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Tuesday November 28th 2023

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Books By Linda Dobson ArtofEdCover Books By Linda Dobson learning-coach-approach

Resources Resources By Becky Rupp

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Resources Resources By Becky Rupp

In this edition, learn how to make a boomerang work right, discover fiber arts for grades three to eight, and (Grandma Linda’s favorite!) a nice variety of science cookies (yes, you read that right!); trilobite cookie, anyone?

The Paper Boomerang Book

Mark Latno’s The Paper Boomerang Book (“Build Them, Throw Them, and Get Them to Return Every Time”) from Chicago Review Press (2010) is a wonderful mix of history, science, and how-tos, both for those already fascinated by boomerangs, and for those who – once they read this book – will be.

It begins with an overview of the lengthy life of the boomerang, from the ancient Egyptian throwing stick to the modern day – including an account of boomerang flights in outer space. (They’ve been tossed around in microgravity on the Space Station.) Subsequent chapters include building and tossing instructions, hints for tweaking wobbly or otherwise suboptimal boomerangs, an explanation of the physics of boomerangs, a photo-illustrated account of creative throwing techniques (single, double, backwards, under the leg), and suggestions for artistic boomerangs, including a gorgeous-looking model that glows in the dark.

The book is recommended for ages 9 and up. $12.95 from bookstores and online booksellers.


WoolWorks! by Lorna McMasters (Harrisville Designs, 2009) is a 12-lesson fiber arts curriculum guide for grades 3-8.  This is truly beautifully done, packaged in a blue looseleaf notebook (with photo of particularly woolly sheep on the cover), and illustrated throughout with color photographs and diagrams. Tucked in a pocket in the front is an illustrated “Sheep and Wool Map of the World,” with drawings of dozens of different breeds of sheep (among them the Hungarian Zackel, which has corkscrew horns, and the Scotch Blackface, which looks like a walking shag carpet). I mean, who could resist a Zackel?

Lessons – which include in-depth historical and scientific background information, varied projects with complete instructions, and supplementary resource lists for teachers – variously cover the history of sheep, the science of wool, felting, spinning, natural dyeing, braiding, weaving, and knitting. For example, kids make felted pouches and juggling balls, produce different-colored yarns from a range of natural dyes, build a traditional Japanese “Maru Dai” or braiding stool (braids, it turns out, were used to lace plates of samurai armor together), experiment with paper weaving, potholder looms, popsicle-stick “backstrap” looms, and tapestry looms, and learn to knit.

Appendices include a bibliography of fiction and non-fiction books for kids and an explanation of how the WoolWorks! program interfaces with the National Education Standards.

The complete curriculum costs $39.95; and a helpful catalog of supplementary materials – looms, drop spindles, packets of raw wool, yarns, dyes – is available for those who don’t have sheep of their own.

It all looks terrific. I now want sheep.

To order or for more information, contact Harrisville Designs (P.O. Box 806, Harrisville, NH 03450) at (800) 338-9415.

Science Cookies

Yes, really: science cookies. There are dozens of them.


Try Trilobite Cookies!

One inspirational source is the “Not So Humble Pie” blog. Maintained by a self-styled “nerdy biological anthropologist turned stay-at-home mom,” Not So Humble Pie features planet cookies, animal and plant cell cookies, Einstein cupcakes, cookie versions of Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) and lab mice, frosted laboratory glassware cookies, dinosaur skeleton cookies, trilobite cookies, and even an entire cookie Periodic Table.

For the young astronomer, learn about the phases of the moon with Oreos. (You’ll need a handful of cookies; milk, says the website, is optional.)

Asphalt Cookies” demonstrates principles of road engineering with a no-bake cookie project using cocoa, oats, walnuts, and coconut.

And “The Chemistry of Baking Cookies” has a recipe for chocolate-chip cookies plus a step-by-step chemical explanation of the process, from mix, to bake, to ready to eat.

Check it all out. Learn while you munch.

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