Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Maker Monday: S.T.E.M. Fun (Ages 5+) Snap Circuits

Explore circuits and build simple machines that will be dismantled after construction. Younger builders (age 5-7) should plan to build with a caregiver or older sibling.

Display as kids entering: electricity books (J537’s) and books on inventors/inventions (608s/609s)


Discuss: what is electricity/how do we use it in our lives?

Demonstrate: static electricity (rub balloon on kid volunteer’s hair)

Read: Switch On, Switch Off by Melvin Berger.

(optional, if have the equipment – electrical wire, bar magnet & compass  -- do the experiment described on pages 10-13)

Diagram:  show how the circuit works – from source of power (battery in our kits/electrical outlet in your home/story above)  electricity flows through the circuit, powering the objects (light/fan/speaker) before returning to the battery.


Mention that they will be experimenting with different circuits using our Snap Circuit kits. Demonstrate project #1

Tell them If they haven’t used these kits before, recommend that they do the projects in this sequence: Projects 1,3,4,15-21 (shown on board).  Follow the instructions and double-check before turning on switch.

Emphasize: Safety precautions (particularly if they you are doing other projects/experimenting):

  • Never attach any of the blue pieces across the battery terminals – can get a “short circuit” and burn out the battery
  • Never make a circuit that doesn’t go through some object to be powered (light/speaker/motor) – again short circuit!
  • Any project that uses the motor/fan has the RED ! box – if you don’t wear glasses, please come get eye protection first. (used plastic sheets because I didn’t have plastic goggles)

Teams – suggest 2-3 people in each group, 5-7 year-olds work with over 8s or adult.




Take Home:  Potato electricity experiment sheet (photocopied from back page of Switch On, Switch Off by Melvin Berger.)

Monday, April 18, 2016 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM  (21 kids/9 kits good ratio)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

School Age Storytime–Meadowlands


Storytime provided to begin second grade unit, did related storytimes for kindergarten & first grade classes.

Opened with “In the Almost Light” & “Morning Warming” (2nd & 1st grade – a little too challenging for the latter group), “Shhh they are sleeping” & “He” (Kdg)  – “puzzle poems”  from Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman, illustrated with woodcuts (explained technique) from Caldecott-award-winning artist Beth Krommes.  These are excellent for encouraging close listening to figure out what the poem is describing. (dew/grasshopper, rabbit/fox)  Introduced the concepts:  “condensation”  “evaporation”  “exoskeleton”  “predator/prey”

Kdg & 1st Grade sign language song: “Let’s Take a Little Walk Outside” from Pick Me Up: Fun Songs for Learning Signs.

Kdg & 1st Grade:  At the Marsh in the Meadow by Jeanie Mebane – cumulative telling of the interconnected food chain
2nd Grade Meadowlands by Thomas Yeserski (+ booktalked & showed search & find pictures to the 1st & Kdg classes) The true story of the pollution and reclamation of these NJ wetlands. 400 years of history, Lenni Lenape, Dutch settlement, industrialization.

Sometimes, not enough water --  “drought”


The Mud Family by Betsy James – when no rain comes to their village, a girl makes a mud family -  paint/sand illustrations – only had time to read to Kdg (booktalked to other classes)

Puppets/Storytelling:  The Frog: A Rainstick Story adapted from a Hopi Indian tale – source unknown.  (puppets: frog, owl, coyote/wolf, prop: rainstick) script here: http://carolsimonlevin.blogspot.com/2013/12/pre-school-storytime-its-raining-its.html

Action: Rainstorm (directions: http://carolsimonlevin.blogspot.com/2013/12/pre-school-storytime-its-raining-its.html)

2nd Grade only: Bubba & Trixie by Lisa Campbell Ernst (a ladybug with a broken wing and a scaredy-cat caterpillar who wants nothing to change each help each other -- ran long, would skip next time)

Some classes (where time): “Letter to the Sun” and “Letter to the Rain” from Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow (ecosystem)

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, beautifully illustrated by Jon J. Muth (a city dog frolicking off-leash in a meadow makes a new friend in this gentle circle-of-life story of friendship, loss, and renewal.)

booktalked: An Egg is Quiet, A Seed is Sleepy and A Butterfly is Patient – all by Dianna Hutts Aston

4/16 Bedm.

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