Earth Day: Sand Art

Earth day is happening in just a few days on April 22nd. Earth day started all the way back in 1970 and is celebrated every year around the world to support and protect our planet. Today we are going to learn a little about this planet we call, Earth, all while doing a fun sand art activity.  

But, in order to do sand art, we need to make sand right? If you happen to have colored sand at home, good for you! But for those of you who don’t, we are going to make our own.  

So what we need are 5 sandwich baggies, food coloring and salt. I hope you all have that handy. OK. Let’s put half a cup of salt into each of the baggies. This will make way more than we need but better to have more than less, right?  

Let’s pick one of those baggies and add around 8-10 drops of GREEN food coloring. Don’t add too much or else it will make our “sand” too wet and we won’t be able to use it right away. Then I want you to squeeze out as much air from the bag as possible and zipper it shut. Shake and move around your salt until the food coloring has spread around evenly. Crack open your baggie and move on to the next.  

We are going to repeat this with, RED, YELLOW and BLUE. To make orange-ish sand, we will do 4 drops of RED and 4 drops of YELLOW food coloring in our last baggie of salt.  

Now we are ready to get started.  

OK. Hopefully you all printed your template of the Earth and it’s layers before we started, if not, grab a blank piece of paper and you can follow along with me. You’ll see we have a funny picture of the Earth, right? Well, the Earth is made up of different layers, think of an onion. We are going to color and label each of these layers. Let’s work our way in. Does anyone know what the top layer of the Earth is called? 

BLUE – Crust – The crust is the thin outer later of the Earth where we all live. It may look pretty tiny from the picture but it can be anywhere from 3 to 44 miles thick. But compared to the rest of the layers it is relatively thin.  

GREEN – Upper Mantel – begins just beneath the crust and ends at the top of the lower mantle. It is relatively solid. The upper mantle causes the tectonic plates to move and is about 255 miles thick. Heat from the center of the earth can cause these big slabs of earth to move or slip, which causes earth quakes.  

YELLO – Lower Mantel – Reaches down 1796 miles beneath the crust, where it transitions to the outer core. It is made from solid rock. The rock is hot enough to melt, but is solid because of the pressure pushing down on it. 

ORANGE – Outer Core – The Earth’s outer core is made up of iron and nickel and is very hot, up to 5000+ degrees C. The outer core is very important to earth as it creates something called a magnetic field. The magnetic field the outer core creates goes way out in to space and makes a protective barrier around the earth that shields us from the sun’s damaging solar wind. 

RED – Inner Core – The Earth’s inner core is made up of iron and nickel, just like the outer core, but the inner core is so deep within the earth that it’s under so much pressure that, even though it is so hot, it is solid. The inner core is the hottest part of the Earth, and, at over 5000 degrees C, is about as hot as the surface of the sun. 

Fun Facts about the Earth: 

  • Earth is the 3rd planet of the sun 
  • By researching our planet’s rocks, scientists have calculated the Earth to be around 4.5 billion years old! 
  • The Earth is a Goldilocks Planet. It is not too far or too close to the sun. It is just right.  
  • 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water. 
  • There are thousands of satellites circling the Earth. Some for communication, some to study the Earth itself and some to study the universe beyond. 
  • Even though you might think you are standing still, the Earth is turning. The speed at the equator is around 1,000 mph. 

How’d it go:

A pretty simple program to prep and run. Overall, it went really well–minus by glue bottle not cooperating at first. Unless you want to make A LOT of salt/sand, I would recommend halving or more the recipe. I used 1/8th cup of salt this time around and 4 drops of food coloring and I still had a TON left over.

Gotta love crafting mixed with science!

That’s all for now!

-M-

Folder Story: There Once Was a Grumpy Pirate

For virtual storytime, there is nothing better than a good folder story. I’ve been working on creating a few of my own and decided to try a “porthole” story for an upcoming pirate theme storytime.

Here’s what I came up with:

There once was a grumpy pirate, 
His grumpy name was Fred. 
He groaned, he moaned, he sighed… 
He wouldn’t get out of bed. 
 
“Up!” tisked his mom,  
“It’s time to get ye dressed! 
“Sleepy pirates, never find, 
“The golden treasure chest.” 
 
So up Fred hopped and dressed he got, 
A hat and eye patch too. 
A shiny hook. A leg of wood. 
In search of gold doubloon. 

I created four porthole paper plates with scenes behind it, that I will show as I say the rhyme:

These were super easy to make. I just took paper plates, cut out the middle and painted them yellow. My background is just taped to the back of each plate. I decided not to laminate them because I didn’t want it to be too shiny for virtual storytime.

This would work too for an under the sea storytime, because you could pretend you are on a yellow submarine!

That’s all for now!

-M-

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-

 

Keeping Busy with a Toddler: Part VII

As it is getting hotter and hotter outside–hello summer–it is time to start thinking about anything fun that can keep us cool outside. This is especially true for everyone who isn’t quite keen on the crowds yet and the uncertainty with public pools opening.

We’re making due at my house with our baby pool and, surprisingly, Tupperware.

Bubble Pool:

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My little one loves bubble baths! We can’t do them all the time because they aren’t very good for the lady bits but we added some to our baby pool and gave her a sponge and a bunch of toys. This was a hit at my house and now every time I fill up the pool, she wants to know where the bubbles are!

Ice Tupperware:

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I was putting ice in the dog’s water bowl one randomly hot day and my little one just kept trying to play with it. So I made her her own ice container on the back deck and this kept her busy for an hour. I honestly don’t know what the appeal was but I’ve filled that container with water on multiple occasions now instead of breaking out the blow up pool. Who needs a water table when you can plastic containers!

Feet Painting:

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We have a long roll of brown paper that we invested in when the pandemic started a few months ago and it has been a life saver. One particularly messy morning, I dropped a bunch of paint splotches on down and just let her make some feet art.

Alphabet Rocks & Window Drawing:

I’ve also invested in some alphabet rocks, which I did not make but a crafty person could easily do so. My little one is advanced in a lot of ways but letters are something she shows absolutely no interest in. So I am hoping her love of rocks will help.

And dry erase markers on a rainy day are also a ton of fun!

That’s all for now!

-M-

4-6th Grade Book Club: Orphan Island

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder is a juvenile fiction novel, probably best for 5-7th graders.

Synopsis:

There can only ever be nine children on the island or else the sky will fall–but other than that everything is perfect. The sun always shines, snakes don’t bite, and the children never go to sleep hungry. Only one thing ever changes: every year the boat comes and one young child arrives and the oldest child must depart.

This year’s Changing is no different. The boat comes and Jinny loses her best friend, Deen, becoming the new island Elder with a Care of her own to mind. Jinny knows that it is her responsibility, now, to teach Ess, the new arrival, the ways of the island. But her heart isn’t in it. Why would anyone willing step into the boat and leave the island?

Will Jinny be ready when the time comes to leave the island herself? Time is running short and she will soon find out.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is this book about? What are the main themes?
  2. The kids are brought up passing down this rhyme: “Nine on an island, orphans all/Any more, the sky might fall.” What do you think this rhyme means and how might it help to “keep” the children from asking questions?
  3. “The island has rules for a reason” (p. 11) and “I might be ready . . . for something else” (p. 12). What do you think Deen means when he says this?
  4. What are some of the signs that they island isn’t just a normal island?
  5. What are the three skills that each Elder must teach to the youngest child and why are they so important?
  6. What is the significance of the pile of shoes?
  7. Who is Abigail? Why do you think she agreed to come to the island? Why do you think the island was created/founded?
  8. What was the turning point of this novel? What changes did you notice when Jinny decides not to leave?
  9. After things started falling apart for Jinny, she becomes conflicted about leaving. Why? Do you think things would get better if she left?
  10. We are left with a lot of questions and a huge cliffhanger. What do you think happens after Jinny leaves the island?

Bonus: If you were stuck on an island, what book would you want to have with you?

STEM Activity: DIY Lava Lamp 

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Supplies:
Empty bottle or glass; Vegetable Oil; Water; Food Coloring; Alka-Seltzer Tablets.

How to:

  • Fill your glass or bottle 2/3 of the way with Vegetable Oil.
  • Fill the rest with water, leaving some room at the top. The water will sink to the bottom of the container because water is heavier (more dense) than Vegetable Oil.
  • Now add in drops of food coloring. Be generous. No need to shake or stir. You will see that the food coloring only mixes with the water.
  • Once you are ready, drop in your Alka-Seltzer tablet. You can break it into a few pieces if you want to.
  • Ta-da! Lava Lamp.

Science:
“When you drop in the alka seltzer, it sinks to the bottom and starts dissolving.  As it dissolves, it forms a gas which rises to the top and takes a little of the colored water with it.  The gas bubble breaks on the surface and the colored water sinks back to the bottom.” –No Guilt Mom

Additional Resource:
Reading Guide

How’d it go:

I don’t know where everyone was tonight because we had a small group, but overall things went pretty well. We weren’t thrilled with this book, mostly because there were so many unanswered questions. But the kids really seemed to love our STEM activity. I love it when a STEM activity actually works!

That’s all for now!

-M-