Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Celebrate The Great American Eclipse 2017

imageimageimageProgram plan:

Books on the sun, solar system, and eclipses available to browse as kids arriving (523.7’s, 520.78’s, Molly Bang “Sunlight” series. Showed some of the youtube videos (below).

Opened by asking what is happening next Monday? Eclipse...mentioned only partial here but still exciting -- announced we’d be doing stories and activities

Read:  (Ages 3-6:): The Sun is Always Shining Somewhere by Allan Fowler
(K-4th): Why Do Elephants Need the Sun by Robert E. Wells
(midway demo - gave each kid a penny, told to hold in front of their face at arms-length - obscures friend’s nose -- now bring closer to eye, see how more of the face, even body of friend is hidden, same as airplane in sky far away looks small. Mentioned sun 400x larger than moon, but 400x further away --  so moon can obscure sun in eclipse if lined up properly) Good alternate title: The Sun: Our Nearest Star by Franklin Branley.

Demo (both groups) : Solar Pizza https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/NASA_Eclipse_Activity_Guide.pdf #7 -- had teen walk to the very back of the program room to show how long 65 feet was.

Flannel/Song: Aikendrum (younger group only)image

Book (both groups): Eclipse: Darkness in Daytime by Franklyn M. Branley (when it talked about the dragon eating sun, had kids make noises to “scare” dragon --  mentioned we have a coloring sheet later)

Song: Mr. Sun (variation on Raffi - hiding behind the moon, these little children are asking you…) (younger group only)

Described stations:

imageTotal Solar Eclipse 2017/Total Solar Eclipse/Total Solar Eclipse 2017 Video (musical -played while arriving, repeated later)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6AakZ2gwzs




More details & handout info:


State or USA Map Eclipse Projector instructions:

  • Cut out the map then use a hole punch to punch out the circle shape. Carefully punch a pinhole in the star with a thumbtack.  A larger hole will give a bigger but less-focussed image. Or make another hole punch, tape foil on backl and poke a pinhole as described below -  the foil sharpens the edge.

  • With your back to the sun, hold your pinhole projector 2-3 feet above the ground.

  • Capture the Moment: Ask a friend to take a picture of your shadow while holding your state’s pinhole projector. The resulting image will be a once in a lifetime picture of your shadow, the shadow of your selected state and a projected image of the partial eclipse marking your location!

  • Share the Moment: Don’t forget to share your best images with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and/or on our Solar Eclipse Flickr Group. Use #EclipseSelfie. Leave a 1-2 sentence description of you image/idea.

More easy ways to watch the Sun:


Use two pieces of cardboard. In one, cut a one-inch hole, then tape a piece of foil over the hole. Now make a pinhole in the middle of the foil. Use the other piece of cardboard (which should be white for best viewing) as a screen. With the Sun behind you, hold the pinhole cardboard as far from your screen as you can. The farther the pinhole is from the screen, the bigger your image will be.

Use your hands. Hold up both hands with your fingers overlapping at right angles. The holes between your fingers make pinholes.

Use a tree. If you have some shade trees in your location, try looking at the images of the Sun coming through the holes formed by the leaves. Use a piece of white cardboard to capture the images for a great viewing session!  (A colander also makes multiple images.)   www.eclipse2017.nasa.gov

Do-It-Yourself Time Capsules!

Since the beginning of written human history, people have created tablets, monuments and other permanent records that send messages into the future. Often when a new building is dedicated, a stash of documents is hidden inside a foundation stone. This idea of communicating with future descendants eventually turned into specific messages placed into specially-designed to be open at some specific future date. The oldest time capsule opened recently was placed into a building cornerstone in 1795 by Paul Revere in Boston. It was opened in 2015 and the coins and newspapers it contained were donated to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. In 1940 a time capsule was buried at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. It is not to be opened until the year 8113 AD. It contains classic works of film and literature, as well as cultural odds and ends such as a typewriter.

You, too, can create your own time capsule to commemorate the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse from wherever you happen to be. When might you want it opened? Perhaps on April 8, 2024 when the next total solar eclipse crosses the continental United States! How old will you be then? What do you think you would like your younger self to have sent to you across 7 years of time?

As you prepare the contents for your time capsule, think about how your letters and photos will be read by future technology. Printed materials are best, but electronic files require some special planning!

What would you include?

  • How about writing a letter to yourself describing what your dreams might be for the year 2024, or beyond?

  • How about a few digital photos or video clips on a thumb drive. Do you think they will have readers for thumb drives in 2024 or later?

  • Try your hand at drawing what your city or town  might look like when the time capsule is opened.

  • Personal comments about who you are and what you think your future self might wonder about would be very exciting to receive many years after you have forgotten what your younger self was thinking about.

  • What current events are the most exciting to you, or the most troubling, and why.

  • Of course a current newspaper sealed in a plastic bag to avoid moisture and rotting would be exciting to receive many years later.

  • Try not to send food unless you really want to conduct a potentially smelly experiment!

Where should I put it?  

The basic idea is that you want to put your time capsule in some place where you will not be tempted to keep opening it up to take a peek or adding new things to it. You want it to be a glimpse of life at the time it was sealed up and not opened again until the To Be Opened date arrives.

  • Put it in your parents safe deposit box at the bank

  • Bury it in your backyard with a stone marker.

  • If you think you may be moving, bury it in a special spot out in Nature by a favorite mountain and make sure you note its GPS coordinates so you can find it again.


Project the Sun

Never look directly at the Sun without proper eye protection. You can seriously hurt your eyes and even go blind.

Projecting the Sun through a box projector, or using binoculars or telescope, or simply 2 pieces of card is a safe and easy way to view a solar eclipse.

DIY: Simple Card Projector

The simplest and quickest way to safely project the Sun is with a projector made from only 2 pieces of card or paper.

You Need:

2 pieces of stiff white cardboard, e.g. 2 paper plates
alternatively, 2 sheets of plain white paper
a thumbtack, a sharp pin, or a needle

What to Do:Diagram of a DIY pinhole projector.

The concept of a pinhole projector©timeanddate.com

  1. To make a quick version of the pinhole projector, take a sheet of paper and make a tiny hole in the middle of it using a pin or a thumbtack. Make sure that the hole is round and smooth.

  2. With your back towards the Sun, hold 1 piece of paper above your shoulder allowing the Sun to shine on the paper.

  3. The 2nd sheet of paper will act as a screen. Hold it at a distance, and you will see an inverted image of the Sun projected on the paper screen through the pinhole.

  4. To make the image of the Sun larger, hold the screen paper further away from the paper with the pinhole.



Predict the Corona - Art Project

What do you predict that the corona will look like for the August 21, 2017 eclipse?

On Aug. 21, 2017, the United States will experience a solar eclipse. Along a path 60 to 70 miles wide stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, observers will be able to see a total solar eclipse. Others across North America will see a partial eclipse.

To prepare for the big event, NASA wants you to predict what the corona will look like! Create a drawing, add a brief description and share it with us via www.flickr.com/groups/nasa-eclipse2017/ After the eclipse, compare your image to actual coronal images that will be uploaded there. Or Instagram using #Eclipse2017Corona.

For ideas on how to create your own coronal drawing, download the Eclipse Activity Guide (https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/NASA_Eclipse_Activity_G...) Activity 14: ECLIPSE CHALK ART.



Before the advent of photography, astronomers tried very hard to sketch the fleeting shape of our sun’s outer atmosphere called the corona. This ghostly halo of light had been seen for centuries by naked-eye observers at the height of most total solar eclipses, but little was known in the 1800’s about its shape and extent or how these changed with time. Here are some of the sketches that were made of the solar corona during the 1800’s, and it is pretty easy to see that the shapes are complicated and change from eclipse to eclipse.

May, 1878. Corona near sunspot minimumCorona near sunspot maximum
May, 1878.  Corona near sunspot minimum

Many more eclipse & space activities (including making a solar oven for s’mores) at: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/NASA_Eclipse_Activity_Guide.pdf #14

Partial Eclipse reference drawings for flip book craft: https://sunearthday.gsfc.nasa.gov/2008eclipse/maketake.php


https://sunearthday.gsfc.nasa.gov/2008eclipse/maketake.php - used:

Color the Eclipse Dragon, Matching Suns, Solar Clock, Eclipse flipbook


Other ideas: #6 sun s’mores, #9 sun tracking, more.

More ideas:

http://leftbraincraftbrain.com/10-solar-eclipse-activities-for-kids – lots of great arts & crafts


https://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/assets/docs/Exploring_UVLight.pdf -- fun if you have light-changing beads



Other viewer ideas:




Printable version of ideas above: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HuMvVvlCieQIPU0iuoIeq3AXeWTMDHyydj2-q2__Cqo/edit?usp=sharing

As patrons finished - gave away Eclipse Glasses -- emphasized safety, could also use page 37 of https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/NASA_Eclipse_Activity_Guide.pdf

BWL 8.15.17

More ideas: http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/2017/08/eclipse-madness-zombies-might-easier/

From our Watchung Library Branch:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fairytale Engineering “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”– Build a Better Chair

This, like the other programs in our summer reading series for “Build a Better World,” emphasized open-ended problem-solving.  Kids of all ages were given a variety of materials and an engineering goal and then worked to find a creative solution – the variety and ingenuity of their solutions was really exciting!

As kids arrived, I had books about Goldilocks and stories starring chairs to browse. Asked kids to recall what they remembered from previous sessions.

10 a.m. Pre-School Fairy Tale Engineering (Ages 3-6):



Storytelling: Goldilocks (flannel)



"Where is Brown Bear" (glove puppets) – words here: http://carolsimonlevin.blogspot.com/2015/12/pre-school-storytime-bear-necessities.html


Book: That's (Not) Mine by Anna Kang – Big Bear and Tiny Bear tussle over possession of a single chair in this simple but delightful story.


Action: Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Turn Around (puppet)


Book: A Chair for Baby Bear by Kaye Umansky  -- The bear family goes to town to buy a replacement chair for Baby Bear but none of the (very creative) chairs are “just right” until, upon their return home, Baby Bear finds a package from an apologetic Goldilocks.


11:30 a.m. Kids Fairy Tale Engineering Challenge (k-4):

Book: Goldilocks and the Three Bears, a Tale Moderne by Steven Guarnaccia -- Illustrations featuring elements of the modernism movement in art provide a new look to this traditional tale of the uninvited visit of a young girl to the home of a family of bears.

Book: Somebody and the Three Bears  by Marilyn Tolhurst – In a reversal of the Goldilocks story, a bear explores the home of the three Blairs while they are out, leaving quite a mess in its wake!

Book: I am Not a Chair by Ross Burach --  Shy Giraffe can’t seem to convince the other animals that he is not supposed to be sat upon. Alert listeners will notice a new animal has that problem on the last page!

Book: Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems -- After three hungry dinosaurs lay a trap hoping to catch something to eat, Goldilocks strides in and devours their chocolate pudding – Mo Willems – need I say more!

Shared beginning (through chair drawing segment) of the PBS program Behind the Scenes with Penn & Teller, David Hockney episode -- to get them to think beyond the conventional way of looking at things and introduce this marvelous series on art. Here’s a bit of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxT-aqWfkls&index=3&list=PLBKxj28Tl7q8U2noT44ojmjuZ1WMZiom2


Both Groups -- Engineering Challenge: Make a chair for baby bear -- either a real chair out of the materials provided  or a “prototype” (used and defined this word with the older group) or a drawing.
Optional test: see if your chair can survive "Goldilocks" (puppet atop an unopened 1 quart container of liquid tempera) – I was delighted at the variety and ingenuity shown. 



Materials: Duplo, Lego, Straws & Connectors, K'nex, MakeDo tools, Corrugated and B&T thin cardboard, straws, pipe cleaners, masking & scotch tape, staplers, hole punches, scissors, colored pencils.


BWL 8.2017

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