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Colorful Milk Science

Our Backyard Book Club pick this month was Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, so naturally, we needed to do a milk science activity. This is a classic, colorful, and very cool “trick” that appeals to lots of ages. But of course, it’s even cooler if you know the science behind it. Materials: milk, dish soap, cotton […]

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James and the Giant Peach Book Cover

Backyard Book Club: James and the Giant Peach Overview

The Backyard Book Club is back in action! For this month’s meeting, the kids read James and the Giant Peach, thanks to a request by one of our members. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas.) We started with a quick talk about what the kids loved best in the book, then went straight […]

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Girl looking at bugs

Bug Hunt!

This month’s book, James and the Giant Peach, was filled with fun bug characters. But were they all insects? Nope. Insects are a type of arthropod, and all of the bugs in the book were arthropods. So what’s the difference? Arthropods have segmented bodies, jointed apendages (legs), and exoskeletons (a hard shell). And so do insects, […]

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Ivy and Bean book cover

Backyard Book Club: Ivy + Bean Overview

For this month’s meeting, the kids read Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas.) After weeks of waiting, it was time to meet in person! We did our fossil-making activity first so the plaster could dry before the kids had to go home.  Then it was time for the Excavation […]

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Excavation Supplies

Backyard Book Club: Excavation Trivia Challenge

When the Backyard Book Club read Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record, we decided to follow in Ivy and Bean’s footsteps and do a little digging of our own. Before the rest of the kids arrived, our trusty assistants buried these items in the sandbox (some of them protectively sealed in plastic bags): Ivy Beans […]

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Completed Fossils

Backyard Book Club: Making Fossils

Our Backyard Book Club read Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record by Annie Barrows. So what could we do but make fossils at our meeting? The kids loved this activity and were so excited to take their fossils home. To make fossils of your own, you’ll need these materials: aluminum foil modeling clay Plaster of Paris […]

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THe Ellie Mcdoodle Diaries Book Cover

Backyard Book Club: Ellie McDoodle Overview

For this month’s meeting, the kids read The Ellie McDoodle Diaries: Have Pen, Will Travel. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas.) We started with a double art activity, learning to draw Ellie (the kids were really good at this!) and learning to keep a sketch journal.  Then it was time for a science activity. We […]

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Kids outside

Backyard Book Club: Leaf Hunt

One of the thing I loved most about Ellie McDoodle from this month’s book is that she’s an artist, but she’s a scientist too. She’s always observing, recording, trying new things, and using all this info to really figure out the world around her. One of the things Ellie pays attention to is the plant life around […]

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Liquid Chromatography: Separating Plant Pigments

n this week’s book, Gianna had to identify lots of leaves for a school project. We’re going to learn about leaves too with this awesome chromatography experiment by ecologist Heather Hawke. Take it away, Heather! Have you ever wondered why leaves turn color in the fall? They don’t really switch colors – some of those yellows and […]

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Supplies for experiment

The World-Famous Mentos Geyser

In this week’s book, Alvin Ho isn’t afraid of explosions and loves things that go up in the air. So I thought we’d do a classic science trick that Alvin would probably love–The World-Famous Mentos Geyser! Okay, it’s not technically an explosion (or a geyser), but it’s the closest thing I can safely encourage kids to try. […]

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