What do you get when you mix white glue, shaving cream, liquid starch and baby oil, then swirl it around with a squeeze of saline solution and top it off with neon glow power? Glow-in-the-dark slime, of course.
Glow-in-the-dark slime, fuzzy slime, and basic slime were the gooey projects Olathe teens tackled during a STEAM event held July 13 at the Olathe Teen Commons. The Commons was a laughter-filled chemistry lab for the afternoon as attendees stirred, squeezed, squashed, and molded their slime concoctions into the slippery results they were looking for.
Angela Parks, Olathe Public Library’s Teen Services Supervisor, led the afternoon’s sticky activities.
“Teens enjoy these classes so much,” Parks said. “The majority of them do not realize they are learning because they are having so much fun.”
Though they were having lots of fun experimenting with their slime projects, several attendees also have their eyes on the future and sights set on STEAM-related careers. Reese Brittain, 11, of Spring Hill, plans to work at NASA as a rocket designer. Best buds Aryn Nair, 11, and Meirah Paul, 12, love science and are both looking toward medical school down the road.
Hosted at various library branches, the Olathe Public Library has held STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math) events since 2010, and Parks has planned and directed the Library’s teen programming since 2008.
The wide array of STEAM events includes activities such as stop-motion and green screen animation, bookmaking, engineering, math, design, culinary arts projects, and more. “The arts spur creativity, which is needed in science and engineering,” Parks said. “Further, many of our arts events held at the Downtown Library’s Makerspace require science, math and engineering skills. Often, the connection between all of these skills is not recognized.”
Scheduled throughout the year, the goal of Olathe’s STEAM program is to attract young people of varying interests. In addition, the program offers a place for youth to come together who share common interests, while giving them an opportunity to make new friends and create community.
“Teens are often misunderstood,” Parks said. “I love working with them and being their advocate. I like to provide these educational and recreational programs to help them during this sometimes awkward transition in life.”
The Olathe Public Library’s STEAM and Makerspace events are free to all metropolitan Kansas City-area youth in sixth through 12th grade. For more information or to register by phone, call 913-971-6888. Upcoming STEAM events include Robotics on July 27, and Tie Dye Lab, Aug. 10.