STEM Storytime: Henry Builds a Cabin

At our February S.T.E.M. Storytime, we read Henry Builds a Cabin by D. B. Johnson. It's based on the story of Thoreau, who built a tiny cabin in Walden woods. He was creative and thrifty and built his home just big enough for a all his needs. After the story, we built, too - using cubes, small plastic glasses, and craft sticks. 

Before we left, one of our patrons read a book she had written and illustrated all by herself! It was super!

Mittens, Hats, Boots, Jackets

We have almost had enough of winter at Storytime, but this week we spent time reading about the clothes we wear when it's cold and snowy. First we read The Mitten by Jim Aylesworth, about a boy who loses one of his red mittens and the animals who find it. Do you know that story? There are lots of versions! Then, we read Holly's Red Boots by Francesca Chessa about a little girl who lost one of her boots. Emily reads us The Hat, a funny story by Jan Brett about a hedgehog who found a hat that had been blown off a clothesline. Finally, we read a story that rhymed and repeated, called The Jacket I Wear in the Snow by Shirley Neitzel. It was a funny story about a child getting ready to go outside to play in the snow - and what happens to make her quickly want come back inside.

We decorated plain white paper mittens to make them look fancy. We noticed that most mittens match - that what's on one mitten is on the other. We colored and glued ribbons, yarns, and colored paper shapes. We stuck on stickers and dots. We put yarn through the punched holes and we tied them together.  Pretty!

Crazy 8s: It's About Time!

we began this week's Crazy 8s Club by discussing time and the way it can be measured. We talked about big and small chunks of time, and made a list on the whiteboard. Hours, minutes, seconds, decade, century, millenium...we came up with lots of words! We talked about months, then lined up in birthday order (including Mrs. Markey and Mrs. Hunewell). We learned a knuckle method of recalling how many days there are in each of the months.

Then we worked with stopwatches! We practiced starting, stopping, and resetting our stopwatches. We estimated how long twenty seconds might be by starting the stopwatch and stopping it when we thought the time was up. We timed each other doing "ridiculous challenges" like standing in a yoga stork pose or dabbing.

It was not easy to estimate time, but we found that the more we did it, the more accurate our guesses became. Be careful if you tell us to wait a minute, because we may!!

Winter Animals

Storytime continues winter themes with stories today about animals in winter. We read Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, one of my favorite books! A girl and her father ski through the winter woods while they talk about the animals living right under their feet, under the snow and the ground. It was fun to point out all the animals! Emily read us Virgil & Owen by Paulette Bogan, about a penguin who finds a polar bear and wants to be his only friend. We read a new book called Mice Skating by Annie Silvestro about a mouse who, unlike her friends, loves winter and wants to be outside. Can you guess what she likes to do??

We made polar bear faces from paper plates and squares of tissue paper. We glued a plastic cup for a snout and gave him sticker eyes and a pompom nose. Growl!!!
It sure was fun to be with old friends again!

Storytime STEM: Snowflake Bentley

It's January, and time for snow! We read Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, the true story of Wilson Bentley from Vermont, a young boy who loved to study snowflakes. When he got a camera, he learned to photograph them, and his pictures are still around today! This book also won the Caldecott Medal in 1999 for its illustrations. We wondered how illustrator Mary Azarian could have made such detailed woodcuts for these illustrations. Look!

After the story, we looked at some of Wilson Bentley's beautiful snowflake photos. We noticed the symmetry in each of the six branches of the snow crystals.

Next, we made snowflakes from ironed-flat coffee filters. We had small coffee filters from a home coffee maker and huge filters from the coffee machine at Dunkin' Donuts! Thanks for the donation, Sherrie!

We folded the filters first in half...
then in quarters....
and finally into sixths. 
Then came the fun part: cutting into the sides and the center of this wedge of paper. And here's one of the results.
Six-sided symmetry!
We also drew around some of the "snowflakes" elements - the holes, the cuts, the edges - using watercolor markers. We dripped drops of water on the colors to make them run and watched the capillary action of the filter paper spread the color. 

The only thing that might have made this session better would be to catch and study real snowflakes outside. Like Snowflake Bentley, we know that involves a special kind of snow. We will watch for it in the next snowstorms this winter!


This week's snowstorm made it a perfect time to read about snowplows and snow removal. First, we read Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick, about a small snowplow who always got picked last and how he and his friend Gus battled a blizzard! In Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton we heard about a tractor who plowed out the whole city after a big snowstorm. We liked to look at the maps, and find the compass rose on many of the pages. Our last story was a favorite: SuperTruck by Stephen Savage, about a superhero truck who saves the day, and then vanishes.

We made our own snowplow from paper. We added a cardboard scoop with some cotton snow to make it look like the truck was really plowing out a city!


LEGO Club: Building a Box

January's LEGO Club began with partial readings of two picture books - The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli, featuring an imaginative child with a carton, and The Mud Flat Mystery by James Stevenson, about neighbors' curiosity when a large box is delivered to a vacationing friend's house. Both stories were precursors to this month's LEGO challenge: to build a box that could open and close.
Mr. Dowal had sorted out the moveable LEGO bricks that could serve as hinges and, for those interested, demonstrated how a box could be built by using plates. Kids made their own MOCs, some with boxes and some without. Many are on display in the cases at the back of the library. 
Again, several New Hampton School students joined us for the fun! Thanks for visiting with us and for being good role models for younger kids! 

Crazy 8s Club: Sound Investigations

This week's Crazy 8s Club at the New Hampton Community School After School Program dealt with pitch and volume.  After cutting straws into specific graduated sizes, we taped them together to make a pan flutes, investigated the relationship between a straw's length and its pitch as we worked.
We also used a sound meter app to see how loud we could play and how that measurement changed when we factored in distance. 
Here's the completed flute, and an able player!

Make a Snowman!

Two recent Storytimes featured stories of snowmen and the fun they might have if they were alive! Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner imagines what a snowman might do while we're sleeping and explains why he may look different the morning after you make him. Snow Magic by Harriet Ziefert tells of a fun snowman party on the first day of winter. Snowbaby Could Not Sleep by Kara LaReau was a funny story about a snow parents trying to get their snow child to sleep. We noticed that he slept under a blanket of snow! There was also a snow dog in this story!

We made some snow people (and a dog!) from paper plates covered with coffee filters. We added buttons, stickers, and construction paper elements. Some chose to give their snowman arms and legs! The snow creatures were all different, just like real people!
Look! Using chairs and coats, one session even set up an impromptu puppet show!

Crazy 8s: Glow-in-the-dark Geometry & Pattern

We began a new "Crazy 8s" Math Club this week with twelve 3rd, 4th and 5th graders from the Project Promise After School Program at New Hampton Community School. This eight week program will reinforce math skills in a fun and experiential way!

This week we built geometric shapes out of glowsticks. First, we made different kinds of triangles, like equilateral and isosceles, then we made four-sided shapes like trapezoids, parallelograms, rhombuses, rectangles, and squares. 
Then, working together, we made repeating patterns on the floor. Certain regular polygons worked perfectly, like triangles, squares, and hexagons. We had to work closely with each other to be sure our shapes were accurately made so the pattern could continue. We also figured the area and perimeter of some of our biggest shapes!
How many triangles do you see in the shape below? 
Count carefully!

Back to Top