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”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacoma_Narrows_Bridge_(1940)

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  http://cheshirelibraryscience.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/g3-program-15-bridges/ and PBS’s Fetch episode: http://www.pbs.org/parents/fetch/activities/act/act-whatgives.html)

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 http://thriveafterthree.com/2014/07/14/tower-building-with-the-school-age/  for the idea of using this book!
BWL 7/14

Reading Rainbow: Tar Beach -- shows how workers maintain the George Washington Bridge (suspension)

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!   http://cheshirelibraryscience.wordpress.com/category/motion/ –  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!): http://www.shelsilverstein.com/media/fun/printable_files/EightBalloonsBooklet.pdf (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: http://cheshirelibraryscience.wordpress.com/category/motion/

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.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs2orRFuolk

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: http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/balloonblastoff.html -- 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! http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/balloonbrain.html
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: http://thriveafterthree.com/2014/07/22/fizz-boom-read-egg-drop-with-school-agers/

Another possibility (skipped this because did something similar last week):
from http://hookedonscience.org/files/EXPERIMENT_ARCHIVE_Expanding_Balloon.pdf or use Balloon Inflation Demo http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/yeastpartii.html

7/2014 BWL

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Gizmos, Gadgets, and Goo - Wacky Fun with Science Week 1: Fizz! Sizzling & Explosive Science

Week 1 of Fizz, Boom, Read! Summer Reading Club:
Fizz! (Chemical & Physical Reactions) -- Come help us get our crazy science summer off the ground with some sizzling and explosive science!  

(For students entering grades 1-5)

Read: Amelia Bedelia, Rocket Scientist? by Herman Parish. Explain chemical ingredients of her pie – p.60, (optional: booktalk The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake)

Demo: Kid-Safe Elephant Toothpaste

3% - “ok, ours will be more like horse toothpaste...not too dramatic because we only have 3% hydrogen peroxide like the stuff you might use at home for cuts – what happens when you put it on a cut?” (note: local beauty supply had 20 crème version but that didn’t work well so used drugstore 3%)

Supplies: Put a 16 oz. empty bottle on a foil pan, insert a funnel, pour in ½ c. 3% hydrogen peroxide, then add 3-4 drops food color, squirt of dish soap, and 1 tsp. yeast dissolved in 2 TBSP very warm water (make this mixture at least 15 minutes beforehand).

Showed pictures of H2O and H2O2  – explained chemical reaction -- yeast, a catalyst -- a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change -- caused the H2O2 to split into H2O and O (heat), oxygen combined with soap to create bubble foam.)

Explanation from http://imaginationstationtoledo.org/content/2010/08/dinosaur-toothpaste/:  “The yeast contains an enzyme called Catalase that breaks down hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into oxygen gas and water. The oxygen gas gets trapped by the soap, and you get a large foamy solution that squirts out of the top of the bottle! The cool thing about this activity is that the enzyme Catalase can also be found in potatoes, dogs and even us! We have the same enzyme in our bodies. That is why you see the 3% hydrogen peroxide bubble when you put it on a cut or scrape. The oxygen released is what kills the germs in the cut.”
“Now I will show you some real elephant toothpaste!”

Show video: Patriotic Monster Foam from Steve Spangler https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDd3pGIyS7I

For real drama of our own -- went outside and demoed: Diet Coke & Mentos
Supplies: a couple of bricks to keep Diet Coke bottle upright, 7 Mentos (made a good show with room temperature Diet Coke, don’t know if using more would have been more dramatic), tube rolled of heavy-stock paper to use to slide Mentos quickly into bottle.

HOW DOES IT WORK? Why does mixing Mentos with soda produce this incredible eruption? Actually not a chemical reaction -- scientists now believe physical reaction:  http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/original-mentos-diet-coke-geyser#sthash.GqRzqriH.dpuf

Came back inside – showed book How to Build a Fizzy Rocket – 507.8 SHORES. http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/filmrocket.php

Craft/Experiment: Made construction paper rockets then headed back outside: Hands on explosive science -- film canister rockets.   Note: it is hard to find film canisters locally anymore (available for purchase online) and only the clear ones with tops that fit tightly inside work. (The black or grey ones with the tops that overlap leak.) We ended up having kids create their construction paper rockets around the black or grey film canisters then pulled those out and inserted the clear ones at launch time.  We swapped the canister, had each child don goggles, pour the tsp. of warm water in and add a ½ tablet, then a teen or adult quickly snapped on the lid and put the rocket down on the ground. (Supplies: safety goggles, film canisters, teaspoon, warm water, alka-seltzer tablets (we used a half tablet for each, but my teen volunteers tried it with a whole tablet and got more “explosive” results.)

Explanation: Chemical reaction -- water starts to dissolve the alka-seltzer tablet creating carbon dioxide gas. As the carbon dioxide is being released, it creates pressure inside the film canister. The more gas that is made, the more pressure builds up until the cap is blasted down and the rocket is blasted up.

Take Home project: Soda Bottle Boat (Related book: The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake) http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/sodabottleboat.html
Copied this two to a page:

Soda Bottle Boat http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/sodabottleboat.html
Related book: "The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake".
Next Sci

clip_image004 clip_image006
your results
Materials Needed
clip_image001 plastic soda bottle
clip_image001[1] thumb tack
clip_image001[2] toilet paper
clip_image001[3] baking soda
clip_image001[4] vinegar
clip_image001[5] marbles
  1. Using the thumb tack, make a hole in the cap of the soda bottle.
  2. Take three or four sheets of toilet paper and put some baking soda on them.
  3. Spread the baking soda out evenly and roll up the toilet paper. This slows down the reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar.
  4. Put the rolled up toilet paper into the soda bottle.
  5. Also add some marbles so that the opening of the bottle is weighted down and the hole that you poked is in the water.
  6. Fill the bottle a quarter of the way with vinegar and quickly put the cap on the bottle.
  7. Place this in a tub or pool of water and watch it go!
You can also do it without making a hole - loosen the cap.

Program inspired by: Soda Geysers & Film Canister Rockets! http://cheshirelibraryscience.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/g3-program-12-soda-geysers-film-canister-rockets/  –Thanks NDolan! 

Also love this program: http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/2014/08/excellent-explosions-chemical-reactions-for-preschoolers/

Stay tuned for upcoming programs:
Week 2: Bang! Balloon-a-mania -- Ever heard a balloon scream, or made a balloon brain? Join us for as we explore a bonanza of balloon possibilities!
Week 3: Crash! Structural Engineering -- The Great Bridge Challenge! We’ll be taking a look at some famous shaking structures then building our own bridges -- and seeing which one can withstand the greatest weight.
Week 4: Boom! Energy Explorations -- Bounce on over to the library and join us for a great big bang with a marshmallow catapulting contest!
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 Newtonian solid (it behaves as both a solid and a liquid at the same time!)

Program plans for younger scientists:

Friday, July 4, 2014

School Age Program: 4th of July–Celebrating our History and Heroes


(For grades K-5) Wednesday, July 2Get an early start on the 4th of July as we celebrate our history with stories, music, and  crafts plus a parade through the library.

Room was set up with dozens of collective and picture book biographies of American historical figures… presidents, scientists, activists, women, minorities etc
As children arrived, had them browse through the books (with patriotic music CD playing softly in the background). After everyone checked in, asked them to close the books (temporarily) and sit where they could see & hear the stories.

Read: Imogene’s Last Stand Candace Fleming’s funny yet inspiring story of a girl who stands up for historical preservation…peppered with wonderful real quotes from history.

Read: Of Thee I Sing – Obama’s tribute to the many different people who have made this country great.

Craft: 35 kids and 6 teen helpers made posters of heroes of their choice inspired by the people in the books I read and/or the books they picked (Supplies: 12x18 poster board (leftover from our Baker & Taylor shipments), markers, scissors, glue sticks, wallpaper samples (for clothes) plus hole punches & yarn to hang these around their necks.)

We played patriotic music CD while they were creating.

We lined up for a group picture then took the boom box and I led our “Parade of Heroes” (children wearing their people placards and waving American flags) around the library.  Parade included a great variety of “heroes” Jackie Robinson, Jack Kennedy, Helen Keller, Cesar Chavez, Chief Joseph, Rosa Parks, MLK, Thomas Jefferson, Susan B. Anthony, Sacajawea, Betsy Ross, and many more.  (If I had had a smaller group or more time, I would have liked to have each person say why they chose their person, but we were running out of time and it was rather chaotic getting 35 people out the door for the parade so we had to skip this.)


7/2014 BWL

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