Thursday, August 29, 2013

More Summer Outreach: DoIT ITA!

They're not quite in high school yet, but this August Madison-area ninth graders participating in University of Wisconsin's DoIT ITA program are already preparing for college courses.

DoIT is University of Wisconsin-Madison's Division of Information Technology; each summer DoIT hosts a two-week Information Technology Academy (ITA) pre-college program for a group of high school freshmen from all over Madison.

As part of the ITA program, the Water Library and Steenbock Memorial Library teamed up to host an internet search strategy seminar for ITA student participants. The seminar theme was "What's in your water bottle?" and featured a whole host of activities designed to help the students learn more about searching scholarly databases while investigating the impact of bottled water.

The water bottle research guide (pictured above) helped DoIT ITA students
learn more about searching academic databases.
The seminar included a water taste test, which challenged students to choose the best-tasting water among 3 different samples. The students were also asked to guess which samples were bottled and which samples came from the library's tap. An overwhelming majority of the students preferred the taste of the library's tap water. Many were surprised by the results.

A short video about the increase of bottled water consumption was shown.

Finally, a database scavenger hunt challenged the ninth graders to find information about the growth in bottled-water consumption since 1980 and which university campuses in the US are banning the sales of bottled water. This scavenger hunt also helped introduce different scholarly databases and how to best use keyword searches.

This program is beneficial and fun for the high school participants. The Water Library is so grateful to be involved each year!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Enjoying the Summer!

With summer coming to a close, we would like to offer our readers a review of the unique outreach events that kept us busy over the past few months.

Grandparent's University: During a spell of beautiful July weather in Madison, Water Library staff had the great pleasure of joining other Wisconsin Sea Grant staff to co-present UW-Madison's Grandparent's University (GPU). Along with staff and emeritus professors from the Center for Limnology (CFL), grandchildren (ages 7 to 14) joined their grandparents to explore the Limnology "major" through hands-on activities, both on the water and in the classroom.

During the Great Lakes portion of the major (which Wisconsin Sea Grant teaches) participants joined in a rousing game of Great Lakes Trivia, much like the popular Jeopardy game on TV. They then explored Great Lakes fishes by first learning about one of the mightiest of fish - the Lake Sturgeon - then using a dichotomous key to identify some other native (and nonnative) fish found in Lake Michigan.

The third portion of the session introduced the participants to ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) and gave them an opportunity to test for buoyancy on their own personal coat hangar ROV. This young participant was the first to get her ROV to achieve neutral buoyancy:

The Water Library is already looking forward to co-presenting Grandparent's University next summer!

Story Time @ Madison Public Libraries:

During the summer (and throughout the year) we've had the pleasure of partnering with different public libraries in Southern Wisconsin where we present water-themed story times. This summer we visited two branches of Madison Public Library, Sequoya and Hawthorne. At both locations, we presented our"Sink or Swim" session which has become one of our favorites. After reading some wonderful story books - including Arthur's Dream Boat by Polly Dunbar and Boat Ride with Lillian Two Blossom by Patricia Polacco, the children got a chance to become "citizen scientists" themselves. Their experiment was to  to figure out whether certain household items (bar of soap, bendy straws, toothpicks, egg, etc) would sink or float in the water. They would make a hypothesis (Would it or wouldn't it?), test the item and then record their results. Finally, children were invited to create their own boats with kitchen sponges, bendy straws and foam sails and to test their boat to see if it would sink!

Story Time @ Cross Plains Public Library:

The library also hosted a pond-themed story time at Rosemary Garfoot Public Library in Cross Plains, Wisconsin. The children enjoyed Box Turtle at Long Pond by William T. George and other pond-themed books and then participants had the opportunity to create their own pond ecosystems:

Please contact the Water Library at if you would like us to come and visit!