Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fitness Fun - Let’s Have a Field Day



Come share the story of the Tortoise & the Hare then have relay races through an in-house obstacle course.  (Two Groups – Ages 3-6 & 6-10)

Display:  Tortoise & the Hare books including Jerry Pinkney version, CD: The Tortoise & The Hare by Stephen Simon, Conductor & Composer London Philharmonic Orchestra  

Ages 3-6 program:
Read: The Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray (based on the Aesop’s fable)
Sing (with Puppets): Little Bunny Foo Foo

Read: Stella & Roy by Ashley Wolff (Big sister & little brother race each other around the pond in this modern retelling…)

Ages 6-10 program:
Open with “Tortoise & the Hare” Mad Libs from SRC Manual
Read: The Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray 
Act (with Puppets): Reader’s Theater Play (below) – Adapted from The Tortoise and the Hare by Janet Stevens by Jennifer Jensen -- 

Both groups – obstacle/challenge course – give each child a heavy stock Ellison die-cut gold star – they write their names on these and then my teen volunteers will place a dot on their stars when they attempt each activity. They’ll bring their stars and get a temporary tattoo when they complete the course.

Obstacle course – challenges:

Set up 10 bowling pins


See how many you can knock down!

Sit on a ball and use your feet to roll it along or Lie on a ball and see how far you can roll it before you roll off!


Hula Hoop – How long can you go without dropping it?


Hula Hoop – How many can you keep up?


Jump in and out of the hula-hoops


Try one foot, two feet & sideways!

Can you balance on the balance board?


Can you do a somersault?


Can you do a handstand?  (Be sure you have someone to help you!)


Can you do a cartwheel?


Hop on one foot 10 times – then do the other foot!


Jump on the Trampoline!


Jump Rope!


Do 10 Jumping Jacks!


Spoon Relay
(Can you carry the shakey egg on the spoon across the room without dropping it?)


Silly Walks – Use a stretchy cord and try to take 10 steps


Sit Ups – Get a Partner and hold each others’ feet – or use a stretchy cord and do “push me-pull you” sit ups!


Can you get the bean bag in the Corn Hole?


Crawl Through a Tunnel


Optional additions:

Washer Game
Giant Jenga (staff kitchen)
Lawn Darts


Reader's Theater Adapted from The Tortoise and the Hare by Janet Stevens by Jennifer Jensen – readapted (basically to include more narrators) by Carol Simon Levin

Cast of characters: Narrators (6), Tortoise, Hare, Tortoise’s friends: Mouse, Bear and Rooster

Narrator 1: Once upon a time, there was a tortoise and a hare.

Narrator 2: Tortoise was friendly and quiet. He did everything slowly.

Narrator 3: Hare was flashy and rude. He did everything quickly.

Narrator 4: Hare liked to tease Tortoise about being slow. When Tortoise ate breakfast, Hare said:

Hare: By the time you finish your last bite, it will be dinnertime!

Narrator 5: When Tortoise worked in his garden, Hare said:

Hare: By the time you pick those spring flowers, it will be winter.

Narrator 6: One afternoon, Hare followed Tortoise to the store. Hare teased him on the way.

Hare: By the time you get there, the store will be closed. You’re so slow, I could beat you at a race, hopping backwards on one paw.

Tortoise: But I could never beat you Hare.

Mouse, Bear and Rooster: Yes you could Tortoise. All you need is a little help.

Hare: Then you will race me, Tortoise?

Narrator 1: Tortoise pulled his head into his shell.

Tortoise: I don’t want to.

Mouse, Bear and Rooster: You’ve got to. You’ve put up with that nasty hare long enough. We think you can win.

Narrator 2: Tortoise didn’t want to disappoint his friends, so he finally agreed to a race against Hare.

Narrator 3: Tortoise only had two-and-a-half weeks to get in shape before the big race.

Narrator 4: Rooster helped him out at the gym. Raccoon cooked him healthy meals.

Narrator 5: Frog went jogging with him every morning.

Narrator 6: By the day of the race, Tortoise was ready.

Narrator 1: Animals from all over the county came to watch the tortoise and the hare.

Narrator 2: Rooster read aloud the rules and described the course.

Rooster: Attention everyone. The race will begin when I sound this gong. The six-mile course is marked by red flags. The first one to reach the finish line wins. Runners, take your mark, get set, GO!!

Narrator 3: Raccoon sounded the gong.

Narrator 4: Hare bolted out of sight before Tortoise had taken his first step.

Narrator 5: The crowd roared and cheered as Tortoise inched forward.

Narrator 6: Hare was so far ahead that he decided to stop at Bear’s house for something cool to drink.

Narrator 1: Hare rested and sipped lemonade.

Narrator 2: Bear noticed something moving outside the window.

Bear: Hare, there goes Tortoise.

Hare: What?!

Narrator 3: Yelled Hare, running out the door.

Narrator 4: Hare passed Tortoise for the second time.

Narrator 5: Then he decided to stop at Mouse’s house for a snack.

Narrator 6: As Hare munched on crackers and cheese, Mouse yelled:

Mouse: Is that Tortoise I see out the window?

Hare: I’m not worried about that slowpoke. I’ve passed him twice today already.

Narrator 1: Then he finished his snack and hopped out the door.

Narrator 2: Hare passed Tortoise for a third time.

Narrator 3: Now, he was far ahead.

Narrator 4: He saw a pond and decided to stop and rest.

Narrator 5: The snacks had made him sleepy.

Narrator 6: Hare was so sure that he would win, he took a nap in the soft grass.

Narrator 1: As he closed his eyes, he dreamed of victory.

Narrator 2: Suddenly, Hare woke up. The crowd was cheering.

Mouse, Bear and Rooster: Yay, Tortoise!

Narrator 3: Tortoise was two steps away from the finish line.

Hare: Slow down, you bowlegged reptile! 

Narrator 4: Screamed Hare as he tried to catch up.

Narrator 5: But it was too late.

Narrator 6: Tortoise crossed the finish line just before the tornado of dust and fur that was Hare flew by.

Narrator 1: Tortoise had won the race.

Narrator 2: Hare couldn’t believe it.

Narrator 3: That measly shell on legs had beaten him.

Everyone except Tortoise & Hare: Tortoise smiled as his friends carried him on their shoulders. The end!

BWL 7.2016 planned but not executed. Building closed because of a leak. 

New version planned as part of SRC 2017 “Build a Better World” Fairy Tale Engineering

On Your Mark, Get Set...Engineer! What is Engineering?

What is Engineering? (Ages 7-11)


Join Civil Engineer Carrie Feuer P.E. as we explore what things around us are engineered and brainstorm/prototype our own inventions!

As kids are arriving, display non-fiction, biography, picture book & fiction books on engineering & inventions – optional read one to the early arrivals. 609s, 620s, plus Dotty Inventions (and Some Real Ones Too) – Roger McGough (J609 MCG),  Rosie Revere, Engineer - Andrea Beaty (& her Iggy Peck, Architect), The Most Magnificent Thing – Ashley Spires, If I Built a Car / House – Chris Van Dusen, Hooray for Inventors – Marcia Williams (609.22 WIL) (graphic novel), So You Want to Be an Inventor – 608 St. George, Girls Think of Everything– Catherine Thimmesh (609.2 THI),  Imaginative Inventions 609 HAR, Incredible Inventions: Poems 811.008 INC,11 Experiments that Failed – Jenny Offill, You Choose (JFic You) series.

Biographies about: Elijah McCoy (The Real McCoy, All Aboard), Edison, Jacques Cousteau, Leonardo Da Vinci, Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein, It’s a Snap: George Eastman’s First Photograph, The Man Who Made Time Travel – Lasky (JB Harrison), Earmuffs for Everyone: How Chester Greenwood became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs – Meghan McCarthy, Spic-and-Span: Lillian Gilbreath’s Wonder Kitchen – Monica Kulling,  Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World - Elizabeth Rusch,  In the Bag: Margaret Knight Wraps Its Up -- Monica Kulling, The (Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer, Ben Franklin’s Big Splash – Barb Rosenstock

Opened by asking: What is engineering?  What is an engineer?  What do engineers do? Do they know any engineers.

Carrie Feuer pulled out some manufactured objects and asked – is this engineered?     What do engineers look like? – share some non-stereotypical pictures (at bottom of this program plan).

“Scientists study the world as it is; engineers create the world that has never been.” --Theodore van Karman, physicist and NASA aerospace engineer


Explore the Engineering Design Process:




Group the kids into teams (<= 4 people) – challenge: “design and build a device that will slow the descent (define) of an object”  (The original SciGirls resources used the word “parachute” but the scigirls training suggested making it a more open-ended challenge – the directions below have been modified to reflect that.)   

Before they start designing -- Ask – why would you need something like this? (SciGirls research discovered that girls particularly like to think about reasons for tech) Possible answers: people jumping out of airplanes, humanitarian delivery of food or medicine to places that a plane can’t land, escape from a tall building…


Parachute Parade



  • Several items from this list: plastic wrap, tissues, paper towels, plastic bags, tissue paper, coffee filters, handkerchiefs, straws 
  • 1 toy minifigure (Lego, for example)
  • string or thread or yarn
  • scissors
  • tape
  • paper and pencil
  • optional: stopwatch


  1. Your challenge is to make something that will slow the descent of a toy minifigure  (You can work in groups of up to 4 people). 
  2. Take a few minutes to brainstorm designs before beginning.
  3. Then we’ll test them and see how they work.  We’ll see which design helps our Lego guy/gal to fall the slowest (has the most drag).
  4. We can make a prediction before testing. (Stand on a chair and use a stopwatch to time each descent and/or hold two at the same height and drop them at the same time – which has the most drag?)
  5. Look at your results. Was your prediction correct? Why did one minifigure descend slower than another?

See More Tips in the PDF

More info at

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more at: 

additional pictures of an unconventional mechanical engineer – Lyra Levin, Chief Mechanical Engineer at – building a 15ft high robot & hanging from one of its arms…


and at Burning Man 2015 building a musical Tesla coil:



More Pix at

7.2016 BWL

Next time: Water Water Everywhere & Not a Drop to Drink! (Ages 7-11)

Join Civil Engineer Carrie Feuer P.E.  as we do hands-on explorations of how water goes from dirty to clean.

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