By Awnali Mills
It was time for Science and Stories again at the library. I opened with a storytime about boxes. Who knew there were so many good books about boxes???
I used The Nowhere Box by Sam Zuppardi, Sitting in My Box by Dee Lilligard, and Not a Box by Antoinette Portis.
The Nowhere Box was my opener, and went over well. Then, we talked about the different things we could build with boxes as I handed out small stacks of flannel shapes. Then I called out colors and the kids who had those colors brought their shapes to the board and we all built something together. What did we build? ….Uh, well, one little girl informed me that it was a castle, so we’ll go with that, shall we? Suffice it to say that this princess won’t be living there any time soon.
Then, we rolled the song cube (Yes! A box!) and sang. Next, we read Sitting in My Box. This is a fun little book, and the kids enjoyed speculating about what was going to happen as all the jungle animals tried to squeeze their way into the box. There were some dire predictions, let me tell you!
Another roll of the song cube and some lusty singing was followed by a fun app called “What’s in the Box?” You vigorously shake the box (iPad) and it makes a sound. Then, you’re given three pictures and have to choose which of the three made the sound. The app either congratulates you with a cheer and applause for a correct choice or makes sad little whop whop noises if you get it wrong. The kids were utterly fascinated with this and could have gone on quite a while longer, but we only played about 5 rounds before moving on to the final book.
Not a Box is a wonderful little story with plenty of opportunity for dialogic reading. Rabbit is questioned every other page about what he’s doing with the box. He replies that it is NOT a box, and the drawing shows what it actually is (robot, building on fire, etc). This had the kids completely engaged, and shouting out the answers to what the box was before I could even ask.
I wrapped up the storytime portion with a demonstration of what a bridge was and what it’s supposed to do with the app BridgeBasher. While the kids watched, I constructed a very simple bridge on the app and then applied weights to it until it crashed. They LOVED this! Then, I took them over to the tables where I had supplied construction paper, cardboard tubes, tape, scissors, and toy cars for testing the strength of their bridges. With instructions to caregivers not to build the bridges for the children, but to let them explore for themselves, they were off. There was lots of building, lots of testing, lots of modifications, and lots of proud children carrying their creations home.