Science Club Jr: Structures

I followed he plans for this ones almost exactly like the original. I talked to the children about the Three Little Pigs and the three structures they built. I had the following items for them to create structures with: toothpicks and spice drops, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, and glue. The children could build a structure using either the toothpicks and spice drops or the craft sticks. I told them they could make both, but most chose one or the other. Here are some pictures of some structures:

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Once the structures were complete, it was time to put them all to the test. I brought my hair dryer from home and used both the low and high settings. The structures with glue didn’t budge, but even the toothpick and spice drop ones survived! The kids all loved seeing their structures be able to handle the “huffing and puffing” of the hair dryer.

After, I brought out our cardboard blocks that look like bricks. The children worked together and individually to create different structures and we tested them with our own breath. It was fun to see some of them get knocked down.


#LISMentalHealth – My Story

I don’t remember being a particularly fearful child. I did have anxieties over a few things: thunderstorms, car tunnels, ferris wheels, and my oddest, stairs without risers. As I got older, my anxieties grew. I don’t mind heights, but if I can see how high I am going, I can’t do it. This means no glass elevators, escalators without walls, stairs in the middle of the mall, and roller coasters. I’ve had to go on a few and it’s usually done by either running up them, looking down, or closing my eyes on a glass elevator.

High school was a nightmare for me; at least 9th grade was. I came from a very sheltered K-8 school and definitely lacked serious social skills. This lead to some serious bullying on the bus. At points, my Mom would simply drive me to school because I would not go otherwise. Around 11th grade, I started getting sleep issues. I was already prone to screaming down the hall nightmares, but now I was getting insomnia, night terrors, or a gut wrenching fear that if I slept, I would not wake up whole. When I would try to casually mention it, no one seemed to know what I was talking about. I came to the conclusion that I was somehow broken; that I was not right.

When I got engaged, I had troubles dealing with the fact that my Dad wouldn’t be at my wedding, so I found a CSW who did grief therapy. At one point during her sessions, I asked her about medications to help me sleep. She could not prescribe them, so sent me to a psychiatrist for an evaluation. I spent an hour and a half with the psychiatrist answering a whole array of questions. Once we were done, she wrote not one, but three prescriptions and then dropped the bomb on my world: I had chronic depression and anxiety disorder. My mind went into a tailspin. It was such a shock. Librarian that I am, I researched both and I was a textbook case of symptoms. I can remember the day when my medication kicked in. I was in the office at work and looking at a wall before I realized my brain wasn’t going a hundred miles an hour. It was the most amazing feeling in the world.

I didn’t last on that particular medication and it took a few years before I found ones that worked. I had and have bout of depressive episodes that can last from a few days to a few months. I know the signs by now: insomnia, lack of desire to eat, lack of desire to do much, only wanting to stay home. My anxiety is usually only triggered by my usual fears and my one big one (which I am sure if a lot of people’s: death). If my stomach is off, I am prone to feeling more anxious. A bad bout of a stomach bug and severe dehydration led me to the worst attack I’ve ever had in my life. It began with a general sense of doom and ended with me curled in the fetal position in my bathroom unable to move. The next day, I went to the local mental hospital and spent the next five days as an outpatient there. Since then, we added another medication to my list. I have good moments and bad. Sometimes I feel lost and alone. Other times I don’t. I am blessed that I have found people who also suffer with this and help me get through the really bad times. I found a great tribe of people (not surprisingly, many of them librarians) that I talk to when needed. I have a spouse and family that support me.

My illness has taken things from me; I don’t have children because I was unable to be un-medicated long enough to have one. I never know how each day is going to go with my brain. I live and cope with it like everyone else with mental health issues. I share my story to educate people that people can have mental illness and have a job, a house, a spouse, etc. If you feel you need help, go seek it. Care for yourself enough to get it. It made a world of difference for me.

Science Club Jr.: Magnets

I had two stations set up for this:

I filled two aluminum trays of various items, both magnetic and non-magnetic. We have these great magnet wands from Learning Resources that we used for this.

Half the children used the wands to determine what objects were magnetic and what weren’t. On the other side, I had a small blackboard, magnetic letters and magnetic gears that we got from Lakeshore Learning.


We also own a set that has shapes that come with two metal trays for the children to play on. After a set number of time, the children switched places and played on the other station.

Afterwards, we have a set of round magnets. Each child got a magnet wand went around the room experimenting to see what in the room was magnetic and what wasn’t.

Lastly, we attempted an activity I found on National Geographic Kids called Magnetic Pick Up. Here are the materials and instructions:


  • A piece of paper
  • A paper clip
  • Thread
  • Clear tape
  • Scissors
  • A strong magnet


Cut a paper kite shape about three inches long and attach a paper clip to one corner. To the opposite corner, tape a piece of thread about eight inches long. Tape the other end of the thread to a flat surface. Use a strong magnet to pick up the paper clip and extend the string to full length. Hold the kite between your fingers and slowly move the magnet away from the paper clip. When you release the kite, it “flies,” unattached to the magnet.

I made the kites a bit too big and we didn’t have a magnet strong enough to get the kite to fly, but we had fun trying with the number of paper clips, using the round magnets we had, and the wands.


Science Club Jr.: Shadows

I stumbled upon this amazing post by Amy Koester (aka The Show Me Librarian) about her Science Club Jr. program and knew I had to run one of my own. I ran mine for children K-2 and as a four week program.

For the first week, we learned about shadows. I started by talking to children about shadows and why we see them. I also read a simple book about shadows:


I had cut out duck shapes onto construction paper and taped them onto craft sticks to re-enact the Five Little Ducks song with our projector light. It didn’t work quite as I planned, the children didn’t move their ducks, but they still had a really fun time. I also cut out circles, triangles, shapes, and rectangles. We experimented moving the shapes close to the wall and far away to see how the shadows changed. Of course, there were a few who like putting their shape right in front of the projector light to block it out. We also made shadow shapes with our hands and our bodies.

Lastly, we played two shadow matching games. I found the first one on the All Kids Network website and the second one I can’t find right now, but it was small animals and their shadows.



Stuffed Animal Pet Show

I found this great post on the Literary Commentary site and knew immediately I had to do this program. I kept the same concept, but removed the stations aspect. Each child brought their favorite stuffed animal. At the tables, I place cut out foam strips and the following items for decorations: foam shapes, gems, beads, and pom poms. I also cut out yellow foam circles and squares if they wanted to give their stuffed friend a collar tag. The children created the collar for their animals and I also put out fabric if they wanted to add any extra embellishments.  I bought combs at the dollar store so they could make sure their friend was ready to be shown off. After the collars were decorated, the children wrote their friends name and something special about  them on an index card. After that, it was show time. Each child walked across the room with their animal as I read what was written on the card. The children all loved showing off their friends and getting special attention for them both. Here are pictures of some of the dressed up animals:


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Here are the added photos:

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