February’s STEAM at Home program featured Awesome Architecture and fun building activities. We learned that x-bracing (seen here on the John Hancock Center in Chicago) is one way that helps keep buildings straight and tall when wind blows on them. X-braces and shear walls collect wind forces and carry them to the foundation. Build your own braced tower at home with a few simple materials! Idea and images from Building Structures and Towers by Tammy Enz.
mini marshmallows (the book shows gumdrops, but we used marshmallows)
Break 4 noodles in half and make sure they are roughly the same length. Put marshmallows in the corners to connect them into 2 squares.
Break off about 1 inch from 4 more noodles and use these to connect your 2 squares. What happens when you push on the tower?
Add 2 noodles to one side make an X. Repeat on all 4 sides of your tower. Try pushing again. Now what happens?
As the marshmallows harden, your structure will get even stronger. What other structures can you build?
Beginning in the middle of February and stretching into mid March, the Sugar Maple trees begin to prepare for spring by sending sap up to their branches to fuel the spring growth. This is one of the first signs of spring in the forest and marks maple syrup season. On days where the nights are freezing and the days are in the 40s the sap will flow up the tree. Once it is still above freezing overnight, the sap will turn cloudy and can no longer be used for syrup. At this point the tree will begin spring growth.
Maple syrup is made by collecting the sap from a maple tree, usually a sugar maple, and boiling it to allow the water to evaporate and concentrate the sugar. Once enough water has evaporated, the sap becomes syrup.
Sugar Maple trees are tapped because their sap has the highest concentration of sugar, but even so it takes 40 to 50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. Straight from the tree, the sap looks like water and has a barely noticeable sweet taste.
Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, Seollal, Tết, or the Spring Festival, is a holiday celebrated in many east Asian countries, as well as in the United States. According to the lunar calendar, a year is the amount of time it takes the moon to go around the Earth 12 times. The Lantern Festival is the last day of celebrations.
Lanterns are a way to make wishes for good luck, happiness, and fortune in the coming year. You can also write a riddle on your lantern to see who will guess the right answer.
1 sheet of red paper
1 sheet of yellow paper
1 strip of red paper
Glue, tape, or stapler
Take your red paper and fold it in half along the long side.
Cut from the fold to about one-half inch from the edge of the paper.
Keep cutting along the fold to make strips. Remember to LEAVE ½ INCH AT THE EDGE OF THE PAPER. This way, your paper will still be attached on the top and bottom.
Open up the paper and bring the ends together to make a circle with the top and bottom. The middle will fold out into a lantern shape. You can glue, staple, or tape the edges. Double sided tape is easiest if using tape.
Use the strip of paper to make the handle. Attach the handle with tape, glue, or staples.
If you would like, you can put a liner inside your lantern. Form the yellow paper into a tube, and then tape the red lantern over the top of it. It looks a little like there is a light glowing inside.
Since you want the outside part to bow out a little, you’ll tape the bottom a little higher on the tube. You can cut off the bottom of the tube if you want your lantern to sit on a surface. Or, you can cut it into fringes.
Looking for some new stories to listen to at bedtime? Need some quick entertainment for your child in the car or store?
Look no further than our new service, Dial-a-Story. Just call 847/232-8600. Available 24/7!
Listen to stories, jokes, songs, and more. Some items are read by your librarians, and some by other great narrators, but all have been carefully selected by library staff. Our menu selections vary and change monthly, so visit this Web page for a list of what is playing during a specific month.
This activity is worth 5 POINTS in the Winter Reading challenge, going on through February 28. Register and log your activity on Beanstack for your chance to earn prizes!
Visit our Winter Reading Web page for more information, or go straight to our Beanstack site and get started.