May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Cenus.gov has lots of information about the history of this monthlong celebration: “In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869.
In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a monthlong celebration that is now known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Per a 1997 U.S. Office of Management and Budget directive, the Asian or Pacific Islander racial category was separated into two categories: one being Asian and the other Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Thus, this Facts for Features contains a section for each.”
Arbor Day is on Friday, April 30. It is an annual holiday encouraging people to plant and care for trees. It was initiated by Julius Sterling Morton, President Grover Cleveland’s Secretary of Agriculture in 1872.
For this, you will need a collection of random words, ideally written on little slips of paper. You can put these slips in a bag or mix them up in a pile. Pull words one at a time and write them down in the order that you pull them. You can also use an online word generator such as this one. Keep in mind that you might want to throw in a couple connecting words, like and, with, at, the, and a. You could also take an article from a newspaper and cut up those words to make into a poem. The lines of the poem and the poem itself end whenever you decide. Here is our dada poem:
“Could you grass?”
said light green cat,
Tired and smooth.
“Stop, try candy fluff.”
Write a poem using your five senses.
Take an object and describe how it feels, looks, sounds, smells, and even tastes (as long as it is something that’s okay to taste!).
Paint Sample Poetry
Write a poem on a paint sample slip like you can get from a home improvement store. The poem can be about the main color, or inspired by the names of the colors.
Write a borrowed poem.
Borrowed poetry is created by borrowing lines or phrases from another source, such as an article or another poem.
We learned about this from Kwame Alexander, a poet and educator (on the At Home with Kwame page). He uses the poem, This Is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams, which is basically about asking for forgiveness for something you aren’t really sorry for doing. Once you think of a time like that in your life, you can replace words in the poem to reflect your experience. For example:
This is just to say
I have no
to turn in today.
Which you were
to count towards my grade.
I played outside instead
the sun was warm
and my friends were there.
The library has poetry books for every kind of person. Here are some of our favorites!
Water that you find in nature is not necessarily clean or pure; you would not want to drink pond water, for example. There are ways to clean water, though, and you can try this experiment at home!
First, take a clean jar with a lid and fill it with water from a lake, pond, stream, or any other source of water outside your home. Put the lid on until it is time for the next step. What do you notice about the water?
To clean the water, you will need something called alum. Alum is a hydrated double sulfate of aluminum and potassium, used in dyeing and tanning. If you don’t have this at home, it can be found in the spice aisle in the grocery store.
Put 2 tablespoons of alum in your water, close the lid tightly, and shake it up. Then let the water sit for a few hours.
When you look at your jar again, what do you see?
You may notice that the dirt gets pulled to the bottom. In a real water treatment plant, the added alum forms clumps with the dirt and pulls it down to the bottom of the basin.
To learn more about water and water pollution, check out one of these books.
Eggs are an incredible adaptation that allow birds to stay light and able to fly while their babies are growing. Bird eggs are covered in a shell with lots of tiny holes. These allow air and moisture to pass through. Eggs are also covered in a coating that keeps out bacteria and dust.
Place the egg in your hand (take off any rings first). Squeeze the egg with even pressure. Does it break?
Now (over the sink or outdoors) squeeze the egg with just two fingers. Did it break?
What will happen:
The shape of an egg makes it very strong to even pressure. Even an adult squeezing it can’t break the shell.
When uneven pressure is put on the thin shell, the egg cracks easily.
When a bird sits on an egg to incubate it, the pressure is evenly distributed on the shell and the egg can easily support the bird. When a chick is ready to hatch, it pushes on just a small part of the shell with its egg tooth and the shell will crack to allow the bird to hatch.
A drinking glass
Place the egg in a glass and cover with household vinegar. Wait about 24 hours, pour the vinegar out and replace with fresh vinegar. Wait a full week and then take the egg out.
What will happen:
The shell is made of calcium carbonate, which dissolves in acetic acid. The vinegar will dissolve the shell, leaving the semipermeable membrane intact. The yolk and white will still be contained in the soft membrane, so it will look like an egg, but will be squishy when touched.