Just Dewey It – Silly Science

On Monday, I conducted a successful program for 3rd-6th graders

It’s the fifth in a series I’m doing called Just Dewey It, where we explore each of the Dewey Ranges and do fun stuff that corresponds.

This month was the 500’s and we did “kitchen science” experiments. You’re probably familiar with most of them, like baking soda and vinegar to make a “volcano” and cornstarch and water to make “quicksand.” We used water from boiling a red cabbage as an indicator to see what is an acid and what is a base. We used a candle to suck water into a jar and used a balloon to light a fluorescent bulb.

14 kids registered and 10 kids came, which is a pretty good number for this sort of program. There were only 2 minor problems: One of the experiments I did almost set off the smoke alarms (oops) and when we were making slime, some of the kids added too much food coloring and their hands turned purple and green. I’m sure it will wash off in four or five days…

I wanted to post pictures, but I don’t have permission forms for all these kids, so I’ll have to work on that for next time.

I’d love to hear about programs other libraries are doing, so we can steal share ideas.




  1. huntlaur said,

    January 24, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    I told that idea to my co-worker and she loved it… I hope we can get something similar going in our library (we’re big stealers). Sounds like fun.

  2. Sarah Dribin said,

    January 28, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    I really like how you incorporated concrete and experiential practices into what is otherwise a merely theoretical construction (the DDC). I think hands-on activities really give students an impetus to learn the material outside of boring and often useless rote acquisition.

  3. ginnybelle said,

    January 28, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks Sarah,
    However, I got a big reality check today. I was helping with another program, where the kids were doing a scavenger hunt through the library. One of the clues had them looking for books in the 000, which was our topic in October. Two of the groups I helped had kids in them that *attended* that session, and I tried to jog their memories:
    “You came to the Just Dewey It with the ghosts and urban legends and stuff”
    “What Dewey number was that”
    However, I’m in a public library, and am not actively teaching the DDC. If I were, I would probably emphasize the numbers more. I agree with you that hands on experiences contribute greatly to learning.
    And the kids always have a good time, which is my main objective. Give ’em a good time, and they’ll come back. They might even check out a book!

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