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Learning by playing
Go Figure! exhibit tests kids’ summertime math skills
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

July 10. 2014 6:00AM
There’s some big books at the Brandon Community Library this month that are adding up to some summertime learning fun!

The traveling exhibit, Go Figure! is at the Brandon Community Library through July. The exhibit was created to introduce simple math concepts to children using familiar storybook characters and encourages parents and children to share hands-on math activities.

Brandon Librarian Alysia Boysen said the exhibit is geared to kids 2-8 years of age, but in the first week, she’s found older siblings interacting with their younger brothers and sisters as they go through the challenges with them.

“This one (exhibit) is geared toward math, and that fits in well with our theme of science this summer,” she said.

This year’s summer reading program theme is “Fizz, Boom Read!”

Sisters Brianna, 6, and Haley Deblieck, 4, of Brandon, spent some time with their grandmother, Julie Bixby at the library one evening last week. That’s when the two discovered the interactive Go Figure! exhibit.

“They thought it was so cool,” Bixby said. “When they got here, they ran from one display to another.”

And it was cool enough that girls wanted to come back for a second go-around with the exhibit.

“I like it because it’s colorful and it’s cool that you can build with it,” Brianna says of the quilt squares challenge, which, ironically so, was also her younger sister’s favorite.

The exhibit is also doubling as a sisterly bonding experience.

“Brianna is actually helping her little sister learn some early math skills,” Bixby says as she watches from the sidelines. “I like to watch them when they get along, and it’s so fun to bring the kids here.”

Ethan Wright, 12, of Brandon, was entertaining his 4-year-old cousin, Katelyn Hardesty, from Colorado, during a visit here. He brought her to the library, and together, the two tested out each of the Go Figure! challenges.

“I think this is nice for the little kids,” Wright said. “It helps them learn, and especially for her, she’s going kindergarten.”

And that’s the intention, Boysen said.

“They’re playing without even realizing that they’re learning,” she said. “We’re hoping by doing this that help keeps them reading and from taking that ‘summer slide.’ ”
The Go Figure! traveling exhibit is at the Brandon Community through the end of July. And you can bet the Deblieck sisters will be back before it goes.

“They really do love the library,” Bixby says. “Maybe part of it is that I work here but they truly do love the program.”

The exhibit was made possible by a grant from the Brandon Community Foundation.
“Because of the Foundation, we are able to do extra things for Brandon that we normally wouldn’t be able to do,” Boysen said. “And without them, we wouldn’t be able to have this display.”

Sisters Haley and Brianna Deblieck try out the quilt challenge of the Go Figure! traveling exhibit that's at the Brandon Community Library through the end of July. Photo by Jill Meier

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