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Math and Science

In 2009, we piloted our Books for Keeps “Math and Science” Program in 85 preschool and elementary school classrooms in Pittsburgh. This program takes advantage of the integrative nature of literacy, by combining math, science and reading together in a meaningful way to help address the significant achievement gap that the economically disadvantaged children in our community face.  For the past six years, we have been building upon the powerful results of this program, by integrating STEAM programming into everything we do.  
Today, STEAM-themed activities are fundamental components of both our Books for Keeps and Storymobile programs, helping to advance our mission of cultivating a life-long love of reading and learning in the children that we serve. Additionally, we have expanded our offerings of math and science-themed books and resources across all four of our programs and initiatives, helping to propel children on a path to academic success.  Both teachers and students can benefit from these resources, as our STEAM collections follow children’s growing skills from birth through their teens, and we have a generous number of materials geared specifically towards teachers. Educators can take advantage of activity guides, literacy kits, and theme bags that include books and activities for specific units such as “Transportation,” “Weather,” “Outer Space” and “Dinosaurs.” 
STEAM themes fit seamlessly into the fun and motivational environment of a Reading Celebration. In recent celebrations, children have explored space and rockets, camouflage and the animals around us, and density and buoyancy. For example, PreK children across the city exercised fundamental math and science skills in a fun “animal dice” game following a read-aloud story time of Bark George, by Jules Feiffer and It’s a Tiger by David LaRochelle. Children were able to connect the animal sounds from the book to ones incorporated in the game, while simultaneously practicing their numbers and counting! We believe these experiences will not only help our youngest students become “kindergarten ready,” by increasing print awareness, counting, and spatial skills, but it will spark their interest in subjects like space, transportation, and the natural world.    

Our Math and Science Program has increased the quality and depth of the services that RIF Pittsburgh provides and has also exposed the children to more “challenging” subject matter in a way that they embrace and enjoy. These special celebrations provide a both unique and practical way for our children to explore ideas and participate in activities to use the skills they have built in school and to begin to develop new ones. As one of our site coordinators commented, “[The students] were so excited that they didn’t even realize that they just learned science concepts!”

To try out some of our special science and math activities, click here.