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Showing posts from 2016

Light Bender

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On Nov. 18, 2016, to celebrate Young Readers League and its 2016 selection of Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley, we had a science program called "Be a Light Bender!" We had a jam-packed hour of activities exploring the physics of light and color. We did demonstrations of various phenomena, like the phosphors in a highlighter pen's ink getting excited by the ultraviolet light from a black light, and a demonstration of why the sunset looks red (the light has to travel farther through the atmosphere). We experimented with color filters and then used our knowledge to create secret messages for others to decode. We used CD spectroscopes to analyze various different light bulbs. We examined the way shadows change color when you shine colored lights on an object. The resource I used the most for this program was Exploratorium's "Science Snacks" on the website http://exploratorium.edu/snacks. It's a great site! Tons of experiments and activities with …

Building a Balanced Dinosaur

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On Thursday, August 25th, while the rest of the library was closed early, kids and their parents were hanging out here in the children's Story Room learning about paleontology and center of gravity, and building their own dinosaurs! I showed a slide show about how scientists' concepts of dinosaurs has changed over the years, particularly when we think about how a dinosaur would have stood or walked. Based on scientists' knowledge of anatomy and the weight of dinosaur bones, they've come to the conclusion that most dinosaurs had tails that stuck straight out, and provided balance while holding their heads and upper bodies in a forward (not upright!) position. Curiosity Machine: Build a Balanced Dinosaur from AnnMarie Ppl Then we took a wide variety of materials, including toilet paper tubes, cardboard, tape, plastic straws, pipe cleaners, and a few colorful and fun materials like feathers and googly eyes, and made dinosaurs that stood at least 6" tall with good b…

Science at Storytime: A Preschool Planetarium

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On Saturday, we had our library preschool storytime. I've been wanting to get out there and see the planets lined up in the pre-dawn sky, but I haven't been able to get myself up early enough. So I found another way to enjoy this phenomenon, and shared it with the preschoolers and their families at storytime. Using one of the library's iPads, we turned the storyroom into a preschool planetarium! We have an app called SkyView which allows you to see the locations and images of stars, planets, galaxies, satellites and other celestial objects surrounding the Earth by simply pointing the iPad in any direction. Why I decided to do this was so that the kids could see something that's probably very hard for them to see, and something they won't get another chance to witness for at least ten years! Currently, and for only a very limited time, all five visible planets are in the same part of our sky, and can be seen with the naked eye just before dawn. But since v…