Science Lab: Gravity & the 5 Senses

Science Lab: Gravity & the 5 Senses

Science Lab is a program I introduced last summer as part of Fizz Boom Read and decided to bring it back this summer because of it’s initial success. As a part of the the 2015 CSLP summer reading program, Every Hero Has A Story, I decided to combine the two: Superheroes and science! Science lab is advertised as an all ages program but we tend to get more school age kids in attendance (K-4th grade).

Our first week we focused on Batman & Wonder Woman and explored Gravity & the 5 senses!  The program is very low key and is more about then discovering and learning rather than me leading them through everything.  I intended for it to be self directed, with the help of parents in attendance when needed.  By the end I think the parents were having just as much fun as the kids!

I started by reading the book Gravity by Jason Chin, which is an incredibly well done and interesting book! The kids loved it.  Especially when I demonstrated gravity by dropping the books from many different levels of the room.

We then worked on gravity painting which turned out great! I set out tables with plastic tablecloths underneath them and then large cardboard pieces on teh tables and clipped on paper!  For painting we used watered down tempra paint and eye droppers.

Gravity Painting 1

Gravity Painting 2

The other part of Science Lab was testing out our senses! Wonder Woman has heightened senses so we were comparing our own senses to that of Wonder Woman!

Wonder Woman Senses

I started out by having three volunteers try the apple, potato, onion trick.  Supposedly, if you hold your nose and don’t breath while eating these they all taste the same.  According to my volunteers, though, you could definitely tell when you had an onion in your mouth.  Regardless, it was a fun activity!

After the activity there were a few different stations- one to test three different senses: touch, hear, and smell.

5 Senses- Touch

At this station I had 6 balloons filled with different substances and the kids had to guess what each one was filled with.  The hardest were corn syrup and petroleum jelly– but we did get some creative responses! The balloon idea came from Momtastic.  Also, I would totally recommend actually using a funnel because I didn’t and it was a messy experience.


You can see in the back of this picture that I had some black bins… These were filled with different things they had to shake to figure out what was inside.  The insides were filled with beads, bells, and rice.

I also had two smaller bins that had cotton balls with extracts on them.  Nobody could figure out the one with vanilla, which I thought was interesting!

All in all, this program went about as smoothly as I could have hoped.  Not only did the kids have a lot of fun and learn some interesting things but parents seemed really into it as well!

Fizz Boom Read: Stealthy Science

Fizz Boom Read: Stealthy Science

The great thing about a science themed summer reading program is how easy it is to include lots of little fun sciencey tidbits in your programs or displays.  In addition to our programs I wanted other opportunities to sneak in some science which I have called stealthy science! All of these things are on going and are meant to spark a conversation between parent and child and are relatively easy and quick to do!



Magnet bottle

Magnetic Bottle

Prep time: low

Materials: empty and clean plastic bottle

Pipe cleaners

Magnetic wands

Basically just cut up pipe cleaners and stick them in a bottle! Make sure your bottle is completely dry.
I also made a little label for the bottle that says “Fizz Boom Read: why do you think the pipe cleaners are attracted to the magnetic wand?”

I actually had one of the 6th graders who was hanging out at the library one night help me with this one and it was great because he then went and got a few of his friends because he was so excited to show them what he helped to make and then they all had fun playing around with the magnets!

This has been out for about three weeks and it has been a great hit!  I have it near the front desk and I love seeing kids come up to play with it and then watching the parents start a discussion about wht exactly is happening

Water fountain

H2O Water Fountain

Prep time: medium

Materials: paper and a drinking fountain (or bubbler for you wisconsin folk)

Super simple: facts about water taped up at the drinking fountain!  All I did was search some kid friendly websites for information about H2O. I wanted to make sure it was all kid accessible language. I also included a picture of the atom and the element.

Fizz Boom Read Scavenger Hunt

Fizz Boom Scavenger Hunt

Prep time: medium
Materials: Paper and a lot of it! We also have stickers and temporary tattoos as prizes.
AND I have already done half the work for you: Here is a PDF of everything you should need to set up your own scavenger hunt SCIENCE SCAVENGER HUNT

We always have a similar scavenger hunt set up so it was just natural for me to use the CSLP clip art to make it fizz boom read themed this summer! This is a great passive program that once it is set up can be enjoyed all summer without any more prep work.  I make the sheets the kids carry around and then hide the images all around the children’s area.  A good tip if you are going to do this is to have a cheat sheet at the front desk so staff knows where they are when kids ask.


Famous scientists

Famous Scientists

Prep time: low

A display highlighting biographies of scientists. This display was really great for me to learn where we had holes and I learned that we definitely need more female scientist biographies, the only one we could find was Marie Curie and it wasn’t even a very appealing biography.

Chalkboard trivia

Chalkboard Facts Chalkboard Facts

Prep time: low

My office door is directly behind the children’s circulation desk and we recently painted my doors with chalkboard paint. If this something you could do I highly recommend it! It has been a great discussion point that nearly everyone in the children’s section will notice.

During other times of the year I can use the door to highlight events coming up or cool programs we are running.  For now, though I am using it for science facts! We have had three different facts and pictures so far. One of our childrens department staff, Laura, who is  in the process of receiving her MLS, did the periodic table fact.
**Literally as I am typing this a parent goes to her daughter: Did you know a lightning bolt travels at 14,000 MPH? YOU DO NOW!**

Periodic table display

Prep time: high

Materials: paper!!

This is an awesome display I first found on pinterest.

We did ours a little differently than the original one and used the actual periodic table elements and numbers.  Laura and I then went through and found book titles that started with those first letters.  When possible we used non fiction or science related books. We got lucky and actually had a book titled Nitrogen for N.  My favorite was the superman book for Krypton, K.

Luckily for me, Laura is extremely organized and had a very good system for assigning books and making sure each color and element was in the right place.

If I were to do this again I would want to include the element names on each sheet.

Dig Into Reading: Garden Science Corner

Dig Into Reading: Garden Science Corner

At the Verona Public Library, where I am working LTE for the summer, they have a science corner in the children’s section.  This area revolves around a theme and then incorporates books, interactive activities, posters, and iPad apps about that theme.  The theme this summer is Gardening and it has been my little baby for the past couple of weeks.  Here is a picture of the corner:

Science Corner
It’s not huge but it has a lot of fun stuff and is constantly busy!

Alright let’s get into the nitty gritty of the science corner!  One area has the light table with laminates of butterflies and little clovers and a poster behind that of insects (because insects and butterflies are in gardens!).  The laminates and light table were from a previous science corner theme, which was of course butterflies.  The poster is from DK Eyewitness (I can’t find it on their website!) and the library already had that as well.

Between the light table and the bookcase is a BIG poster of a plant and it’s roots.  One of the other librarians actually found this as they were cleaning out the storytime closet.  It is AWESOME and is a great addition to the science corner.  I may have done a little jig when they found it.


Next to that is the bookcase.  Quite simply, this one is stocked with a bunch of books about gardening and gardens– of all different kinds!  There are even some there about how to start your own garden and food that you can eat out of your garden.  I just basically went to the 635 area of our nonfiction (dewey) and picked out a bunch of books from the juvenile and picture book nonfiction sections.  I have also been keeping an eye on it to keep it stocked as kids check books out.


The next section is the kids favorite area- the iPad!  I found a few different garden apps that also had a bit of science in them and added them to the iPad.  A few that I found are in my SRP 13 pinterest board.  I also printed off a few different coloring sheets about plants and gardens and set them out with some of the “crappy” crayons that we don’t use as much in storytime anymore (they crayons really are fine though!)


The poster in the background is also in my SRP 13 board.  As kids colored their pictures I had a note hung up inviting them to write their names and hand it to a librarian to hang it up.

And now for my favorite part about the science corner: MY SEEDS!


I got Lima Bean, Pea, and Squash seeds and planted them in ziploc baggies!  This was super simple and is turning out way better than I expected.  All you need to do is wet a paper towel, stick it in the baggie, and add a couple seeds!  I also labeled the bags with the dates they were “planted” and what type of seed it is and taped it to the window.  I have been planting them each Wednesday for the past three Wednesday’s so the kids can compare the roots and seeds as they grow!  Here are some up close pictures:

science corner2 science corner1
science corner

I love how each plant has it’s own distinctive way of budding, sprouting, and different looking leaves!


Now, I cannot talk about the fabulous Science Corner without talking about why it is possible!
The Verona Public Library, and the community in general, has an awesome relationship with a local business- Epic Systems.  Epic is AMAZING in giving to the library.  The Science Corner is fully funded by Epic through a grant to encourage science.  They also recently gave a grant to promote healthy eating and lifestyle programming for the library!  Here are articles about how awesome Epic is:

Epic Delivers More 100k Community Grants

Epic Delivers Another Round of Grants