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THe Ellie Mcdoodle Diaries Book Cover

The Ellie McDoodle Diaries: Have Pen, Will Travel

About the Book: One girl. One sketchbook. One week with the world’s most annoying relatives. When Ellie McDougal’s parents go out of town, she’s forced to go on a camping trip with her aunt, uncle, cousins, and baby brother, Ben-Ben. Ellie can handle mosquitos and poison ivy, but sharing a cabin with her crazy relatives? No […]

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Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans book cover

Backyard Book Club: Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms Overview

For this month’s meeting, the kids read Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms. It was a little longer than our previous picks, so we made sure everybody knew they could still come even if they hadn’t finished. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas.) Our book trivia challenge took the form of Beech Road Bingo (click for printable) where […]

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Kids learning Magic

Backyard Book Club: Magic Show

The most popular activity at Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms Backyard Book Club meeting was definitely the magic show and lesson. The kids were impressed with my meager magic skills and loved learning all the tricks themselves!  There are tons of great resources for learning magic tricks online, but we started with the very basics. We learned classic tricks like The Jumping Rubber […]

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Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans book cover

Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms

About the Book: As if being small for his age and also having “S. Horten” as his name isn’t bad enough, now 10-year-old Stuart is forced to move far away from all his friends. But on his very first day in his new home, Stuart’s swept up in an extraordinary adventure: the quest to find his great-uncle […]

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Diagram

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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Book Cover

The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.

About the Book: Gianna Z has less than one week to collect, identify, and creatively display 25 leaves for her science project—or else she won’t be able to compete in the upcoming cross-country race. As the deadline for her leaf project draws near, life keeps getting in the way. Some things are within Gee’s control, like […]

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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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Alvin Ho book cover

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

About the Book: ALVIN HO is an Asian American second grader who is afraid of everything—elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’s there, he never, ever, says a word. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a […]

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Apple Experiment

Apple Science

In this week’s book, Sierra got in big trouble when she brought her mom’s lunch bag by mistake because there was a knife in it. The knife was probably there so Sierra’s mom could cut her apple right before she ate it so it wouldn’t go brown. Do you agree? Let’s see if we can come […]

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Zero Tolerance book cover

Zero Tolerance

About the Book: Seventh-grader Sierra Shepard has always been the perfect student, so when she sees that she accidentally brought her mother’s lunch bag to school, including a paring knife, she immediately turns in the knife at the school office. Much to her surprise, her beloved principal places her in in-school suspension and sets a hearing for her expulsion, citing the […]

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