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STEM Saturday: Squishy Circuits

Doesn't the word circuit sound a little like circle? Today at our STEM Saturday hour, we learned about circuits - how power flows from an energy source, through conductive materials, and back again to the source, making a circle of power! We donned our safety glasses and got to work making circuits using conductive and insulating playdough! Lots of salt in the conductive playdough makes it able to carry a current.
For inspiration, we first looked at pictures of squishy circuit creations.  Our power supplies were batteries in holders with leads (wires). We used red, green, and yellow LED lights to light up the creations we sculpted. We were careful to make complete circuits when we worked. We connected the batteries to the conductive playdough by sticking the terminals of the red and black leads into the squishy lumps. We put one of each LED leg into the same dough and watched the LED light up when the circuit was complete! We soon realized power can only flow one way through an LED and sometimes we had to turn it around to make it light up. We also learned that using different battery strengths would make the LEDs light up brighter. We all wanted to try the 9V battery!
 
At the beginning of our hour, we heard the story Paul Meets Bernadette by Rosy Lamb, about a fish who swims in circles until a new friend comes along and opens his eyes. And when our hour was over, everyone had some circle cookies! There sure were lots of circles and circuits at today's STEM Saturday!

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Time for Turkey!

Next Thursday we'll be with family and friends celebrating Thanksgiving, so today was our last opportunity to celebrate turkeys at Storytime. We read three stories about this famous bird. A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman told the story of a town who tried to trick a turkey into being Thanksgiving dinner (here's a video of the story!). This is the Turkey by Abby Levine was a rhyming and sequential story about a family preparing their holiday meal. Eve Bunting's A Turkey for Thanksgiving was the clear favorite today, about a Moose family preparing Thanksgiving dinner for their animal friends and Mr. Moose's quest to find a turkey to be their special guest. 

For our craft - yes, a turkey! Looped strips of colorful wallpaper and construction paper made the feathers for our paper-plate bird. A kraft paper body with eyes, beak, legs, and a snood finished him off. 
Then, to the delight of other patrons, we had an impromptu turkey parade around the library! Such a fun way to end our time together!

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Tony Sarg, Macy's Puppeter!

When the NHCS "Book Bonanza" Club came to the library after school today, they heard the story of Tony Sarg, the man behind the famous balloons we see each year in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet illustrates and tells the story of how Tony persevered and problem-solved over the years as he worked to perfect his balloon design and construction. What an engineer he was!

Later, students created their own balloon floats, modeled after one of Tony's early designs, by tying inflated balloons to a stick, then embellishing them with paper, streamers, and artwork. While they worked, Mr. McCann told stories of his childhood in New Jersey and actually seeing the famous balloons up close on the streets where the parade takes place.
 

Here's a video showing more about the picture book biography and Tony Sarg! It's a great story - and I think Club members liked it!
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Preparing for Winter

In November, many animals get ready for winter. Today we read picture books about some of them. In Mousekin's Golden House by Edna Miller, a mouse finds a discarded jack-o-lantern and works to make it his home for the winter. Denise Fleming's Time to Sleep told of bear and his animal friends, all getting ready to hibernate for the winter. And Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows showed events on a train, as sleepy animals were taken away in their pajamas as snowflakes began to fall.

Our wonderful helper, Brandie, had this fingerplay for us:
Here is a cave. (Bend fingers on one hand)
Inside is a bear. Now he comes out, to get some fresh air. (Pop out thumb.)
He stays out all summer 
In sunshine and heat 
He hunts in the forest for berries to eat. (Move thumb in a circle.) 
When snow starts to fall 
He hurries inside 
His warm little cave and there he will hide. (Put thumb inside fingers.) 
Snow covers the cave 
Like a fluffy white rug. 
Inside the bear sleeps all cozy and snug. (Place one hand over the other.) 
Our hibernation craft was a creature hidden in a cozy paper plate den, with only googly eyes peeking out! Some children made bears, some made chipmunks, some made mice. They added a paper tree, some fall colors for leaves, and even a few snowflakes! After all, winter's coming!

Here's the chorus of our hibernation song, with the rest of the words below, so you can sing it at home!

Hibernation. Time for Hibernation.
Hibernation. Time to go to sleep.

In the winter where's the bear?
Sleeping in its log or lair.
Where's the bear? Log or lair. OH!
(chorus)

In the winter where's the frog?
Sleeping by a pond or log.
Where's the frog? In the log. OH!
(chorus)

In the winter where's the snake?
In the mud beside the lake.
Where's the snake? Beside the lake. OH!
(chorus)

In the winter where's the bat?
In a cave is where it's at!
Where's the bat? Cave it's at. OH!
(chorus)

In the winter where’s the skunk?
Underneath a fallen trunk.
Where's the skunk? Fallen trunk. OH!
(chorus)

In the winter where’s the mouse?
Sleeping in his cozy house.
Where's the mouse? Cozy house. OH!
(chorus)
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Hoooot!

Whooo doesn't love to read stories about owls? This week we read three! Owlet's First Flight by Mitra Modarressi told of a baby owl's adventures the first time he flew alone. Little Owl's Night by Divya Srinivasan was another nighttime story of Owl's animal friends and their nocturnal activities. Finally, Hoot by Jane Hissey was about a toy owl who woke up her stuffed animal friends when she needed help with a serious problem.
We made paper bag owls with big cupcake liner eyes! Beak, wings, and ears were glued on and feathers were added with crayon. A spontaneous parade began with owls flying through the library and hooting!
Whooo had fun at the library today? We all did!

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NHCS After-School Program - at the GNL


Yesterday the library welcomed 15 third, fourth, and fifth graders from New Hampton Community School's Project Promise after-school program. Under the direction of NHCS teachers Miss Markey and Mr. McCann, these students have chosen to come to the Gordon-Nash on Wednesdays for the next few weeks to borrow books and find out more about the library and what we have to offer our young patrons.

Students had a tour of the library, then listened to The Incredible Book-Eating Boy, a story by Irish author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers. At the craft tables, they designed their own bookmarks to use for the books they borrowed and brought back to school to read in the coming week.

It was wonderful to have so many well-behaved and eager "big kids" in the library all at once. We're looking forward to seeing them again next Wednesday!
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