Penumbral Lunar Eclipse!

What exactly is a penumbral  lunar eclipse? We recently had the good fortune to be able to explore this in a library program. In a rare event, several circumstances aligned to allow us the opportunity to talk about eclipses, view one as it happened, and help build excitement for the upcoming solar eclipse. Even though

Poly- What? Learning the language of 3D Geometry

    Shapes, shapes, and more shapes.  Circle, triangle, square, rectangle - it all starts of easy enough.  Then it get a bit more complicated when you move from two dimensional to three dimensional - sphere, cylinder, pyramid, cube, prism.  Then, before you know it, your tongue is in a knot, and you're totally confused.

Learning the Colors With Wizard’s Brew and Picture Books

Recently, I got the opportunity to fill in at another branch and do the preschool story times there while their children's librarian was out for several weeks.  It was great!  I had a wonderful time planning and presenting preschool storytime again after doing mostly school-aged programs for the last several years. One storytime the kids

Cardboard Creations!

What can you do with an hour, a large box, some assorted IKEA packing materials, a few plastic fasteners, and some kids? All kinds of cool things! We recently held another "open building" program at KCPL. This time, our building materials included one very large box, pieces of cardboard of various sizes, shapes, and thickness,

Pumpkins! (with STEMs!)

Happy October! Like the rest of the known (well, at least here in the Midwest!) world, you CAN bring pumpkins into your programming! But there are ways to do this which include many STEM concepts as well as fun! There are many great fiction titles about pumpkins, some of which actually follow the life cycle

Edible Rocks??? Definitely!

         The Lunar and Planetary Institute has done it again!  They have developed another delicious educational experience to share with libraries and educators - Edible Rocks. Who would want to try to eat a rock?  Just about everyone, when the "rocks" are chocolate bars, "Three Musketeers" (the candy, not the book or movie), "Nestle

Carnivorous Plants and the magic of Plant Regeneration and Propagation

               A few weeks ago,  I came across a very interesting online store, the Carnivorous Plant Nursery.   Their focus, shockingly, is on propagating and selling carnivorous plants from all over the world.  But they also believe in education and helping educators of all kinds.  To this end, they

3-D Origami – The Fun of Legos on a Much Smaller Budget

Fate is a funny thing.  A few months ago I got ambitious one week, and wrote and published ( I thought) three blog articles.  Unbeknownst to me, it was the same week that the STAR_Net blog was being moved to its new home on this website.  For some reason, one of my articles made the

What is the Lowest Maintenance Pet of All?

  A few weeks ago I decided to have a program where the kids could relax and let their creative juices flow, and where some of the parents/grandparents could flash back to their own childhoods and have a good laugh.  The program, I expected, would be a short one.  Then we could spend the rest of

Learn About Other Cultures While Getting Fit – Make Your Own Skill Toys

                There's lots of research these days that supports the idea that a healthy body supports a healthy mind and intellect, improving one's ability to learn, understand, and retain information.  Cultures throughout history may or may not have made the connection between a healthy body and a healthy mind,

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