Tag Archives: STEM

Baby Shower Books – Version 2.0

6 May

I’m headed to, Jamie, my friend and fellow blogger’s baby shower today! If you’ve never checked out The Perpetual Page-Turner, go there now, I’ll wait. Also, check out The Broke & the Bookish, where Jamie is the creator and a contributor! Before I get into board books, I have to share how Jamie and I met. Continue reading

Workman Publishing Halloween Giveaway

13 Oct


I’m so excited to be working together with Workman Publishing (they have some absolutely amazing titles coming out on a regular basis – check ’em out!) to bring you my first ever Book Giveaway, just in time for the Halloween season! There are some amazing books that you could win in this awesome prize package!  An all ages smorgasbord of titles for Halloween including Sandra Boynton’s newest board book title, EEK! Halloween, a book chock full of glow-in-the-dark paper robots, a book of science experiments for your own mad scientist and all the information you could ever want to know about creepy creatures from around the world!  The raffle will be held from Thursday, October 13th – Sunday, October 16th.  One random winner will be chosen.  To enter, simply scroll to the bottom of this post and enter the Rafflecopter raffle!  Good luck!

9780761193005_3D.pngEEK! Halloween by Sandra Boynton | August 23, 2016 | $6.95 | 24 pages | Ages 0-4

It starts with an uh-oh—the chickens are nervous! Strange things are happening. One chicken saw a pumpkin with flickering eyes, another spied a mouse of enormous size. They all saw a wizard and a witch, and a spooky robot. “WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? WHAT DOES IT MEAN? / Relax, silly chickens! It’s HALLOWEEN!”


9780761177623_3dPapertoy Glowbots by Brian Castleforte | August 23, 2016 | 196 Pages | Ages 9&up

Origami meets amazing creatures in a book of paper craft fun! Papertoy Glowbots introduces 46 robots that have the added cool factor of lighting up, whether using glow-in-the-dark stickers that come with the book or light sources like flashlights, Christmas tree lights, and electric tea lights.


9780761183792_3dFrightlopedia by Julie Winterbottom | August 23, 2016 | 224 Pages | Ages 8&up

Combining fact, fiction, and hands-on activities, Frightlopedia is an illustrated A-Z collection of some of the world’s most frightening places, scariest stories, and gruesomest creatures, both real and imagined.


9780761187387_3D.pngOh, Ick!: 114 Science Experiments Guaranteed to Gross You Out!
 by Joy Masoff with Jessica Garrett and Ben Ligon
| November 1, 2016 | Ages 8&up

Featuring 114 interactive experiments and ick-tivities, Oh, Ick! delves into the science behind everything disgusting. Stage an Ooze Olympics to demonstrate viscosity and the nature of slime. Observe how fungi grow by making a Mold Zoo. Embark on an Insect Safari to get to know the creepy crawlies around your home. And learn what causes that embarrassing acne on your face by baking a Pimple Cake to pop—and eat. Eww!

9780761184614_3dFearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods
by Hal Johnson and illustrated by Tom Mead| September 8, 2015 | Ages 8&up

Illustrated throughout, including eight drawings printed with glow-in-the-dark ink, Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods is for every young reader who loves a good scare. The book was originally published in 1910 by William Thomas Cox and is now inspiringly retold by Hal Johnson, author of Immortal Lycanthropes. The creatures are all scales and claws, razor-sharp teeth and stealth, camouflage and single-minded nastiness. Straight out of the era of Paul Bunyan, they speak to an earlier time in American history, when the woods were indeed dark and deep and filled with mystery. The tone is smart and quirky. The illustrations have a sinewy, retro field-guide look. Read them around a campfire, if you dare.


A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Maker Monday: Squishy Circuits

8 Sep

Our last Maker Monday workshop this summer was all about Squishy Circuits.  If you’re not familiar with Squishy Circuits, they were created at the University of St. Thomas as a basic way to teach children about circuitry through (basically) play dough.  Two types of dough are created – one is conductive, while the other is insulating.  Then the rest of the materials you need are a basic 4 AA battery pack, some LEDs, buzzers and motors.  We actually were able to purchase 10 kits from the Squishy Circuits Store website and they worked really well for our group of kids.

I started the program talking to the kids about what makes a circuit work using a light switch as an example.  I also spent just a few minutes teaching the kids how to create a basic circuit using the play dough and the pieces of the kit and then I let them loose on the materials.  The kids spent a solid 45 minutes really working with the kits creating circuits and exploring the materials.  I was really impressed on how focused the kids were and even when something wasn’t working they kept playing around, asked a few questions and continued to work until they figured out the problems they were having.

A few caveats:

  • The buzzers in the Squishy Circuit kits are really loud and abrasive sounding, so after the kids got to try them, we told them to focus on using the LEDs and the motor.
  • You definitely don’t need one recipe of dough per kit. You could probably get away with one recipe of dough for every 2-3 kits.
  • And I didn’t have time to show the kids possible examples of what to create, but the website has some great videos that you could use to show kids what is possible using the Squishy Circuits.

Overall, the kids really enjoyed exploring Squishy Circuits and it’s not a huge expense, especially if you just purchase a few pieces to get started and create smaller groups in a workshop format.

Maker Monday: Stop Motion Animation

18 Aug

Our program is geared toward children entering 3rd – 6th grade in the fall.  We only register 20 kids for the program because we only have 10 iPads and with technology and science programs, less is more. This is our second Maker Monday program of the summer featuring our iPads and the creation of stop motion animation movies that the kids created themselves.

We had about 18-20 kids show up, so there were 2-3 kids at each iPad working together to create their movie.  We first talked about stop motion and what it takes to create a stop motion animated movie and then I really just let the kids loose!  I ended up giving them about 40 minutes to work on their projects and in reality they probably could have worked for at least another hour.  It took a lot of time for some of them to decide on a story line and plot using the options we had.  I gave them the chance to use clay, Lego mini-figures, backdrops I created, and paper, crayons and other craft supplies.  I was so amazed by how well the kids did and how much time they spent working on their projects.  Usually, you’ll get that one group who finished their project in 5 minutes and doesn’t want to do anything else, but these groups tried a variety of different things and continued working on their projects and really thought creatively for cool solutions to problems.  We used the iPad app – Smoovie – which was a free option, not too difficult to use and the kids were amazed to see their creations at the end of the hour.  Like I said, if I offer this program again, I’d more than likely give them a couple hours to work on it, maybe offering time slots on a Saturday or day off from school to give them the time they really needed.  Needless to say, the kids had a lot of fun and I enjoyed watching them work!


Maker Monday: Coding

28 Jun

Our first Maker Monday was a lot of fun!  Our program is geared toward children entering 3rd – 6th grade in the fall.  We only register 20 kids for the program because we only have 10 iPads and with technology and science programs, less is more.  I’m always a little anxious before starting these types of programs because I honestly don’t know a lot about these topics and fewer kids means we can focus on individual attention as some will need more help than others when trying something brand new, we’re also lucky enough to have 10 iPads in the library which allows for kids to work in pairs when we use the iPads.

I start some, if not all of my programs with a conversation with the kids.  I want the kids to share with the group what they know about whatever topic we’re working on during the program.  I usually have a few questions to pull information from the kids as needed, but the kids usually need very little prompting to share information.  After we share the information, we dove into our coding for the afternoon.

Our first activity involved a grid of paper lying on the floor, I think I was able to fit a grid of 10 x 8 sheets of paper.  We used a plastic gold coin as our “treasure”  One of the kids volunteered to take directions from the group and I explained that you can move volunteer in four directions – forward, backward, left and right.  (Make sure your volunteer faces the same direction throughout the activity)  Then the kids took turns giving directions.  A few times the kids gave bad directions which help showed what happens when your code is incorrect.  After we tried a few times, I removed a few of the papers which created blocks and made the “programming” more difficult.

After we finished working on our large version of the grid, I gave the kids a piece of graph paper to create their own maze or partner with friends to repeat the exercise above by hand.  I like offering these coding activities that don’t require technology because it helps the kids understand how coding works and what happens when the directions are incorrect.

Finally, the kids paired up to use the iPads and got the chance to spend about 20-30 minutes playing with a few coding apps including Daisy the Dinosaur, Hopscotch and Scratch Jr.  I like offering a few options as the kids are at very different levels in their understanding of coding and their experience in coding as well.  The kids did a great job of working together and sharing the iPads, no one wandered off task and started using other apps and I only had one instance where two boys were giggling and clearly up to no good.  I had them delete the project they were working on and gave them a stern talking to and had no other problems.

Overall, I’m really happy with how the program worked out and the kids seemed to really enjoy themselves.  Our next program is going to be a stop motion animation program which I’m pretty nervous about because it’s not something I’ve done before, but that’s part of the fun too.

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