Exploratorium: Magic

It’s that time of year when things start to appear magical, so what better time to get the kids involved in creating a bit of magic of their own.

Our next Exploratorium on Wednesday, Nov 15 at 2:00pm-3:30pm features Magician, Mark Yeager who will do a magic workshop for children in K-5th grades. This is a great opportunity for children to learn some slight of hand and other magical tricks they can do on their own. If they get hooked, let the magic grow by taking a look at our many magic books we have available to be checked out.

Miss Christina

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Coding

Coding. That’s something with computers, right? But what’s this about young children doing coding? It turns out, coding is just a way of thinking that we start doing at an early age. I’ve just let the term “code” freak me out. There are many ways for a child to develop those coding skills without looking at a computer for those parents wishing to limit screen time. Being surrounded by technology, learning how to code becomes more and more necessary in life and just like a foreign language, it is easier to learn at an early age. That’s because creating a code is like a language –  a special language that tells a computer or robot what to do. Turn left, go straight. clap three times. Coding helps children with problem solving and logic. The ability to direct technology instead of just using it, builds confidence and skills that will help children later on in school and in careers where there is more and more demand for technology.

At our November 1st Exploratorium we started with very basic coding concepts using a variety of coding kits that will be available to try out in the Children’s Dept the week of Thanksgiving and then will be available to check out at a later date. This is a great way for your child to get started with the concept of coding before purchasing items that are more complicated. Some of the new items we have available include:

 

Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar, Cubetto Educational Coding Robot, Learning Resources Learning Essentials Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity Set and an Ozobot.

A basic game to play with your child that demonstrates coding basics at no cost is a form of Simon Says. Simon says, if I clap my hands, then you stomp your feet. Or, if I nod my head, then you nod your head. Simon is the programmer, everyone else in the group becomes the computer.

Ready for something more complex? Place a black checker somewhere towards the far side of a checkerboard. Place a few red checkers on the board to act as obstacles. Place another black checker in the lower left corner of the board. Now direct the lower left black checker to the other black checker using only these simple directions: Go Forward, Turn Right, Turn Left, Repeat. The checker can move only 1 square at a time. It does not matter if the square is black or red.

An example:

Go Forward

Repeat

Repeat

Turn Right

Go Forward

Turn Left

Go Forward

Repeat

 

Continue until you reach the black checker. Write down the instructions, step by step.

Now place the black checker back to the lower left corner and follow your written instructions. Did it work? If it didn’t, go back and figure out where you went wrong and try again. If it did work, then you just wrote your first piece of successful code!

 

In January we will have another coding program for Exploratorium that will be a bit more advanced than last weeks program. In the meantime stop by the children’s desk to try out the basic coding program kits we have.

Miss Christina

Holiday Reading Traditions

As we get nearer to Christmas, I’m gearing up for one of my favorite holiday traditions with my kiddos- 25 days of Christmas books! I love making reading an integral part of our family traditions, and this is a truly meaningful way for us to both celebrate the season, expand our love of books, and bond together in shared reading. Every year, come November, I pull out my box of Christmas books, gathered over the years from Goodwill raids, yard sale finds, hand-me downs and library book sales. It’s surprisingly easy to find amazing Christmas books on the cheap, especially in November, before the holiday rush really picks up steam, so start your collection now! I wrap up each one, and starting December first, every evening, my Ruby and Edwin each get a book to unwrap and read before bedtime. As the years have passed, they treat the return of each book like the return of a long- lost friend, so excited to see and read them again. Our lives are so rushed, it’s hard to squeeze in meaningful holiday traditions, and while this is a small one, it means so much to all of us and is such a simple way to celebrate the season together.

So pull out your Christmas books, wrap them up, and start counting down to Christmas!

literary-advent-6

Miss Janna

Nursery Rhyme Time: Humpty Dumpty

 

 

Humpy Dumpty sat on a wall…

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall….

Can you complete the rhyme?  We find that many adults are not familiar with children’s  nursery rhymes anymore, but there are good reasons that they should be!

Learning nursery rhymes help children develop language and vocabulary – and help them form the foundation for learning to rhyme words on their own.  Many nursery rhymes also contain phrases that start with words that all have the same beginning sounds, so this helps children begin to become aware of the sounds of their language.

As children learn these traditional rhymes, they exercise and stretch their memory skills, which helps them prepare to memorize future materials, such as the alphabet, sight words, or math facts.

So, brush up on your nursery rhymes, and teach them to your children!

To get you started, here’s the full rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the King’s horses,

And all the King’s men,

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

To extend the fun of learning the rhyme, here’s a craft you can make with your child. I created the pattern based off this craft my son Adam made over 20 years ago!

  1. Color and cut out the Humpty Dumpty body and legs.
  2. Color a sheet of paper to resemble a wall.
  3. Glue Humpty’s legs to the wall.
  4. Attach Humpty’s body to the legs with a brad.
  5. As you say the rhyme Humpty can swivel as he falls!

Have fun! To learn more, here are links to good web articles on why nursery rhymes are important:

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/nursery-rhymes-not-just-babies

http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/reading-language/reading-tips/the-surprising-meaning-and-benefits-of-nursery-rhymes/

https://www.themeasuredmom.com/10-reasons-why-kids-need-to-know-nursery-rhymes/

Miss Teresa

Building Bridges

 

Did you realize how many different types of bridges we have in the Quad Cities?

Since designing the Exploratorium Building Bridges program, I keep looking at bridges, explaining to my very patient husband that the footbridge he just crossed over was a beam bridge and the strengths and weaknesses of that type of bridge. All this time I just thought bridges were “pretty” or “ugly” because of their design. I never thought there was a reason for the style of bridge or to really think about the amazing amount of weight these bridges have to carry. It’s been an eye opener.

It all started with the model of the new I-74 bridge that is currently located in our lobby. I thought this would be a great time to do a STEAM program on bridges and how they are built.

At the program we observed what made a design strong with 4 different type of bridges. At the end, everyone designed their own bridge that would be strong enough to hold an apple. If you want to try these at home, they are very simple.

 

Beam Bridge

Supplies: 2 even stacks of books, 2 pieces of card stock, scissors, tape and weights. Weights can be anything the same size like small blocks or other toys that are the same size and weight that will not roll away from you or break.

Place a piece of cardstock on the two stacks of books so it looks like a bridge. Now begin adding weights, one at a time. How many weights did you add before the bridge collapsed?

Now create 2 piers from the 2nd sheet of card stock by rolling up the cardstock into a tube and taping it. Cut the tube into 2, sizing them so it fits under the “road” of your bridge. Place the 2 tubes or piers under the bridge and start adding weight again. Did it hold more weight?

Beam bridges are simple to create and are ideal for short distances unless you have other ways to support the bridge.

 

 

Arch Bridge

Supplies: 2 even stacks of books, 2 full pieces of card stock, weights.

Recreate your beam bridge without the piers. Form the second piece of cardstock into an arch and place it under the road of the bridge. How many weights does the bridge hold? Was this more than the beam bridge without piers? With piers?

If you were to create an arch from stones or blocks, this would need tension to hold the arch together. An example of the tension in an arch is to stand facing someone about the same height as you. Both of you hold up your hands and grasp them to form an arch. Now lean forward. The force you feel where your hands meet is the same force that would hold stones together in an arch. The arch shape is able to disperse the weight to the ground or abutment of the bridge.

 

 

Truss Bridge

Supplies: 2 even stacks of books, 1 full piece of card stock, 1 piece of paper, weights.

Truss bridges get their strength from a framework made of triangles. Triangles are much stronger than squares or rectangles because they can move the pressure of the road load from a single point to a much wider area.

Recreate your beam bridge. Remember how many weights it would hold?

Now fold your piece of paper like you would a fan. Spread it out and place it under your road so it spans the bridge. Now try adding weight. Does it hold more?

Why do you think the fanned paper was helpful? Would it work if it were a flat sheet of paper?

 

Suspension Bridge

Supplies: a long piece of cardboard about 4 ft long for the road. It may be bent. A hole punch, 2 chairs with an open back, pipe cleaners, 2 long pieces of cord about 12-14 ft long and some weights – we used 4 Lego blocks.

I found this bridge fascinating. It seems impossible that two pieces of cord can hold up a bridge!

 

Place the chairs back to back. Place the strings parallel to each other over the chairs so that the ends go over the front of each chair and reach the floor. If it helps for set up, tape the cords to the top of the chairs. Just be certain to take off the tape when the bridge is assembled. Tie the ends of your string to your weights and pull the weights away from the chairs to make the cords taught. Punch holes on either side of the cardboard, 3-4 on each side, evenly spaced out. You do not need to have holes on the far ends of the cardboard. Attach a pipe cleaner to each hole by threading it through the hole and twisting the end to the pipe cleaner. Place the ends of the cardboard on the seats of the chairs. You may need to support the cardboard until you have the pipe cleaners in place. Next, hook the pipe cleaners onto the cords.  Now you can pull the road support away and take off the tape.

Try putting on a toy car on the bridge. Does it hold?

What happens if you move the weights closer to the bridge?

What if you have fewer pipe cleaners? No pipe cleaners?

Can you determine what is supporting the weight?

 

 

When I started designing this program, I didn’t know the first thing about bridges, however, through the books and kits we have at the library plus the Internet, I developed a great respect for the bridges I see every day. Which is a lot of bridges!

It turns out the Quad Cities has many examples of the different types of bridges. When you cross a bridge, see if you can determine what kind it is: Beam, Arch – Tied Arch, Suspension, Truss, Swing, or Cable-Stayed.

And the next time you come into the library, be certain to check out the new I-74 bridge model in the lobby. It’s awesome!

Miss Christina

 

Maker Invasion!

Makers final 2

Miss Janna