Wednesday, September 6, 2017

S.T.E.A.M. Storytime Surprise–Back to School—Defying Gravity


Join us as we share a story about a kid who really gets up on “the wrong side of the bed,” share some silly poems and songs about school days gone wrong, learn a bit about gravity and create a contraption that will slow the descent of our little Lego guy!  (Part of a new weekly after school series featuring Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, or Mathematics! (Pre-K-4th grade)

Back to School, gravity, and engineering books on display as kids entered (and for check out afterwards)

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):

Poems: “Eight-o-Three” & "School Days Rap" from Lunch Money & Other Poems for School – Carol Diggory Shields

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 here:
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.

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


Book: Gravity by Jason Chin (Stunning pictures and simple text whimsically introduce the concept of gravity.)

Poem: "Clock Watching"  from Lunch Money & Other Poems for School – Carol Diggory Shields (Asked who was the narrator!)

Talked about gravity – dropped a Lego guy to the ground – presented today’s engineering Challenge:  “Create a contraption that will slow the descent of our Lego guy” (based on the SciGirls project described here:


  • 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





No time for:

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. 

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!)

BWL 9/2017

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