This October, Central Rappahannock Regional Library will be running a trebuchet contest. A trebuchet is a kind of medieval siege engine. Full-sized ones were used to smash down castle walls. This contest will be a fun, family event, and you can join in by bringing your handcrafted trebuchet and testing it against your competitors!
Many mysteries have been explained through space exploration, but one remains unanswered: Is there anybody else out there? Let the Curiosity rover guide you through the dusty red planet, while she searches for evidence of other life!
CRRL's newest MakerLab opened at Salem Church Branch beginning in April. This STEM exploration space includes hands-on activities and demonstrations for all ages, including a 3D printer, Ozobots, Snap Circuits, robot arms, Legos, and so much more. Regular hours for the Salem Church lab are every Friday, from 3:00-5:00.
Cells make up you, your friend, your hamster, and your mom's broccoli surprise. If it's alive or ever was alive, it is made of cells. Space scientists looking for life on Mars are trying to find microbes made of simple cells—not little green men—and biologists who search for cures to diseases work with cells. Small as they are, cells determine how life unfolds from its beginning to its end.
Dr. Daniel Wallace is a human factors engineer for the U.S. Navy. He is active in teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to children through demonstrations and teaches a science camp for a week every year at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Colonial Beach, VA. He is now in his 14th year as a member of the Westmoreland County Public School Board. He is also a musician, playing violin in the praise and worship band at his church.
We are very happy that he has agreed to share some of his favorite books with CRRL readers. To begin, here are favorites from his childhood:
Caroline Herschel had a very hard life early on. Born into a family of royal musicians in what is now Germany, two childhood illnesses left her face pockmarked and her body stunted. Her mother treated her very much as a servant while worrying that no man would ever want to marry her. In the 1700s, this was a real concern, for it was hard for women to make enough money to survive on their own. Caroline's life was pretty miserable as she was expected to do exhausting housework, including knitting stockings for everyone, over and over again.
Fortunately, Caroline’s older brother William wanted to help her. He had moved to England where he was working as a choral conductor and piano teacher. William had the idea that Caroline could learn to sing and be paid for it, and that is exactly what she did. But that is not where her story ends.
A boy and his mother are canoeing on a pond in the Adirondack Mountains. It is peaceful place, maybe even dull. Or, is it? The boy asks his mother, “What’s down there?”
So many things! His mother tells him about them, from the minnows, crayfish, and bullfrogs to beavers hunting “delectable roots” found in the mud and otters clawing for freshwater mussels.
And, over the pond? A great blue heron catches one of those minnows for his dinner. A moose munches a mouthful of waterlilies. As the sun sets, mother and son paddle back to shore and head for home. In the dark, life goes on at the pond. Raccoons come out to prowl, and catfish glide as they seek their suppers in the cool of the night.
Kate Messner’s Over and Under the Pond does several things very nicely. First, it tells a soothing story, perfect for bedtime. But it also introduces an ecosystem, making the science of living things and the secrets found below a pond’s surface very accessible, and it manages to do so without sounding like a textbook.
Rosie the Riveter is an icon, well-known for representing the scores of women who worked in munitions factories during World War II. Andrea Beaty gives a subtle nod to the original Rosie—and the powerful women she represents—in Rosie Revere, Engineer, her follow-up to Iggy Peck, Architect. Rosie Revere is a born engineer who loves creating intricate and unusual machines using parts she has salvaged from the trash. Her inventing has been a secret, though, ever since the day her Uncle Fred laughed at her snake repellant hat.