Rucker Center Library is designed to be a place where people can expand their minds and get creative, and children have the opportunity to do just that through one of the library's most popular events.
The Mad Scientist Workshop returns to the center library Feb. 15 in two sessions -- 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. -- with a focus on engineering and creativity, according to Cameron Hill, Center Library youth librarian.
"For this workshop, we'll be making Wiggle Bots, which children will be able to create using a motor and a battery to create their little robot," she said.
The workshop is for children ages 7-12, and like all previous workshops centers around the STEAM program, which encompasses science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. Hill said it's important for children to learn the concepts behind the things that they create.
"Anybody can just follow instructions and do a project, but actually learning while you go helps to reinforce what you're doing and why," she said.
"(The children) will learn about engineering concepts through building because they're going to be making these things on their own," said the youth librarian. "We'll provide the materials but it's up to them what they want (their robot) to look like or how they want it to move. We'll have some examples that they can go by, but it's up to them on what they want it to be."
The children can further customize their robots by adding markers to create scribble bots, as well, which will move around creating scribbles wherever they go, Hill said, adding that although the workshop is expected to be fun for the children, the lesson is centered on learning and having a sense of accomplishment from creating something.
"Just the feeling that you get in creating something and the fact that it works if very satisfying -- I know because I did it and I was excited that my robot worked," said the youth librarian. "It's just very satisfying and it enhances the creativity of the child and the imagination, and it's something different."
This month will mark one year since the library's first Mad Scientist Workshop, and since its inception has become increasingly popular, which is why Hill said it's important to continue to challenge children's minds through various events at the library.
"There is a large response and I've heard from patrons who are very appreciative of all the programs we have here, so we try to give patrons of all ages something to do while they're here," she said. "Some people are just passing through or others have just gotten here, and all the time I see or hear people ask what there is to do around here, and I always just want to tell them about the library."
Adrienne Carter, military spouse, brought her oldest son, Colton, to a previous Mad Scientist Workshop and said she was appreciative that the activities are more than just about providing something for children to do, but a learning opportunity that will stick with them.
"It's great that they actually teach the science behind instead of it just being an arts and crafts session," she said. "They actually get to learn about the science, which is great. My son loves science, so I knew it would be a great program for him. Cameron does great programs here for all ages."
Hill said being able to bridge that gap between fun and learning is vital to get children to understand a lot of these important scientific concepts.
Parents must register their children to participate and can do so by either visiting the center library or calling. Space is limited to 15 children per session, so Hill encourages people to register as soon as possible.
For more information on the workshop or to register, call 255-3885.