STEAM Vault

Recommended books and media from
Cambridge Public Library & Cambridge Science Festival

Virtual Vault

Explore the world from home. Check back for updates and fresh offerings! 

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Biogen
Looking for science experiments you can do at home? You’ve come to the right place. We are an extension of Biogen’s on-site Community Labs in Cambridge, Massachusetts and RTP, North Carolina. Here you will find video resources to help you learn more about science. Let us know how your experiments are going and what other experiments you would like to see us demonstrate.

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Mari Wicks
Have you ever wanted to build a coral reef from scratch? Well, now you can! (But it’ll be out of paper, not ACTUAL corals…) A fun activity inspired by the book “Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean.”

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Breakthrough Prize Foundation
The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is an annual global competition for students to inspire creative thinking about science. Students ages 13 to 18 from countries across the globe are invited to create and submit original videos (3:00 minutes in length maximum) that bring to life a concept or theory in the life sciences, physics or mathematics. This year, there is an additional COVID-19 category. The submissions are judged on the student’s ability to communicate complex scientific ideas in engaging, illuminating, and imaginative ways. The Challenge is organized by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation.

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MIT J-WEL
MIT FULL STEAM Ahead is a collection of resources that MIT is putting together for teaching and learning online during the COVID-19 pandemic. MIT is curating existing resources for K-12, higher education, and workforce learners, as well as provide a weekly package of relevant materials for K-12 students and teachers.

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Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
Nature can be a powerful antidote to all the uncertainty and disruptions that we find ourselves living in at the moment. Children especially can find comfort in activities that mirror the normal routines of school or daycare. For example, plenty of free play time outdoors is like having recess, and doing tasks, observations, and projects in the outdoors is like having science or center time in the classroom. Daily nature tasks that are simple, varied, and open-ended enough that children of all ages can participate at their own level. Get outside everyday and let the healing power of the natural world work its magic!

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MIT Press
MIT Press Live! will focus on timely topics and offer education and enrichment at a time when our usual sources are unavailable and many of us are confined to our homes. Events will cover topics such as critical thinking during a time of crisis; concentration in times of distraction; and navigating a pandemic-struck world. The series will also include talks and workshops on the great material revolutions of the last two centuries, extraterrestrials, and more.

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Millipore Sigma
We are passionate about inspiring the next generation of scientists. We typically work to accomplish this through a variety of programs including SPARK, Curiosity Labs™ and the Curiosity Cube®, but as many families are home for a prolonged period of time, we wanted to help bring a little curiosity to you at home. We’ve created a number of easy and educational science experiments that can be completed at home with materials typically found around the house.

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Mass Audubon
Nature is everywhere! You don’t need to look further than your own backyard, neighborhood, or local park to discover the amazing wonders of the natural world. Find games, videos and citizen science activities and more for your back yard naturalist.

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Science Club for Girls
Join weekly STEAM activities with #SCFGathome. The SCFC mission is to foster excitement, confidence and literacy in STEM for girls, particularly those from underrepresented communities by providing free, experiential programs and by maximizing meaningful interactions with women STEM mentors.

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NASA
“What you cannot imagine, you cannot do”. Now imagine Astronauts on the Space Station reading stories to and conducting science experiments for the children of Earth as the world rotates below. Imagine no more…it’s Story Time from Space!

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National Park Services
Watch the famous brown bears of Brooks River, go on a live dive in Channel Islands, or take a peek in a Bald Eagle’s Nest.

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Google
Explore more from the National Park Service. Enjoy panoramic views of famous sites in 360˚ Street View tours.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium
Be delighted by the antics of the sea otters or mellow out to the hypnotic drifting of the jellies. With ten live cams to choose from, you can experience the wonder of the ocean no matter where you are.

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NASA
Access Mars lets anyone with an internet connection take a guided tour of what those scientists experience.

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Ed Levine
An award-winning destination for millions of passionate, discerning, curious, and hungry readers around the world. Serious Eats is a leading resource for all things food and drink: meticulously tested recipes that really work; in-depth, science-based explanations of cooking techniques that are truly reliable; detailed reviews of cooking equipment; guides to ingredients, dishes, and cuisines; and food-focused essays, investigations, and profiles.

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Sophia Tyler Shrand
Science With Sophie is a STEM video series for girls and everyone. Tune in, get your science on, and laugh out loud!

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Kodable
Kodable is one of the best programming app for kids to teaching basic to complex level programme procedures. Kodable provides easy to follow lesson plans focused on student outcomes so teachers can teach their students to code, no computer science knowledge required.

Kids Vault

Keep the community healthy. Stay home, stay safe, and stay entertained! 

We worked with our friends at Cambridge Public Library to come up with a fun list of books, podcasts, programs, and virtual experiences for you to explore.  Have fun & Stay curious!

Kids' Books
Kids' Podcasts

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Andrew & Polly
It’s a podcast for kids about the world. Andrew & Polly and their friends consider music, science, art and culture in a fun-filled family-friendly podcast that parents enjoy and younger kids eat right up.

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Hi, I’m Earth Ranger Emma! I’m a wildlife biologist and roaming reporter for the Earth Rangers podcast, the brand-new show for everyone who loves to explore the mysteries of nature. Come with me as I explore the deep jungle, the frozen Arctic and splash around some wetlands, all in the name of science!

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Jonathan Messinger
FINN CASPIAN HAS HAD BETTER BIRTHDAYS. He can’t sleep, he can’t shake the feeling someone is following him, and he can’t stop the monsters who show up to smash his cake. In other words, it’s turning out to be more exciting than he expected. That’s all in the first few episodes of this award-winning, serialized podcast for kids. Finn, his friends and their pet robots aboard the Famous Marlowe 280 Interplanetary Exploratory Space Station discover uncharted planets, help aliens in far-off galaxies, and take tips from listeners back on Earth as they try to solve the universe’s great mysteries.

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Vermont Public Radio
But Why is a show led by you, kids! You ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there.On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world.Have a question? Send it to us! Adults, use your smartphone’s memo function or an audio app to record your kid’s question (get up nice and close so we can hear). Be sure to include: your child’s first name, age and town. And then email the audio file to questions@butwhykids.org.

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Carl Smith, Molly Daniels & Dr. Matt Beard
SHORT & CURLY is a fast-paced fun-filled ethics podcast for kids and their parents, with questions and ideas to really get you thinking. It asks curly questions about animals, technology, school, pop culture and the future.

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Mr. Eric
What If World is a storytelling podcast for kids. What if a tiny dragon lived in my closet? What if there were a never-ending bowl of ice cream? What if cats ruled the world? Join Abacus P Grumbler, Randall Radbot, and Whendiana Joan as they help Mr. Eric tell wacky stories inspired by your questions! Call to leave a voicemail at 205-605-WHAT and be featured on the show.

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Lindsay Patterson & Marshall Escamilla
Tumble is a science podcast for kids, to be enjoyed by the entire family. We tell stories about science discoveries, with the help of scientists! Join Lindsay and Marshall as they ask questions, share mysteries, and share what science is all about.

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National Public Radio
Hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz guide curious kids and their grown-ups on a journey into the wonders of the world around them. We’ll go inside our brains, out into space and deep into the coolest new stories in science and technology.

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America’s Test Kitchen
Where food meets fun, three times a week! In this new podcast from America’s Test Kitchen Kids, kids AND their grown-ups will uncover the fun, fantastical, and fascinating sides of food. Each ingredient-themed episode builds to a grand finale: a mystery recipe cook-along. Get excited about cooking (and eating) by digging into the deliciously silly and unexpectedly educational.

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American Public Media
Brains On! is an award-winning audio show for kids and families. Each week, a different kid co-host joins Molly Bloom to find answers to fascinating questions about the world. Our mission is to encourage kids’ natural curiosity and wonder using science and history…but there’s no age limit on curiosity, and episodes of Brains On can be enjoyed by anyone.
Kids' Movies & Television

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MIT Nord Anglia Collaboration
Hello, world! We are your Curiosity Correspondents, bringing the cool research taking place at MIT straight to your screens. We are based at the MIT Museum at MIT.

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NOVA
Bizarre stories from the slimy, smelly, creepy world of science. Gross Science from NOVA is produced by WGBH for PBS Digital Studios.

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PBS Kids
Earth science and astronomy take center stage in this animated series from PBS Kids. Two neighborhood kids — Sean and Sydney — befriend the new kid on the block, Jet Propulsion, who just happens to be an alien from planet Bortron 7. Together they explore the solar system and how it affects the planet, while also learning about friendship and teamwork. The series features live-action interstitials with astronomer Dr. Amy Mainzer.

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Amazon
A blue fox named Fig and his friends go on adventures and learn how things work in the world.

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Eleven-year old genius and kid-scientist Anne has invented and built her own amazing androids. Nick discovers Anne’s secret junkyard laboratory and enlists the help of Shania to befriend Anne and her mechanical companions.

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Jim Henson Company
In Doozer Creek, a self-sustainable community located just outside the view of humans, members of the Doozer Pod Squad design, create and innovate different things. Whether they’re designing a racecar or building a giant gingerbread house, the Doozers work together to solve problems. Young Spike Doozer pushes the other members of the team — including younger sister Daisy Wheel, pilot Flex and organization guru Molly Bolt — into action. The preschool series is based on characters from “Fraggle Rock,” a show that was popular in the 1980s.

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Paramount
Buckle up for an epic adventure where anything is possible. A young girl named June with a big imagination makes an incredible discovery — the amusement park of her dreams has come to life. Filled with the world’s wildest rides and operated by fun-loving animals, the excitement never ends. But when trouble hits, June and her misfit team of furry friends begin an unforgettable journey to save the park.

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PBS Kids
This animated series centers on house cat Fred, a dreamer of the great outdoors. Once his family leaves for the day, Fred becomes Nature Cat and with the help of his animal friends, he embarks on action-packed adventures that allow him to explore the natural world.

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PBS Kids
The daily adventures of 10-year-old Alaska native Molly Mabray, her family, her dog Suki and her friends Tooey and Trini.

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PBS Kids
Professor Fizzy is the Lunch Lab’s funny host who serves up a fun mix of nutrition information, healthy eating tips, and simple recipes — all while trying to foil the efforts of his evil nemesis Fast Food Freddy. Created around monthly themes, the site releases a new animated short video each week as well as a corresponding recipe for kids and their parents to enjoy. A variety of supplemental nutrition-based activities are available to extend the learning into the home.

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PBS Kids
After being warped into Cyberspace from a library computer, Matt leads friends Jackie and Inez as Cybersquad. With live hosts Bianca and Harry, the team must protect Motherboard from the evil Hacker who wants to rule Cyberspace. Using gadgets and following clues, the team solves math mysteries and any other problem that comes their way.

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PBS Kids
Designed to show kids that engineering is active, fun and collaborative, “Design Squad” brings together eight high schoolers, working together in two groups of four, to tackle engineering projects for actual clients. On each episode, the teams have two days to design, build, test and redesign their product before one team’s creation is declared best, and the teams are then reconfigured for the next task. In the finale, the top two scorers over the previous 12 episodes face one last challenge, with the winner awarded a $10,000 scholarship.

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PBS Kids
“SciGirls” tries to get tween girls, ages 8 to 12, interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, STEM for short. Each episode follows a group of middle school girls who are eager to find answers to their questions while inspiring kids to explore the world around them and discover that science and technology are everywhere. The girls, with the help of scientific mentors, design their own investigations on topics ranging from the environment to engineering and nutrition. The show’s website is integrated into the episodes with archived projects from the site being featured on the show.

Teens & Adults Vault

Books, podcasts, and programs to keep you entertained while you stay home. Need a break from your family and roommates? Pop in your earphones and escape with your curiosity.

Stay home, stay safe, stay curious!

Teen & Adult Books
Teen & Adult Podcasts

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Josh and Chuck
If you’ve ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

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Stephen J. Dubner
Discover the hidden side of everything with Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics books. Each week, Freakonomics Radio tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do) — from the economics of sleep to how to become great at just about anything. Dubner speaks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, and various other underachievers. Special features include series like “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.” as well as a live game show, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.”

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Erin Welsh and Erin Allmann Updyke
This podcast might not actually kill you, but it covers so many things that can. Each episode tackles a different disease, from its history, to its biology, and finally, how scared you need to be. Ecologists and epidemiologists Erin Welsh and Erin Allmann Updyke make infectious diseases acceptable fodder for dinner party conversation and provide the perfect cocktail recipe to match.

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WNYC
A two-time Peabody Award-winner, Radiolab is an investigation told through sounds and stories, and centered around one big idea. In the Radiolab world, information sounds like music and science and culture collide. Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, the show is designed for listeners who demand skepticism, but appreciate wonder. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin.

Science Vs

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Gimlet
There are a lot of fads, blogs and strong opinions, but then there’s SCIENCE. Science Vs is the show from Gimlet Media that finds out what’s fact, what’s not, and what’s somewhere in between. We do the hard work of sifting through all the science so you don’t have to.

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Damon Krukowski
Ways of Hearing from is a six-part series, originally heard on Showcase, hosted by musician Damon Krukowski (Galaxie 500, Damon & Naomi), exploring the nature of listening in our digital world. Each episode looks at a different way that the switch from analog to digital audio is influencing our perceptions, changing our ideas of Time, Space, Love, Money, Power and Noise. This is about sound, and the ways we are using it to share information in the world right now. Our voices carry further than they ever did before, thanks to digital media. But how are they being heard?

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WNYC
Covering the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies, Science Friday is the trusted source for news about science, technology, and other cool stuff. Host Ira Flatow mixes it up by featuring people in the know and those who want to be. Science Friday frequently features listeners that call in with their most riveting science questions.
Teen & Adult Movies & Television

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HBO
Produced by Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio, George DiCaprio and Mathew Schmid and directed by Leila Conners, Ice on Fire is an eye-opening documentary that focuses on many never-before-seen solutions designed to slow down our escalating environmental crisis. The film goes beyond the current climate change narrative and offers hope that we can actually stave off the worst effects of global warming.

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Siena Construction
Great vision happens when art, science, and community come together. Explore the interplay between light and dark in a 10-foot diameter camera obscura built by Siena Construction! Video produced for the 2019 Cambridge Science Festival.

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National Geographic
One Strange Rock is a thrilling journey exploring the fragility and wonder of our planet, one of the most peculiar, unique places in the universe. It’s the extraordinary story of why life as we know it exists on Earth, brought into perspective by the only people to have left it behind: astronauts. This 10-part series was filmed in 45 countries, on six continents, and from outer space. Take a trip through and beyond our planet, revealing the twists of fate that have allowed life to thrive on Earth.

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National Geographic
Join the heroic quest for knowledge as we set course for the stars with the 21st century reboot of Cosmos. Hosted by world-renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, this 13-part ground-breaking series will venture to new worlds, trace our roots back to the hearts of ancient stars, and travel across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale.

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Theodore Melfi
Hidden Figures tells the incredible untold story of Katherine Jonson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) – brilliant African-American women working at NASA who served as the brains behind the launch into orbit of astronaut John Glenn, a stunning achievement that turned around the Space Race. The visionary trio crossed all gender and racial line and inspired generations.

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Ronin Films
From rooftop farmers to backyard beekeepers, Americans are growing food like never before. Growing Cities tells the inspiring stories of these intrepid urban farmers, innovators, and everyday city-dwellers who are challenging the way the USA grows and distributes its food. From those growing food in backyards to make ends meet, to educators teaching kids to eat healthier, viewers discover urban farmers are harvesting a whole lot more than simply good food.

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Jason Ward
Jason Ward has been an avid birdwatcher since he was a kid growing up in the Bronx, where he spotted a peregrine falcon eating a pigeon on a ledge outside his bedroom window. Join him as he travels around the United States meeting birders and bird enthusiasts of all kinds.

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GZA (The Genius ) & Red Bull
One of the founding members of the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, GZA, aka ‘The Genius’, takes us on a journey, meeting with the scientists and engineers that are shaping our future and bringing us into the strange complexity of his own imagination.

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