Friday, September 12, 2014

School Age Storytime: School Daze–Fun Stories Celebrating a New School Year (K-3)

Book:  The Wrong Side of the Bed – Wallace E. Keller* (talked about what that expression means, delightful story in which a child literally gets up on the wrong side of the bed and goes through the day upside down!) also available as a Top 10 Storybook App (Kirkus Reviews):

Poem: "School Days Rap" from Lunch Money & Other Poems for School – Carol Diggory Shields
Book: Sarah's Story – Bill Harley (Sarah doesn’t think she knows any stories for school until she gets caught up in an adventure involving a Queen Ant in search of a honey sandwich!)

Book: Just Another Ordinary Day – Rod Clement (deadpan language about an ordinary day is very funny when paired with anything but ordinary illustrations)
Song: "By the Way" from Joe Scruggs album Deep in the Jungle lyrics below:
also available on Youtube; . Props: paper bag with “lemonade can”, “sardine can” (I used image from internet wrapped around a box), 6 cotton balls & 4 rubber bands.

Book: Minerva Louise at School – Janet Morgan Stoeke (younger) booktalked other Minerva Louise books; Toll Bridge Troll – Patricia Rae Wolff (older) --  text-to-text
connection to The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

Interactive Book: One – Kathryn Otoshi  -- All the other colors are intimidated by “Red’” until the “One” arrives and shows how everyone can count. This is a deceptively simple concept book that is also a brilliantly empowering story on how students can help one another stand up to bullies.  

Songs: “Smelly Locker” and “Heavy Backpack” from the book Smelly Locker Silly Dilly School Songs by Alan Katz

Poem (if time): "Clock Watching"  from Lunch Money & Other Poems for School – Carol Diggory Shields
Lyrics to By the Way by Joe Scruggs

It’s Monday morning, I’m running late,
There’s not a minute to spare.
Mom calls out, “Come on, Let’s Go,”
As she finishes drying her hair.
Now I’m in my place,
With a smile on my face
Just thinking about my day.
Then I think of some things
I’m supposed to bring,
and that is when I say,
“Dear Mom,
oh, by the way (echo)
I need an orange juice can,
4 cotton balls, and 6 rubber bands
And by the way, (echo)
I’m an angel in the play.
I’m gonna sing & I need some wings” (echo)
Well I guess I’ve induced some stress.
Mom’s smile begins to fade.
As she runs to the kitchen
And digs through the trash
For the can from the lemonade.
Now I start to protest
But she’s doing her best
So then I try to make it right.
I say, “I need everything by eight-fifteen
But I don’t need the wings till tonight.
Oh, by the way (echo)
I need an orange juice can,
If its lemonade, will the teacher understand?
And by the way, (echo)
They’re having meatloaf today.
If you don’t mind a bunch (echo)
I’m going to need a lunch.” (echo)

Sometimes I just don’t believe
How resourceful moms can be.
She gets the cotton balls
And the rubber bands,
From her vanity.
I’ve got a lemonade can,
Not quite the right brand.
But mom says it will do!
Then we’re out of the door
At seven fifty-four,
I won’t be late for school.

Oh, by the way (echo)
Meatloaf is better than it seems.
For my lunch, (echo)
Mom packed a can of sardines.
And for the play, (echo)
It’s sister’s costume from ballet.
I’m gonna sing (echo)
In her butterfly wings (echo)

Other possible books:
New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story – April Halprin Wayland (a wonderful book describing the tradition of tashlich --making apologies and tossing away the things that you did wrong the previous year so as to start the new year with a clean heart -- not a bad idea for all of us, no matter what time of year it is!)
Mouse Views – Bruce McMillan (close up views of classroom objects – great guessing game interactive book)
The Little School Bus – Carol Roth (rhyming -phonemes, action)
Late for School
Bedm 9.14

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Celebrate Madeline's 75th Anniversary

Travel with us to that old house in Paris to celebrate the 75th anniversary of a young girl who never grows old!  Enjoy stories, crafts, a birthday cake, and even a parade in two straight lines. (Ages 4-10)
Madeline’s Birthday Party
Set-up: Room decorated for a birthday party with crepe paper streamers, banners & balloons. Miss Carol costumed as Miss Clavel (nun’s habit).  Two long tables draped in blue plastic tablecloths & laid out with crafts  – each place had a ceiling crack picture, toilet paper roll Madeline doll, Madeline hat & cape - kids do crafts, then eat cake here.   French accordion music CD (Café Paris, details below) playing as kids arrive.
As children entered, gave them a Madeline name tag and Madeline cloak (pre-made from blue plastic tablecloth & red curling ribbon).  Directed them to take a place at the tables to make a Madeline hat (Materials: yellow plastic bowl (or paper bowl & yellow marker), 8 holes pre-punched along the rim, red curling ribbon for kids to string through the holes then tie into a bow).  Note: a little rolled masking tape helped hats stay on heads. Other option: add ribbons to tie hats on heads.
After most children had their hats, invited all to come to story area.  Discussed that though the girl in the book is about their age (maybe 7?) the book was 75 years old.  Asked them about the sticker on the book: (Caldecott Silver)
Read: Madeline (original story)
Action: “Madeline, Madeline Turn Around” (based on “Teddy Bear Turn Around”)
Read: Madeline’s Rescue (Caldecott Gold)
Whole Group Games:
  • “Miss Clavel Says” (like “Simon Says”) – did this for several minutes -- no winners or losers, just laughs, then played…
  • Musical chairs (spots) to French music  -- we actually used some small round rubber mats (from a dinosaur game – but they looked like raindrops!) to put on the floor instead of the chairs but the idea was the same.  Alternate game possibility: “Hot Potato”  passing a Madeline hat or doll.  In either game, when music stops, the child eliminated was directed to “Pin the hat on Madeline” so there was no real sense of losers.  (Great CD: French Playground (Putumayo Kids) -- start on a different track after each stop.  
  • Pin the hat on the Madeline (after each child finishes, s/he was directed to the craft tables.) 
Craft tables:  (Had French music playing while the kids made crafts, used CD:  Café Paris. Enrique Ugarte, accordion, bass ; with Dylan Vaughn, guitar ; Ron Vorpahl, drums. England : ARC, [2007])
  • Make a Madeline toilet paper roll puppet (directions/templates:
  • Ceiling Crack pictures – inspired by the line in the original book: “a crack in the ceiling had the habit of sometimes looking like a rabbit” (Supplies: 11x17 papers with squiggle drawn on each that kids could expand into anything they imagined, markers – similar to a craft I have done with “Harold & the Purple Crayon.”)
Closing activity: parade in two straight lines around the library (make sure CD player has batteries and doesn’t skip when moving around – we learned this the hard way!)
Sing: “Happy Birthday”
Food: cake &  lemonade
  • Hats –bowls (either paper bowl that kids color with yellow markers or yellow plastic bowls), pre-punch holes around the edge so kids can string with red curling ribbon to make bow.
  • Capes - pre-cut from blue plastic tablecloths with red curling ribbon ties.
  • Madeline books & DVDs to display
  • French music CDs & CD-player
  • Poster, Tape, & Blindfold for Pin the Hat game
  • Puppet supplies: TP rolls, blue rectangles, half sheets with face/limbs, glue sticks, tape, scissors, markers.  Squiggle pictures: paper with squiggle, markers, pre-made sample puppet.
  • Party decorations (balloons, banners, streamers, props), tablecloths for tables, birthday cake, lemonade, plates, napkins, forks, cups, knife to cut cake, candles/matches
Thanks to Mary Marshall for some of these ideas.
Another idea(didn’t use because expected too many children): Madeline memory game.  Make cards of Eiffel tower, Madeline, Miss Clavel, etc.

The Bridgewater Library celebrated the 75 anniversary of the popular children's book "Madeline" on Saturday, Sept. 6.

(Photo: Jenna Intersimone)
  • The SCLS will be hosting another Madeline birthday event at the Peapack & Gladstone Library.
  • The ten branches of the SCLS hold over 170 "Madeline"-themed materials.
  • In the stories written entirely in rhyme, Madeline is the smallest of the girls, yet the bravest.
Madeline may have turned 75 this year, but she doesn't look a day over 7.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of "Madeline," the timeless red-headed character of Austrian author Ludwig Bemelmans and star of children's books featuring a Catholic boarding school in Paris, the Somerset County Library System held a birthday party at the Bridgewater Library on Saturday involving 16 children and their families.
The tiny attendees crafted blue capes and yellow hats using bowls, ribbons and tablecloths to wear for a Madeline parade, listened in for story time by Miss Clavel, otherwise known as librarian Carol Levine, created handmade Madeline dolls, played Madeline-themed games and shared a birthday cake.
The 10 branches of the library system hold over 170 Madeline-themed materials including books, DVDs and audiobooks.
In the stories written entirely in rhyme, Madeline is the smallest of the girls, yet the bravest and most outgoing of the group. She is the only redhead.
"Madeline' is a cultural touchstone," Library Director Brian Auger said. "I have such fond memories of reading the 'Madeline' books to my daughter. I would give anything to do that again. I read them so many times I can recite the opening lines."
The library system will be hosting other Madeline birthday events this year, the next one being at the Peapack & Gladstone Library on Oct. 14.
Newspaper article

9.2014 BWL

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wheel Away - Story & Craft!

Did you learn to ride a bike or tricycle this summer?  Or take a trip or travel by car or bus or train to a distant destination?  We'll celebrate all forms of transport, then design our very own vehicle.  (Ages 4-9)

Opening Music: “Riding My Bike” (#10 on John McCutcheon’s Summersongs) or “Skateboard” (#7 on Joe Scruggs Deep in the Jungle)

Read: Stella & Roy by Ashley Wolff -- “Who do you think would be faster big girl bike or baby brother on trike?see if this reminds you of another story (The Tortoise and the Hare.)

“Maybe S &R can cooperate to fix a little red wagon” –>
Action Song: Bumping up and down in my little red wagon
Bumping up and down in my little red wagon (3x) won’t you be my darling?
One wheel’s off and the axle’s broken…
Freddie’s gonna fix it with his hammer…
One wheel’s off…
Laura’s gonna fix it with her pliers…

Product Details
Read: Mama Zooms by Jane Cowen-Fletcher -- child sharing all the things mom’s “zooming machine” (wheelchair) can do

Read: Fast Food by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elders – fruit & veggies turned into all sorts of vehicles!
Product Details
Flannel: Mrs. Armitage on Wheels – based on the book by Quentin Blake --“Mrs. A likes a bike with a few extra gadgets”
Product Details
Interactive Book/Song: The Wheels on the Bus – Paul Zelinsky
or use same flannel with this song: The Wheels on the Bike
The wheels on the bike go round and round…all around the town
Horns…beep, beep, beep…
Bucket…splash, splash, splash…
Toolbox…rattle, rattle, rattle
Food….tastes yum, yum, yum
Dog…pant, pant, pant…
Rain…splash, splash, splash…
Radio…sing, sing, sing…
Sail…whoosh, whoosh, whoosh…
That crazy bike in the town goes crash, crash, crash! All around the town!

“How many of you have been learning to ride a bike without training wheels?”
Product Details
Read: The Magic Bicycle by Berlie Doherty or My Bike by Jonna Jakob

Product Details
Show ideas from: If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen (cute text but didn’t have time to read it)

  • design your own vehicle (inspired by If I built a car, Fast Food, Mrs. Armitage and The Wheels on the Bus) (supplies: 12x18” light cardboard or card stock, scissors, markers, hole punches, construction paper (include pre-cut circles which made great spinning wheels), paper fasteners, pipe cleaners, glue sticks).  Kids were given free rein to design any vehicle they wished…and they did very creatively -- some just used markers, others cut things out and made 3-dimensional designs.
  • bicycle handle streamers (supplies: straws, Scotch tape, curling ribbon scissors)
  • design your own bicycle license plate (not waterproof!) (supplies: 3x5” cardboard, hole punches, markers, pipe cleaners)
Video: Remarkable Riderless Runaway Tricycle (Weston Woods, 11 min.) (played this for early finishers while kids doing crafts – since it is wordless, makes great background music for crafting too.  After they finished the crafts, other kids enjoyed using the lit screen to see their vehicles become shadow puppets.)

Alternative books:
Duck on the Bike – David Shannon
Minerva Louise and the Red Truck – Janet Morgan Stoeke
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus – Mo Willems
Little Red Riding Hood – Lisa Campbell Ernst
Optional: Hand-Stamping to “Ride My Bike” on Tom Paxton’s I’ve Got a Yo Yo

8/14 BWL

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gizmos, Gadgets, and Goo – Wacky Fun with Science Week 5 : Squish! Polymers, Diapers, and Goo…Oh My!

Be prepared to get messy as we explore the powers of polymers  by dissecting diapers and mixing up  a batch of Oobleck  -- the original Non-Newtonian solid (it behaves as both a solid and a liquid at the same time!) 
For grades 1-5.

As kids arrive, played video on polymers: 
image (this and all other videos used today can be found on my playlist

Opened with: “I Tried to Do My Homework” from What a Day It Was at School! poems by Jack Prelutsky (had shared on some school visits)

Read:  The Secret Science Project that Almost Ate the School – Judy Sierra

Booktalked: Bartholomew & the Oobleck – Dr. Seuss  (too long to read in this program…)

Discussion: Whatever we call it “Slime, goo…Oobleck”…soft material called “polymer” …some polymers in nature: rubber, wool, silk, proteins in our hair & nails, cellulose in trees…some polymrs synthetic “man made” e.g. nylon (“on” indicates a polymer) or polyester or polystyrene “poly” is a clue that it is a polymer too.
The word polymer means “many parts.” The individual parts that actually combine to form a polymer chain are called monomers.  Sometimes a substance can actually help polymer chains link together and form a more solid substance. The youtube video we saw as you were coming in showed the basic formation of polymers and linked polymer chains.  Polymers can be found just about everywhere – Even the double-helix strand of DNA is a form of a polymer known as a “biopolymer.”

DEMO: Oobleck, this version is a natural polymer made only from cornstarch & water.  In the 18th c. Sir Isaac Newton discovered that most liquids flow quickly when heated and resist movement when cooled…but this slimy polymer acts “weird” it is called a non-Newtonian fluid – it looks and feels like both a solid and a liquid, depending on how you handle it.

Mix together 2 parts cornstarch, 1 part water …let kids feel it…see how it flows but then acts solid.

Showed videos:

Pool of Oobleck:

Creeping Oobleck:

Three experiment tables today:
Experiment #1:  Diaper Magic
Tiny polymers no larger than a grain of sand are mixed into the cotton lining the inside of a diaper. Modern diapers actually contain a super absorbent polymers no larger than grains of sand – they are called polyacrylic acid and are designed to attract water molecules.
§ Diapers (we used Luvs size 2) – 1 per child
§ Scissors
§ Gallon-sized zip-top plastic bags
§ Clear plastic cups (1 for each child)
§ Popsicle sticks for stirring
§ Cut into the lining, pull apart the cotton, put the diaper in a zip-top bag and shake the bags.
§ Pour the polymers into a clear plastic cup, then add water..a little at a time, stirring if necessary – have kids guess how much water they can pour in and still be able to turn the cup upside down without spilling!
Result: The polymers absorb the water and congeal to form a squishy, gel-like substance. If the gel-like substance is powdery and loose, it can still absorb water; if the substance is moist, it has reached the capacity of the polymers. Each polymer can absorb about 30 times its weight in water!  If you leave the cup full of squishy polymers on a counter top for a few days (or longer) and allow the water to evaporate, the polymers should return to their original state…what do you think?

Experiment #2:  Goo! formula provided by Science Bob
(I found using 1T. of each ingredient and 1 drop of food coloring was sufficient. We mixed the goo in 5 oz. plastic cups using popsicle sticks.  The resulting goo is lots of fun to handle -- solid enough to pick up in your hands, stretch, pull apart and squeeze back together.)
Another version: silly putty:

Experiment #3: Changing properties – 4 types of Oobleck using different amounts of water --from: Oobleck, Slime, & Dancing Spaghetti by Jennifer Williams -- each has different characteristics.  Data sheet on pg. 52 (didn’t have time to use).

Beforehand: Mix the Sodium Borate solution -- 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax with 1 quart/liter of hot water in a bottle or pitcher.  Shake or stir well.  If possible, let it set overnight.  Shake well before using.
All of these mix  the same amount of glue (which contains hundreds of polymers) & sodium borate solution (which is a binding agent) to lock the polymer molecules together…adding different amounts of water will affect how tightly the chains of polymers can link together…the more water, the more the polymer can “stretch,” and the less it can bounce and hold its shape.

Red Oobleck:1 T. white glue
1  drop food coloring
2 t. sodium borate

Green Oobleck:1 T. white glue
1  drop food coloring
1 t. water
2 t. sodium borate

Yellow Oobleck:1 T. white glue
1  drop food coloring
1T.  water
2 t. sodium borate

Green Oobleck:1 T. white glue
1  drop food coloring
2T.  water
2 t. sodium borate

For each color of ooblick:
§ Mix glue and food coloring in a plastic cup.
§ Add  water (if applicable) and stir till well-blended
§ Slowly pour the sodium borate solution and stir for about a minute
§ Lift the spoon slowly out of the cup and observe the Oobleck. What does each look like?
§ Feel or knead the oobleck …how do they differ?  Can you roll it into a ball?
§ If you put it on the table, does it hold its shape or start to flatten out after a while?
§ If you can make it into a ball, how well does it bounce?

Have zip-top sandwich bags for them to use to take home their creations.
Another version of slime:

Much of this program was inspired by:

BWL 11/14

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gizmos, Gadgets, and Goo–Wacky Fun with Science Week 4: Boom! Energy Explorations -- Catapulting contest!

Boom!  Energy Explorations -- Bounce on over to the library and join us for a great big bang with a catapulting contest!
Grades 1-5
(Based on:,  including some of the explanations below -- Thanks for the ideas!)

Before kids arrived, teen volunteers practiced making both types of catapult so they could help the kids make them later.

As kids  were arriving , played video of nature’s catapults:  (a complete playlist for this program is here.

Read Book: Big Bang: The Tongue-Tickling Tale of a Speck that Became Spectacular – Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano  (Alternatively, if wanted to emphasize the engineering aspect, could use:  Rosie Revere, Engineer  -- Andrea Beaty)

Discussion:  “Big Bang” – a lot of energy – What is energy?

Asked kids:  If you were asked to describe energy, what would you tell someone?
Energy is the ability or capacity to do work

And what is work? 
Work is done when something, regardless of size, moves. 
In other words, energy is needed to cause motion.

Energy itself is generally divided into two categories:  Kinetic and Potential
Potential energy is stored energy that is waiting to work:

DEMO: Rubber Band --stretched a rubber band --this rubber band is holding potential energy -- Potential energy can be found in many forms – chemical, mechanical, nuclear, gravitational, and electrical. Gasoline, for example, is a chemical form of potential energy.
Let go of rubber band and watched it fly -- Kinetic energy is essentially the opposite of potential energy -- kinetic energy is energy in motion that is actually doing work. That rubber band flying is experiencing kinetic energy. So is a baseball being thrown or a person bicycling down the road. Where gasoline in a can is an example of potential energy, the fire that gasoline creates would be an example of kinetic energy.

Showed Youtube Song: Potential vs. Kinetic Energy

Anywhere you see motion there is energy. Even in classic cartoons!
Potential Energy: Wile E Coyote & Roadrunner

Demo:  The Slinky!  “Walked” slinky down a set of stairs made from boxes:
The Slinky, which has been around since the 1940′s, provides an excellent example of potential and kinetic energy. When a slinky is sitting at the top of a set of stairs at rest, it is holding potential energy; as soon as it starts to “walk” down the stairs, it is experiencing kinetic energy.
Slinky dropping down hanging mid-air:

Demo:  the balancing egg.  Half-fill a paper cup with water and set it on the table. Center a pie pan on top of the cup, with a TP tube standing in the pan. Balance an egg atop the tube. Strike the rim of the pie pan from the side, causing it to fly out and take the tube with it. The egg will hover in mid-air for a split second because of inertia. Gravity will then cause it to fall straight down into the water, unharmed.
“But what if you WANT to hurl something through the air?” 

Different kinds of catapults - sling shots, trebuchets, and even aircraft catapults.

Mentioned opening video a sneaky grasshopper catapulted lots of bugs off of a leaf.

“the world’s largest slingshot,”:
Catapults used in medieval warfare:  Making of Warwick Castle Trebuchet 
Giant trebuchet hurls a piano

Project time:  Now we are going make catapults.

Catapults are another example of potential energy. When we pull the lever (or spoon) back, stretching the rubber band, potential energy in the spoon is transformed into kinetic energy when we release the spoon and let the pompoms fly!
(We used pom-poms instead of marshmallows out of food allergy concerns…the kids loved choosing their favorite colors and it made it easy to identify which catapult shot had the greatest distance.) 

Children had the choice of making two different models:

Simple catapult design (we recommended this for our 1st & 2nd graders)

Target Practice from PBS’s program FETCH (more complicated, so we suggested that 3rd-5th graders might want to try it.)

Then kids practiced launching pom-poms into a literature display rack we set up.
After the kids made and tested their models, they were encouraged to modify them.  One father, watching the fun, created a great model of his own!

BWL 7/14

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gizmos, Gadgets, and Goo - Wacky Fun with Science Week 3: Crash! Structural Engineering: The Great Bridge Challenge!

We'll be taking a look at some famous shaking structures then building our own suspension bridges - - and seeing which one can withstand the greatest weight.
(from our  Fizz Boom Read Summer Program (For students entering grades 1-5)  )

As children arrived: had a bunch of bridge & engineering books out for kids to browse..

Opened with this: “Engineers are problem solvers…so today we are going to be engineers and design and build bridges. Here’s a true story of how one man figured out how to make a very unusual bridge in a very unusual place..”

Showed The Man Who Walked Between the Towers* by Mordecai Gerstein (since we were a large group, watched the Weston Woods DVD version rather than reading the book.)

Talked about how the tightrope is a simple bridge -- illustrating tension (skyscrapers were anchoring cable on either end) and compression (the weight of the cable “dead load” and the weight of Philippe “live load”) pressing down.

Demonstrated this by having two kids pull on opposite ends of a rope (tug of war style) and pushing down on the rope with a toy car. 

Showed pictures of three main types of bridges: span, arch, and suspension – had drawn these beforehand on a whiteboard based on images on p. 17 of Bridges! Amazing Structures to Design, Build, & Test by Carol A Johmann & Elizabeth J Rieth and pointed out tension & compression in each structure…several kids knew how the keystone worked in an arch design.

Talked about how they were going to be engineers today – “Nearly everything we use has been engineered…including roller coasters, smart phones, running shoes, and even ways of keeping food safe.  But engineering is called “the stealth profession.” That’s because engineers work behind the scenes.  We hardly ever hear about the talented but “invisible” engineers who devise many of the creations on which we all rely.” – from Bridges & Tunnels by Donna Latham

Showed this diagram of the engineering design process.


Distributed thick books (to use as riverbanks/anchors) and pieces of paper and had kids experiment with different ways to make bridges from one piece of paper (no cutting, gluing or taping allowed, but they could try arches & folding – fan folding made a very strong bridge).  This was a good activity but took too much time from our one-hour program so I would omit it next time.

Mentioned that it is important that engineers create bridges that won’t break…but that sometimes hasn’t happened…showed video of “gallopin’ gertie”:

Talked about parts of suspension bridge:

Explained that they would divide into groups of 3-5 to create their own suspension bridges and see how strong they were (idea based on the plans from the wonderful ndolan’s and PBS’s Fetch episode:

Challenged them to design & build one using the rules below:

After bridges were built, piled books on to test the bridges.
(Since I had some younger kids (5-7 year olds), I also offered the option of building bridges using our straws and connectors kits.)

Good program but we were a little tight on time today – would love to do it again!
* thanks to  for the idea of using this book!
BWL 7/14

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gizmos, Gadgets & Goo -- Week 2: Bang! Balloon-a-mania

Ever heard a balloon scream, or made a balloon brain?
Join us as we explore a bonanza of balloon possibilities! 
(Part of Fizz, Boom, Read Summer Reading Club)
For kids entering grades 1-5

(Many of these ideas were taken from ndolat’s wonderful Balloon Bananza! –  Her ideas and text are interspersed with my additions below.)

Opened with 8 volunteers doing reader’s theater with Shel Silverstein’s poem 8 Balloons (the rest of the kids helped with all the “pop”s!): (page 1)

Asked kids who had seen the demonstration of a water-filled ziploc bag pierced with sharpened pencils (which we did at our school visits for Fizz Bang Read!)?   Then asked for volunteers, one sat underneath bag, others pierced it….asked “anyone know why this works?” explanation: plastic made of polymers.  rubber in balloon works same way…

The Properties of Polymers: Experment: The Balloon Skewer -- “Balloon on a Stick” (Teen volunteer did this demo for us…later, during the stations section of the program, teen helped kids try it.) The rubber in balloons is made of long strands of molecules called polymers -- the elastic quality of the polymers allows the balloon rubber to stretch.

Materials and technique for this and the 3 experiments below at:

READ: Balloon Trees by Danna Smith (overview of process of balloon making from tapping the trees through finished product.)

Centripetal Force Experiment :  The Spinning Penny  The Spinning Penny  A single penny is placed inside a clear balloon. The balloon is inflated and tied off with the penny still inside.  After shaking the penny a bit, the balloon is then swirled to help start the penny on a circular path inside the balloon itself. Due to the limited amount of friction, the penny can stay on its circular path for close to 30 seconds before gravity begins to slow it’s path!
ndolat’s explanation:  The word “centripetal” is actually Latin for “center seeking.” And that truly describes this force. Without centripetal force, objects would not be able to travel in a circular path (they would only be able to travel in a straight path). One example is how a satellite orbits the earth. In this case, the centripetal force is supplied by earth’s gravity (think of it like an invisible thread that links the earth to the satellite and keeps the satellite moving around the earth in a circular orbit). Another example is the swings ride at an amusement park, where the centripetal force is supplied by the chains that link the chairs to the central pole. Jeff Williams on the International Space Station (ISS), shows that, due to centripetal force, the bubbles in his iced tea package move to the center of the package and form a large, singular air bubble when the package is put into a circular path.

Friction: Experiment:  The Screaming Balloon -- variation to The Spinning Penny. For The Screaming Balloon, used a 1/4” size zinc hex nut…ndolat’s explanation: The nut also moves on a circular path within the balloon due to the centripetal force we supply, but there is more friction between the hex nut and the balloon thanks to the shape of the nut, and thus we get a high-pitched whining sound!

READ: June 29, 1999 by David Wiesner (engaging fantasy of balloons carrying a vegetable experiment into space)

Balloon RocketsNewton’s 3rd Law of Motion (For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction)  Experiment: I blew up a balloon and asked which way it would go when I let the air out, then demonstrated how they could make balloon rockets:    On a rocket “track” – a pair of chairs with some kite string strung between them (like a zip line) and a straw was threaded onto each string, then inflated (but not tied off) balloons can be taped on to the straws. When the air is released, the straw rocket will go to the other side.  Similar idea at: -- try to hit a target with balloon and ingenuity.

“What goes up must come down…”
Main event: make helmets to protect our balloon “brains” (similar to the classic “egg drop” but less messy cleanup!
Materials: water balloons (teen volunteers added faces drawn with Sharpies), soft and protective materials (egg cartons, cardboard, newspaper, etc.), masking tape.  We made the rule that they could cover every part except the eyes (so our our balloon heads could “see” where they were going).  After kids made their “helmets”, we went outside to see which sustained “head injuries” in their falls.  The kids were quite creative, we got lots of different designs and had a chance to discuss how their designs worked (comparing “crumble zones” to the way automobile hoods are made, multiple egg carton bumps similar to the Mars Rovers, etc. – mechanical engineering at its best!)clip_image005
Similar idea at:

Another possibility (skipped this because did something similar last week):
from or use Balloon Inflation Demo

7/2014 BWL

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...