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-

Virtual Family Storytime: Pets!

I didn’t even realize that National Pet Day was this month when I planned this storytime. Love coincidences!

Here’s what I’ve got planned:

We will talk about early literacy tools: Read/Write/Sing/Talk/Play. We will use all of these in our storytime today but I am going to highlight PLAY. Symbolic play and dramatic play help children to develop language skills. Try acting out your favorite fairytales or stories.  

We Clap and Sing Hello 
We clap and sing hello, 
We clap and sing hello, 
With our friends at storytime, 
We clap and sing hello! 
(Wave and sing hello; jump and sing hello.) 

Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi  

Today we will be talking about pets. How many of you guys have pets? I have a big old goofyball of a dog named Apollo. He’s a goldendoodle and has long curly hair. I have to brush him a lot and he takes up all the space in my bed! Pets take a lot of responsibility, right? You need to feed them, walk them, change their water or bedding, take them to the vet and more. Pets also need a lot of love. 

Letter — “P” for Pet;  
ASL – CAT / DOG / FISH / BIRD 

Some Pets by Angela DiTerlizzi read with permission of Simon & Schuster 

Love Your Pets (Tune-row, row, row your boat) 
Love, love, love your pets, 
Love them everyday. 
Give them food and water too, 
Then let them run and play. 

Game – Sleeping, sleeping all of my friends are sleeping. And when they woke up, they were… Dog/Cat/Bird/Rabbit/Pig 

I’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein read with permission of Candlewick Press 

How Much Is that Pet in the Window? 
How much is that doggy in the window? Woof woof! 
The one with the waggly tail? 
How much is that doggy in the window? Woof woof! 
I do hope that doggy’s for sale. 

Kitty…meow…long whiskers 
Bird… tweet tweet…flappity wings 
Rabbit…hop hop…hoppity legs  
Fish… glub glub… swimmy fins 

Flannel – Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell used with permission of Simon & Schuster 

I Had A Little Turtle 
I had a little turtle 
His name is Tiny Tim 
I put him in the bathtub 
To see if he could swim. 
He drank up all the water 
He ate up all the soap 
And now he’s home sick in bed with bubbles in his throat! 
Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble pop! 

Charlotte and the Rock by Martin, Stephen W., read with permission of Penguin Random House 

Takeaway – I like to give an easy take-away craft, so I made my own pet rock to show them and encourage them to make their own!

We Clap Goodbye Like This 
We clap goodbye like this, 
We clap goodbye like this, 
With our friends at storytime, 
We clap goodbye like this!  

(We wave goodbye like this; We stomp goodbye like this) 

How’d it go:

We had fun today. I was a little tongue tied here and there but I think everyone had fun!

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-

ABC Scavenger Hunt

Today, I had planned a fun, virtual scavenger hunt for my pre-K, K and early elementary school kids. I was totally inspired by a Kelly Clarkson clip I saw.

Here’s what I had planned out:

Children who are read to from birth have a larger vocabulary and have a higher success rate of being lifelong readers and learners. When we talk about early literacy tools we tend to look at these five principles: Read, Sing, Play, Write and Talk. Today we are going to be using letters of the alphabet to go on a scavenger hunt around our houses.  

Before we get started, let’s sing our alphabet. I will hold up the letters while we sing, so don’t sing too fast! A, B, C, D… 

Let’s try one more time and this time, I am going to sing and sign the alphabet in American Sign Language. A, B, C, D… 

If you are interested in learning more about sign language, you can check out the Maryland Deaf Culture Digital Library: https://www.marylanddcdl.org/  

OK. So the way this is going to work, I am going to hold up a letter. We are all going to read this letter together and when I say go, I want you to find something in your house that starts with that letter.

For example, if I hold up the letter A, I might get and hold up an APPLE. We will then spotlight a few of you to show us the items you found. So think about the letter and the object you are going to get. If I can figure out who ran back first, I will spotlight you first.  

We’ll try to fit in as many letters as we can before our time is up! Are you ready? 

How’d it go:

This worked out even better than I had hoped! We had somewhere between 15-20 kids, which was the perfect amount to give everyone a chance to be spotlighted a couple of times. We got through about half the alphabet in our 30 minutes and the kids seemed to have a really good time hunting around their houses and actually getting to interact on screen.

This program took little to no prep on my end and the switching spotlights, was probably the hardest part.  

Maybe a color themed scavenger hunt is in my future!

That’s all for now!

-M-

George Crum: A Potato Chip STEM Challenge

In honor of Black History Month, I held a mini-virtual history lesson, paired with a fun STEM challenge. This was a challenge I’d seen from pictures in the past and I even tested it out a few months ago with my 4-6th grade book club.

The potato chip was invented in 1853 by George Crum. Or so the legend tells it. Crum was a Native American/African American chef at the Moon Lake Lodge resort in Saratoga Springs, New York, USA. When a customer complained that his fries were too thick and soggy, Crum sliced them as thin as he could, added lots of salt and fried them to a crisp! And so chips were born.

After giving the kids a mini history lesson about the potato and what we know about George Crum’s life. We discussed the various myths and then we talked about how stories can often change through the telling, like the telephone game and how history can sometimes be biased based on whose telling.

From there I introduced our challenge. The challenge: Build a ring using only Pringles potato chips. For this challenge, you need a full sized can of Pringles and a flat surface. I warned the kids NOT to eat their chips or else they might run out before they completed their ring.

We thought about three questions in getting ready to do the building:

  1. How will the base of your ring be support the top?​
  2. How will you layer your chips? Will you work off a set pattern? If so, what pattern?​
  3. What will you do if you need to reevaluate your plans?​

Then we went in to a little of the science. We talked about how as the sides of the ring get taller, gravity pushes down on the chips. This can cause them to slide down as your ring begins to curve. In order for the chips to not slide, there has to be enough frictional force on the sides of the chips so that gravity can’t push them down​.

And then the race was on!

How’d it go:
It ended up being a snow day at my house, so I had a three year old and a 6mo old “helping” me with the program but other than that it went great. We had a great turn out and some of my colleagues helped me to commentary and spotlight the kids rings as they were building.

The success of this program has me thinking up so many STEM/History possibilities. Time to get my research hat on!

That’s all for now!

-M-