Creating a Perpetual Nature Journal: A Sketchbook With a Twist

2021-05-30T09:10:51-06:00

I've read about artists, especially botanical artists, that take years to finish a work of art, not because they were just super slow, but because they had to wait.  What did they have to wait for?  Nature. These artists would focus on a particular plant while it was in bloom or its fruit was ripe, or it was at some other particular stage in its yearly cycle that they wanted to portray.  Then, when the blooms faded, the fruit was gone, or the plant had moved on to another stage, that painting and its associated sketches were put away until the [...]

Creating a Perpetual Nature Journal: A Sketchbook With a Twist2021-05-30T09:10:51-06:00

STEAM Engines: Da Vinci Bridge

2021-07-20T13:00:34-06:00

A few years back, as the Youth Services department was thinking about programs and play opportunities for the library, I attended this talk about the benefits of nature play for children. Scholarly presentations on the benefits of forest schools, nature preschools, and the importance of nature play were in abundance as well as hands-on activities for practical application in a school or library setting. I love it, and I’m totally on board, but the point that stuck out the most for me was the educator who talked about kids’ play being their work - that they would naturally become builders, engineers, [...]

STEAM Engines: Da Vinci Bridge2021-07-20T13:00:34-06:00

Nature Journaling – Art, Science, Observation, and Fun!

2021-05-28T22:05:55-06:00

Folks know what Nature is. Folks know what a journal is. But Nature can't write... no thumbs, among other things. Sooo. . . what is a nature journal? That depends. If you are an adult, a nature journal is a fantastic way to get away from the hustle, bustle, and rush, and practice patience, observational skills, and art.  It can be an opportunity to get out and have an outdoor adventure.  Keeping a nature journal is a way to become acquainted or reacquainted with the natural world.  It can become the place where an artist or future artist takes notes and [...]

Nature Journaling – Art, Science, Observation, and Fun!2021-05-28T22:05:55-06:00

STEAM Engines: Rube Goldberg Machines

2021-07-20T13:04:17-06:00

One of the greatest things about living with my son is watching how his brain works. He is a tinkerer, a “how things work” enthusiast, an engineer, and a builder. Where he sees a world of possibility in a pile of Lego, without clear instructions and a plan I see clutter and confusion. Where I see a mess of sticks, he sees a potential fort. Nothing exemplifies this more than the following example: One Saturday morning not long ago I asked Desi to clean up “a world of possibility” from the middle of the floor. He agreed, and I returned a [...]

STEAM Engines: Rube Goldberg Machines2021-07-20T13:04:17-06:00

Celebrate the Bees – World Bee Day

2021-05-29T08:08:07-06:00

On December 20, 2017, the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously voted to declare May 20 World Bee Day. Why should we celebrate bees? Why not? The purpose of World Bee Day is to recognize more than just the most well-known of the bees - the European honey bee.  Many people don't know that the honey bee isn't native to North America.  It colonized the western hemisphere with the European settlers.  When the settlers arrived, though, this country already had plenty of bees of its own, some 4,000 different species actually, ranging in size from the world's smallest bee, the [...]

Celebrate the Bees – World Bee Day2021-05-29T08:08:07-06:00

Designing the Perfect Paper Airplane

2021-06-01T08:11:55-06:00

One of my most popular programs is also the least expensive and easiest to set up.  All I need are a pile of regular copier paper, a pile of copier paper cut into squares, 2 - 4 large pieces of bulletin board paper with giant targets drawn/painted on them, and the books we'll be using on display in the "engineering and design area," ready to be thumbed through, studied, and used.  A roll of masking tape comes in really handy, too.  Having a paper recycling receptacle for the fallen, crashed, and stepped upon makes clean up go a lot faster.  Just [...]

Designing the Perfect Paper Airplane2021-06-01T08:11:55-06:00

Storytelling With a National Geographic Explorer

2021-05-29T07:59:39-06:00

Have you ever looked through a National Geographic magazine and wondered what it would be like to be a National Geographic explorer?  Well now you can have a chance to find out!  The National Geographic Society has added 3 new courses to its offerings. The introduction to the series is here. These are the courses: 'Storytelling for Impact: Photography' 'Storytelling for Impact: Audio' 'Storytelling for Impact: Video' These courses are different from all the ones already available in a number of ways. - First of all, they are offered as a series collected under the title 'Storytelling for Impact.'  Other National [...]

Storytelling With a National Geographic Explorer2021-05-29T07:59:39-06:00

All the Many Observatories in Space! Build Your Own Space Fleet

2021-05-28T21:43:22-06:00

Today is the first Friday in May.  That means it is National Space Day! What better way to celebrate the day is there than by building your own fleet of model space observatories? On the NASA website there are printable models of a number of spacecraft.  Links to all of the models can be found on the Universe Spacecraft Paper Models page.  There you can download and print: The Great Observatories: Hubble Space Telescope (First of the Great Observatories) Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (Second of the Great Observatories) Chandra X-Ray Telescope (Third of the Great Telescopes) Fermi Gravity Probe B James [...]

All the Many Observatories in Space! Build Your Own Space Fleet2021-05-28T21:43:22-06:00

Everyone Knows What Engineering is! – Right?

2021-05-28T21:40:37-06:00

We all know the word.  We hear it just about every day.  We see it all the time. Engineer The E in STEM, STEAM, and STREAM stands for engineering. But do we know what the word actually means?  What is engineering?  What do engineers do? Of all the letters in STREAM, I think the E has changed more than all the others, growing, evolving, expanding, adding dimensions and details.  I decided to spend some time exploring the meaning of the word engineering, the history of engineering, and just how much the work of engineers influences our day to day lives. Let’s [...]

Everyone Knows What Engineering is! – Right?2021-05-28T21:40:37-06:00

STEAM Engines from home: the busiest physicists

2021-02-10T15:42:30-07:00

Towards the end of summer, I fell victim to one of those AMAZING PAINTING YOU WILL BE MESMERIZED type videos floating around on social media. I admit that, like a cartoon squirrel presented with a decoy nut, I am easily captivated. I am handily distracted by cookie decorating videos. TRANSFORM THIS OLD WHATCHAMACALLIT INTO SOMETHING (objectively useless but still) COOL videos regularly siphon valuable minutes off my life. But readers, there was something to this AMAZING PAINTING video. It was an art form called pendulum painting, in which an artist sets a hanging paint container with a hole in the bottom [...]

STEAM Engines from home: the busiest physicists2021-02-10T15:42:30-07:00
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