Wednesday, March 17, 2010

April Dates

April 7 - Simple Machines

April 27 - Frogs (moved from the third Tuesday because of school vacation)

This program is offered at the Millbury Public Library starting at 10:30am and is for preschoolers 3 and up.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dinos in the library

I had a great time today learning about dinosaurs. While I am not sure everyone had fun the whole time, I am sure everyone had some fun. Must have been the wrong phase of the moon, but we had a lot of unhappiness among the participants today.

We learned that dinosaurs are studied by scientists called paleontologists. Some dinosaurs walked on all four feet and the were plant eaters or herbivores. Some dinosaurs walked on two feet and they could have been herbivores or carnivores - meat eaters.

Dinosaurs weren't as big as we thought. Some dinosaurs were smaller than people. We measured out a string to be as a long as an apatasaurus or 80 feet long. T. Rex was smaller! T. Rex was only about 40 feet long.
Paleontologists use fossils to learn about dinosaurs. We pretended to be paleontologist by excavating fossils from sand.

We made a graph of our favorite dinosaur and T. Rex had the most votes.

Mrs. V, the Library Director is going to leave our string up for tonight's Library Trustee meeting.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I had a great time at the Massachusetts Environmental Educators Conference. I presented a hands on workshop: the Dirt Lab. I did this with kids last year and we had a great time. With the theme of Bringing Environmental Education Home - I figured a nice muddy hands-on, active workshop would be fun. Thankfully I was not alone! The conference organizers agreed and I had 15 new buddies to play in the dirt with.
The conference was a Holy Cross in Worcester. They have a lovely conference center. Needless to say I was a bit agog when I walked in to the room I was presenting in and found WHITE table clothes. Yep, WHITE. Clearly these people didn't read the sign on the door: DIRT LAB.

Almost all the participants brought dirt from home and not surprising we observed that most samples were muddy. Two were dug from indoor locations so they were much drier. Three had critters: spiders, a worm, and one sow bug.
We made a dirt soup: Everyone put a bit of their dirt in to a jar with water. We shook it up and then let it settle. At the end of the workshop, we took a core sample of the dirt soup and found many layers to the sample.

We stretched our comparing and contrasting muscles while we examined two special kinds of dirt: sand and clay. Finally came the fun: Which dirt would make the best mud! We measured the amount of water two samples would accept before puddling.
The discussion among the participants was rich and filled with laughter. We talked about why teaching science to preschoolers is so vital. Many of the participants provide direct services to preschoolers or plan too in the near future. I was heartening to hear so many people who believe as I do that preschoolers are capable of doing science in an authentic manner.
I am so glad I was able to participate. I'll tell you more about the workshops I attended tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Playing with new friends

I am heading the Massachusetts Environmental Educator's Society Annual Conference tomorrow to present the Dirt Lab. I am really excited to be teaching about science to other educators and having the chance to learn new things too. (Yes, I loved school as a kid!)

The theme this is is about bringing Environmental Education home. I cannot emphasis enough just how important it is for kids to have an interested adult in their lives with whom they can share discoveries and explore. Enjoying science and asking questions are so important to inspire kids - as we all know - they learn what they see.

All of the participants have been asked to collect a dirt sample from their home and we are going to compare and contrast the samples. Then, just to mix it up a bit, we are going to see if different kinds of dirt, including some special dirt I am bringing, absorbs water different.y - or in Messy Finger's language - which dirt will make the best mud!

Check out the conference here.

I am off to collect some dirt - think of me tomorrow and wish me luck!!