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Trailblazing a way to STEM subjects


The Bandera Public Library hosted the Science and Technology Trailer, “Trailblazer I” on Thursday, June 22, from 10 am-2 pm. The 40-foot custom trailer houses a variety of hands-on engineering and science exhibits targeted at students in grades 3-8. It is the only interactive science museum-on-wheels in Texas.
The Trailblazer featured five hands-on activities centered on energy, aerodynamics, space science, weather and biotechnology. It was free to everyone thanks to a grant the library received from the Tocker Foundation in collaboration the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering. (T.A.M.E.) 
“Attendance exceeded expectations,” Bandera Library director Mike Garr said. “About 135 participants visited the exhibit during a four-hour visit to the community.”
“I was first made aware of the Trailblazer and the Tocker Foundation grant to support it by the Medina Community Library — so I want to thank them,” Garr said. “This wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t share resources. The assistant librarian up there, Alison Harbour, put all this together initially and we all benefited.”
The success of the event could not have been accomplished without the active involvement of nine volunteers and three library staff members either. They rotated through a two-hour shift at one of the stations or as a greeter to the visitors.
Approximately 60 students came from the boys and Girls Club of Bandera and another dozen who were attending the first session of the Bandera Library Summer Reading Program. The Summer Reading program meets during the next five weeks, every Thursday from 10:30 am to noon, in the downstairs portion of the Library and is focusing on its’ message of “Building a Better World.”
The Trailblazer visited the Medina Library on Tuesday, June 20. When asked how it went, library assistant Alison Harbour replied in an email:
“It was awesome. Everyone who went loved it. Jace loved the robot arm. Beau said he liked learning about tornadoes. Conner's favorite was space. Emma did not know you could crank something to get it to work. Hailey liked learning about bees in medicine. Ahnika learned about how air travels. Stella liked it so much she went through 3 times. Anthony came into the library after his visit and I asked him what he liked best. He replied 'WEATHER!' and then checked out books about weather. Several non fiction science books were checked by kids who visited the Trailblazer."