Month: August 2020

Kids at Home with MPPL Blog

Maker Monday: Straw Bridges

Try making a bridge from common items and learn about what shapes work best with this project from the Museum of Science + Industry.

Materials

  • 35 non-bendy straws
  • Clear tape
  • Scissors
  • Meter stick or yardstick
  • 200 to 300 pennies
  • Small cup
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Two chairs or tables

Directions

Build your bridge using only straws and clear tape. Before you build, you may want to sketch your design and test out shapes to see which are the strongest. For example, when you tape straw pieces together to make a square, should you leave the center empty, or add more straw supports in the center?

When you are satisfied with your bridge, place it between two tables or chairs that are space at least 9 inches apart. Place the cup in the middle and add a few pennies at a time. Count the pennies and keep adding them until the bridge collapses. How many pennies did it hold? How did the bridge break? Can you change your design to make it stronger?

The Museum of Science + Industry explains what is happening:

Look at a steel or wooden bridge and often you will see triangle shapes making up most of the bridge’s support structure. These are called truss bridges. Triangles are structurally the strongest shape because they allow weight to be evenly spread throughout a structure, allowing it to support heavy loads. Truss patterns are used in other structures as well, such as roofs, radio towers, crane arms, and more.

To learn more about bridges and other exciting engineering, check out these books!

This Bridge will Not be Gray book cover

This Bridge Will Not be Gray by Dave Eggers: Available in print or through our e-library on Overdrive and Hoopla. Also available for MPPL cardholders as a STEAM Kit with Reptangles.

Construct It: Architecture you can Build, Break, and Build Again book cover

Construct It! by Jessie Alkire: Available in print or through our e-library on Hoopla.

Engineering-you-can-eat book cover

Engineering You Can Eat by Megan Borgert-Spaniol: Available in print or through our e-library on Hoopla.

Building-bridges book cover

Building Bridges by Tammy Enz: Available in print or as an audiobook on Hoopla.

Trivia Tuesday: Vegetables

Exercise your brain and maybe learn something new. Go on a knowledge quest and email us your answers for a chance to win a prize. As always with Library trivia, if you don’t know the answer, there are ways to find out! Try using MPPL’s Kids Web Resources, searching online, or calling Youth Services at 847/253-5675 for book suggestions. You may also discover other topics of interest to you with these resources. 

name these vegetables

For the last week of Trivia Tuesday, send your answers to  KidsTrivia@mppl.org  with your name and age by Monday, August 31 for a chance to win a $5 gift card to a local business. Participants with correct answers will be eligible for each weekly drawing. 

Make sure not to miss any of the great things we’re sharing by signing up for our the Library Fun at Home Newsletter!

STEAM Saturday: Virtual Museum Visit

girl with backpack looking at paintings in an art museum

Exploring works of art helps children understand the world around them in many ways. Art gives kids an opportunity to talk about design (colors, shapes, lines) and learn about history and cultures through the art’s subject matter. Art appreciation can help younger kids describe what they see, learning to put their thoughts into words.

The Art Institute of Chicago has a fun way for families to explore works of art virtually with JourneyMaker. Choose from a variety of themes and artworks to build a custom art adventure with your family!

JourneyMaker is a digital tool that allows your family to create your very own tour of the museum. Choose one of eight storylines—like Superheroes, Time Travelers, or Strange and Wild Creatures—and then select works from the museum’s collection within that story. After you’ve made your selections, you can print out your personalized Journey Guide, which includes information, activities, and wayfinding directions. You can use your guide to take an actual tour of the museum (reserve tickets in advance), or just explore the artwork virtually.

artist's palette and paintbrush

Exploring the JourneyMaker website is one of the ways to earn the Art Badge in the Summer Reading Challenge. You have until August 31 to log all of your reading and activities in Beanstack! While you’re there, be sure to enter any tickets you have earned into the Grand Prize drawings of your choice.

Trivia Tuesday: Iceland

Exercise your brain and maybe learn something new. Each Tuesday, we will send you on a knowledge quest and you can email us your answers for a chance to win a prize. As always with Library trivia, the good news is that if you don’t know the answer, there are ways to find out! Try using MPPL’s Kids Web Resources, searching online, or calling Youth Services at 847/253-5675 for book suggestions. You may also discover other topics of interest to you with these resources. 

Use the web resource national geographic kids. Watch the video "The greening of Iceland." Where does most of Iceland's power come from?

Send your answer to  KidsTrivia@mppl.org  with your name and age by Monday, August 24 for a chance to win a $5 gift card to a local business. Participants with correct answers will be eligible for each weekly drawing. 

Visit Activities From Home for more ideas to pass the time.

STEAM Saturday: Ant Experiments

red ants on bark

Try looking for an ant colony on your driveway or sidewalk and setting up an ant experiment. Find different types of food such as crackers, sugar, or fruit. Break the food into small pieces and place it in different places near the ant colony. You can even make a hypothesis about what will happen and even which kind of food will be the ants’ favorite.   
 
As they find the food, ants will let scent trails, called pheromones, down on the ground to guide other ants in the colony to where they can fine food. Once they’ve found the food, try placing an obstacle in their way and see how the ants react. 

For more information about ants, look at this article from Encyclopedia Britannica’s website.

Or check out one of these books!

Ants book cover
Fascinating Insects: Ants book cover
Nature's Superheroes: Super Ants book cover
Two Bad Ants book cover