4-6th Grade Book Discussion: Eddie Red Undercover

Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells is a 4-6th grade juvenile fiction novel about a smart kid who teams up with the police to catch art thieves.

Sixth grader Edmund, aka Eddie Red, has a photographic memory and some really great art skills, which makes him the perfect tool for the NYPD to use to catch a renowned group of art thieves called the Picasso Gang. But not everyone is as thrilled as Eddie is to be working with the police.

As Eddie continues to work the case, he and his genius best friend dig themselves in deeper and may find themselves in a whole lot of trouble.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is this book about? What are the main themes?
  2. Where do you think Edmund got his code name “Eddie Red” from?
  3. Edmund has a photographic memory. What advantages or disadvantages might there be to having such a memory?
  4. It takes three things to solve a police investigation according to Edmund. What are they and how does he use them to solve the Mystery on Museum Mile?
  5. Edmund is a pretty relatable character. What character traits does Edmund have that you might relate to?
  6. What are your personal stakeout must haves?
  7. What do you notice first when you meet someone? What disguise might you use to make yourself unrecognizable.
  8. Detective Bovano isn’t a fan of Edmund working for the police. Why do you think this is so? And how might Edmund try to get on Bovano’s good side?
  9. At the end of the novel, Edmund seems to have gained a new sense of self confidence and helps his friend deal with a bully. How do you deal with bullies?
  10. Is there anything you would change about this novel? Anything too predictable? Any loose ends?

STEM Activity: “Non-Newtonian Fluid” experiment

Supplies: Plastic Tupperware tub big enough to put your two hands in; corn starch; water

How To:

  1. Add corn starch to your plastic container. Keep track of how much you add.
  2. Add 1 part water to 2 parts corn startch. I.e. if you added 2 cups of corn startch, you would add 1 cup of water.
  3. Stir the mixture until it forms a thick mass that is no longer powdery.
  4. Very slowly, stick your hand in the mixture. Notice that your hand comes back wet and powdery. Clean your hand off.
  5. Now quickly hit, slap, knead, the mixture. Your hand should not go through the mass. You could run on it, hit it with a hammer and if you do it quickly enough, you should remain on the surface of the mass and not go under it.

The Science:

“Non-New­to­ni­an liq­uids do not obey the laws of or­di­nary liq­uids. They change their den­si­ty and vis­cos­i­ty un­der the im­pact of phys­i­cal force.” The starch particles bond with the liquid forming “chaotically interlaced molecules.” At a higher “shear” or impact rate, the tight bonds do not let the molecules separate, staying more of a solid. At a lower “shear” or impact rate, the bonds loosen and the molecules act more like a liquid. Non-Newtonian liquids do not obey the normal laws of physics. You can find out more about this experiment at MELS Chemistry.

Sources:

https://melscience.com/US-en/articles/non-newtonian-fluid-experiment/

https://www.marciawellsauthor.com/eddies-art-gallery

How’d it go:

Oh man, what a frazzled book club! Somehow the link to my Zoom meeting was broken and here I am sitting there thinking no one would come and then a colleague tells me the link is broken. So quickly emailed the crew and changed the link and by then I was a mess. We had a very speedy discussion, a small group and a messy, messy experiment. *Sigh* It was bound to happen.

That’s all for now!

-M-

 

Arcade and the Triple T Token

Arcade and the Triple T Token by Rashad Jennings is the first book in a junveile fiction series probably best for 4-6th graders.

Eleven-year-old Arcade Livingston has some typical kid problems–he’s moved to a new city and is the new kid at school, some bullies have him in their sights and having to take the subway everywhere makes it difficult to check out all the library books he wants. But he also has one very unusual problem… a mysterious token that seems to be transporting him on some pretty crazy adventures.

Together with his older sister, Zoe, Arcade will learn to navigate his new home, while trying to uncover the secrets of this magical token that appeared out of no where.

This was a really fun read and quick too! I found the characters super relatable, each in their own way, and Arcade is someone you can definitely see being a friend. There’s almost this idea of stepping into another person’s shoes that the author is playing with, through the lens of  “what do I want to be when I grow up,” a question that a lot of middle grade kids are just starting to explore. I sort of loved that each of Arcade’s adventures were tied in to one of his friends interests and desires.

Arcade is sort of this “go to guy,” the guy who knows all the answers, even if he has no idea what he wants to be himself. He’s smart in an observant way and I liked how he sees the world around him.

There’s also a secondary lesson going on in the background with this one–this idea of why should we only think inside the box, when there are other ways of looking at the world. It’s a more obscure theme, but it’s there.

The fifth book is about to come out in this series, so I think this would be a great one for both boys and girls in 4-6th grade. There’s a lot to discuss and a lot that can be explored about ones own aspirations. This book gets a high 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Virtual Baby Storytime: 7/16/2020

Virtual Baby Storytime: 7/16/2020

This will probably be the last storytime I do before I go on maternity leave for three months. So hopefully it will be a fun one!

  • H.E.L.L.O
    • We love clapping, so for this one I thought we could clap out the letters of the world hello as we say them.

Let’s clap and say hello…
H.E. L. L. O.
H.E. L. L. O.
H.E. L. L. O.
Let’s clap and say good morning.

  • When Cows Get Up in the Morning61yxx0ommcl._sx448_bo1204203200_
    • I may or may not break out a few puppets for this one. But it’s a great way to practice our animal sounds.

When cows get up in the morning, they always say hello.
When cows get up in the morning, they always say hello.
And what do they say? Mooooooooo
And that is what they say.
(Ducks, Pigs, Sheep)

  • BOOK – Mama’s Little Bear by Nancy Tafuri
    • I found this one when I was doing some weeding the other day and it was too cute to pass up. Tafuri just has the best books for the little guys. Big words and big pictures
  • Helicopter
    • For this one, I am going to give my caregivers a choice… pretend baby is a helicopter for the up/down/left/right or I will teach them the ASL sign for helicopter and we can do it that way. 51zcmr6a5bl._sy498_bo1204203200_

Helicopter goes up
Helicopter goes down
Helicopter turns, turns all around
Helicopter goes left
Helicopter goes right
Helicopter goes up, up, and out of sight (hands behind back)

  • BOOK – Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions by Abrams Appleseed
    • Babies love looking at faces and the faces of other babies, so I thought this would be a great, simple one for storytime.
  • Little Clapping Mouse
    • I was surprised how much of a hit this one was at my baby storytimes in the past, so I figured I’d try it virtually. Every star represents a clap.

Behind the tree * *
And under the house * *
There lived a teeny * *
Tiny mouse * *
She loved to sing * *
She loved to tap * *
But most of all * *
She loved to clap * *
She clapped all night * *
She clapped all day * *
She clapped to frighten * *
The cat away * * * * * * * * (lots of claps)

  • Little Bunny in a Hat
    • This is a fun little finger play and if you have a bunny puppet or stuffy, even better! 51j9t9bfw6l._sx400_bo1204203200_

Little bunny in a hat
Sitting so still
Will it come out?
Yes it will!
It looks to the left
It looks to the right
It looks straight ahead
And pops out of sight.

  • BOOK – Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse by Jane Godwin
    • This one is probably going to be a little long for this crowd but I wanted to give it a try because it has a lot of the great elements of a story and it’s one I’ve been wanting to try.
  • Toast in the Toaster
    • Lifts, lifts we love our lifts!

Toast in the toaster
Getting very hot!
Tick-tock, tick-tock
Up you pop!

  • This is the way the lady rides
    • This has been a bounce several librarians have already done in virtual storytime since the pandemic started but it is just so much and repetition is important.

This is the way the lady rides,
Lady rides, lady rides,
This is the way the lady rides.
On her way to town.
This is the way the gentleman rides,
Gentleman rides, gentleman rides,
This is the way the gentleman rides.
On his way to town.
This is the way the doctor rides,
Doctor rides, doctor rides,
This is the way the doctor rides.
On his way to town.
This is the way the cowboy rides,
Cowboy rides, cowboy rides,
This is the way the cowboy rides.
On his way to town.

  • Our Hands Say Thank You…
    • Instead of goodbye, we are going to say thank you today!

Our hands say thank you with
A clap, clap, clap;
Our feet say thank you with a
Tap, tap, tap.
Clap, clap, clap!
Tap, tap, tap!
We roll our hands around, and say,
“Good-bye.”

How’d it go:

This was my last storytime before my maternity leave and that’s probably good because I am getting wayy too out of breath 😛 But everything went very smoothly and I think we all had a good time!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Masterminds

Masterminds by Gordon Korman is the first book in a juvenile fiction series probably good for 4-7th graders.

Eli Frieden has never even stepped outside of his hometown Serenity, New Mexico… but when you live in a town that is perfect in every way, why would you want to. At least that is what he’s been raised to believe, until one day he bikes to the edge of town and everything changes.

Now Eli is questioning everything that make Serenity what it is, even his own father might be in on it… but in on what? Together he and his friends work together to uncover what secrets a town without secrets is really hiding. And what they found out, will shift the way they think about their world forever.

Once the truth is out, will anything ever be the same?

This is actually an older title and I think the entire series may actually be out, which will be a plus to my book club crew because I tend to pick titles that they have to wait for the sequels for.

I sort of love this idea of these kids finding out that they are clones of criminal masterminds and now they are wondering if they are good, bad or something in between. And it was so much fun seeing the little hints of inherited talent that may or may not have come from their DNA.

There’s also a lot of great discussion questions that can be pulled out of this book, while it still being entertaining to the kids. Questions about living in a “perfect” town, living without secrets, value vs love, censorship and more. The discussion we can have over nature vs nurture is going to be really interesting.

Overall, this was a fun book with a lot of good potential for a book club. I’d probably recommend this one for 5-6th graders. This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

4-6th Grade Book Club: COG

COG by Greg Van Eekhout is a juvenile fiction book probably best for grades 3-5.

What do you get when a trashbot, a robot dog, and two extremely lifelike automatons steal a smart car? Five allies on a mission with very little real world experiences.

Cog looks like your everyday twelve-year-old, except that his name stands for “Cognitive Development” and he’s a robot built to learn. When a “bad experience” leaves him injured and unconscious, Cog wakes up separated from the only human he has ever known. Now the scientists at UNImind want to take out his brain and study him and Cog thinks this is a very bad idea.

Along with some unusual allies, Cog breaks out of UNImind in search of his creator, Gina. But little does he know, that he is the cog that keeps the wheels turning and the hunt is on for him and his friends.

Will Cog find Gina? And will he escape UNImind’s nefarious clutches?

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is this book about? What are the main themes?
  2. COG stands for Cognitive Development. What does this mean and how does this make Cog different from other robots?
  3. Cog learns during his trip to the supermarket that sometimes the best way to increase his cognitive development is to learn from his mistakes. Why is this a good/bad technique for learning? Have you ever had to learn from a big mistake?
  4. Why do you think Gina created Cog and Ada to be twelve-years-old instead of adults?
  5. If you had to pick one of the robots to be, which would you be and why?
  6. Gina creates Cog with a special X-Module embedded in his programming. What is the X-Module and how does Cog use it to get out of trouble throughout the book?
  7. UNImind wants to control the worlds technology, how does Cog use his experiences to overtake UNImind’s primary directive?
  8. One of the main themes of this novel is the ability to choose—to have a choice. Why is this such an important theme and how does the author portray it in the novel?
  9. The world this book takes place in, seems both similar and more advanced then our current society. Would you rather live in a high tech or low tech society? Why?
  10. What did you think of the ending? Is there anything you would change?

STEM Activity: DIY Robotic Hand

Supplies: Construction Paper or Cardstock; drinking straws; Yarn or heavy string; Tape; Scissors. Optional: large knitting needle. 

IMG-0848How to:

-Trace your hand on the cardstock. If you have a tiny hand, you may want to trace an adults hand so you have more to work with. Cut out your hand.
-Put your hand back on and make marks where your finger joints are on the paper. Fold at the joint marks.
-Cut the straws to the length of your finger segments. (Hint: four of your fingers have three segments and your thumb has two.) In total you should have 14 straw pieces for your fingers.
-Cut 6 more straws about an inch and a half in length.  And a few extra about half an inch in length.
-Starting with the fingers, tape your straws to the hand with just a small space between each straw. Your paper hand should look like it’s starting to get a skeleton. You may need to play around with how they are laid and the length of the straws, depending on the size of the hand you are using.
-Once taped, you are going to take your yarn and make a big knot at the end of it. Start threading your yarn or string through the straws, starting at the tip of the finger. The knot should be at the tip of the finger, keeping the yarn from pulling out of the straw. Repeat this for each finger until all five strings are come out through the single “wrist bone” straw. Do not pull the strings tight. Keep them loose for now.
-Now, when you are ready, you can slowly pull the strings. The fingers of your hand should move. You can pull all the strings at once or one string at a time.

What’s happening:

This activity gets kids thinking about how the various parts of the human body functions. We’re using the activity as an engineering experiment but it can also be used to talk about the human skeleton and how joints and bones work together to move our bodies.

Source:
https://www.kaplanco.com/ii/diy-robot-hand?CategoryID=28

How’d it go:

This was maybe too complicated of an activity for the virtual world but we had fun and we had a few new faces too!

That’s all for now!

-M-