Ben Brilliant: Science Experiments for Kids!

Ben Franklin was a legendary inventor whose imagination and hard work led him to conduct famous scientific experiments and invent many new devices.

Inspire the young scientist in your family with stories of Franklin's experiments and inventions with Gene Barretta's Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions Of Benjamin Franklin, Rosalyn Schanzer's How Ben Franklin Stole The Lightning, and Pamela Nettleton's Benjamin Franklin: Writer, Inventor, Statesman.

Then dig into some experimenting yourself! This website from the Franklin Institute has instructions for experiments with electricity, air, heat, and the glass armonica. If electricity sparks your imagination, there are plenty more experiments on this topic, including how to build your own Leyden jar!

Did you know that Ben Franklin was the first scientist to study the Gulf Stream, a powerful, warm current in the Atlantic Ocean. Take your own voyage on the Gulf Stream with these science and math activities!

If you're a teacher or parent seeking to incorporate educational lessons and experiments inspired by Ben Franklin's life, refer to the PBS Benjamin Franklin Teacher's Guide, a series of eight lesson plans aligned to National Standards.

BenFranklinScienceBenFranklinScience

Author Birthdays: Chesterton, White, Ehrlich

May 29th marks the birthday of authors G. K. Chesterton, T. H. White, and Paul R. Ehrlich.

G. K. Chesterton was an English author. He wrote mysteries, essays, biographies, and general fiction. His works on Father Brown, a Catholic priest and detective, were even adapted for television in the 70s.

Chesterton also wrote a biography of his friend and "rival" George Bernard Shaw, and the novel The Man Who Was Thursday, which involves seven anarchists in London who give themselves the names of the days of the week.

T. H. White was an English author best known for his Arthurian works The Once and Future King and The Sword in the Stone. The musical Camelot and the Disney film The Sword in the Stone were based on his works.

White also wrote the children's story Mistress Masham's Repose, about an English orphan and her interactions with Lilliputians, a race of people described by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels.

Paul R. Ehrlich is an American writer and biologist, as well as a professor at Stanford University. His works focus on the environment and population growth. His latest book, The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution And The Environment, published in 2008, examines the relationship between the two.

Ehrlich's first big work was The Population Bomb, which discussed overpopulation and its effects on society. His later book, The Population Explosion, considers the topic further, more than 20 years afterward.

Benjamin Franklin, word inventor

Ben Franklin no. 1Ben Franklin no. 1

Until the middle of the 18th century electricity was little more than a parlor trick used to amuse the masses. One such performer peaked Ben Franklin’s curiosity and set him on a course of experimentation that would open up the new field of electrical science and ultimately pave the way to create the electrical conveniences on which we depend today.

Franklin’s “Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia” published in 1751 was one of the earliest works on electricity. It was created from a series of letters Franklin sent to Peter Collinson between 1747 and 1751. Included in the book are accounts of the famous kite and key experiment, his work with Leyden jars, lightning rods and charged clouds. In describing these various experiments Franklin would coin a number of scientific terms like battery, conductor, charge, discharge, negative, minus, plus, electric shock, and electrician.

This book would bring Ben Franklin considerable international recognition and make him known for many words still used in modern scientific lexicon.

Take a Hike @ Mary Beth Doyle Nature Area

Mary Beth Doyle dedicationMary Beth Doyle dedication

Thursday, April 21 | 7:00-8:30 PM | Mary Beth Doyle Park | All Ages

Join us on a walk on the unpaved trail that meanders along Malletts Creek and through woods and wetlands of this 81.4-acre park. William Kirst, a naturalist from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) will discuss native plants and trees, invasive plants, ecological restoration, volunteer activities in Ann Arbor Parks, and much more.

The walk will start at the park entrance at Packard Rd. (just east of Cobblestone Farm on the south side of the road). Parking at the entrance is limited; additional parking is available at the Malletts Creek Branch (3090 E. Eisenhower) with a half-mile walk east along Eisenhower and Packard to the park entrance.

AADL Productions Podcast: Brian Wecht of The Story Collider

The Story ColliderThe Story Collider

Brian Wecht is a postdoctoral researcher in theoretical particle physics as the University of Michigan. He is also, along with particle physicist-turned-storyteller Ben Lillie, the creator of The Story Collider, a project that aims to get people telling stories about science in their everyday lives. These stories--sometimes funny, sometimes serious--are presented live at storytelling events, through the Story Collider podcast, and on video at the Story Collider Vimeo channel. Brian shares with us where the idea for this project first came from and the plans as the Story Collider becomes larger and continues to draw people from all walks of life to share and listen.

If you like the sound of Story Collider and want to hear some stories of science told live, join us in the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room on March 11 at 7pm for the first Story Collider event to happen outside New York City.

Attachment Size
AADL_Productions_Podcast-Brian_Wecht.mp3 25 MB

Darwin: Rewriting the Book of Nature is on display at the Taubman Health Sciences Library

Darwin ExhibitDarwin Exhibit

February 14 - March 26, 2011. "Rewriting the Book of Nature: Charles Darwin and the Rise of Evolutionary Theory explores Charles Darwin’s vision—'from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved'—a vision that now forms the foundation of the biological sciences. Radical in sweep, Darwin’s idea of naturally innovating and endlessly changing webs of life undercut all previous sciences." For more information about this exhibit visit the National Library of Medicine page.

Fun With Bugs!

During these cold winter months, that young insect enthusiast in your family may be craving the sight of those creepy, crawly bugs. Never fear! The library has many great ideas to keep that curiosity alive and, well, buzzing!

Lakeshore Learning Material's Giant Bug Collection is a new addition to our line-up of fun and educational toys for children's use during their visit to the Ann Arbor District Library. Enjoy some hands-on fun with these over-sized beetles, grasshoppers, ants, scorpion, and tarantula!

There are many ways to explore the insect world at home with books, movies, music, and websites:

Science Fair Projects

Science FairScience Fair

Yes, it is that time of year again for students to start researching information on Science Fair Projects! The library is here to help students take advantage of the abundant resources that are available in helping create amazing Science Fair Projects!

Students can begin their data collecting by browsing the catalog to locate Science Fair books. This is a good starting point which allows participants to view the collection of books the library currently holds on the subject of Science Fair Projects.

There are also many web resources that will prove beneficial in helping students navigate their way through their Science Fair Project assignments. Here is a list of some of the best Science Fair Project web resources around:

Science Fair Central http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircentral/

Science Fair Handbook http://eduplace.com/science/profdev/science_fair/

Science Fair Project Resource Guide http://www.ipl.org/div/projectguide/

The WWW Virtual Library Science Fairs http://physics.usc.edu/ScienceFairs/

Science Made Simple http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/projects.html

Young Scientist Challenge http://www.youngscientistchallenge.com/

Science Fair Projects http://www.umdnj.edu/camlbweb/scifair.html

Have fun making this years' Science Fair Project the best ever, and be sure to utilize the resources available at your fingertips!

Youth and Teen Magazine Update -- Mars, Manga and the World's Greatest Drummers

by Nadya Pekk, Flickr.comby Nadya Pekk, Flickr.com
Want to jump into January 2011? Try these magazines -- with awesome new issues for the New Year!

For kids:
Ask Magazine: Giant dinosaurs, an island of tiny humans, and the reason giants don't exist.
Muse Magazine: Women Astronauts, Space-Sickness and Martians, oh my!

For teens:
Drum! Magazine: The Ultimate Readers' Choice Awards -- The World's Greatest Drummers!
Otaku USA Magazine: News, reviews and, of course manga! This month Otaku USA features sneak peeks at Lychee Light Club and Street Fighter Gaiden, with reviews of FLCL, Gravitation, Xam'd: Lost Memories.

Read 'em while they're new, people!

Young Naturalist Awards

Calling all Young Scientists!

Are you curious about nature and life science? Have you ever wanted to conduct experiments and research, just like the grown-up scientists?? Well then the Young Naturalist Awards might be right up your alley!

The Young Naturalist Awards is an annual contest put on by the American Museum of Natural History that encourages young scientists ages 7 to 12 to explore a question they have about natural science, make observations and report their findings on what they discovered. It is an essay contest that is designed like a real scientific study, focusing on the fields of Biology, Ecology, Earth Science and/ or Astronomy.

The deadline for the contest is March 1, 2011. There will be twelve winners selected for the contest, two from each grade. The winners are awarded cash prizes and an expense paid trip to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the same museum featured in the movie Night at the Museum! They will meet with Museum scientists, take behind-the-scenes tours, and will be honored at an awards ceremony. Their essays will be published on the Museum’s Web site and excerpted in Natural History magazine.

The Ann Arbor District Library has many resources for any Young Scientists looking to enter the contest, including books on studying nature and exploring space and astronomy. We also have the Access Science database available to library patrons, which includes articles, biographies, definitions, images, and more from the online version of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. The Stapp Nature Area is a great place to observe nature and it is adjacent to our Traverwood Branch.

For more information about the Young Naturalist Awards, including Rules & Regulations, How to Get Started and much more, please visit their Website.

Syndicate content