Howard County Library System invites teams of students, led by a teacher advisor, to participate in this year’s Rube Goldberg Challenge. The students transform everyday materials into a wacky, innovative machine that accomplishes the given task. However, instead of just “solving” the problem, students are charged with making the solution as complicated and convoluted as possible. By designing and building the machine, students incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts into their creations. Simple machine classes will be taught at HCLS branches during the school year. (Wheels and Axles & Pulleys are offered in November.)
To accomplish the challenge of popping a balloon, students will:
- Incorporate the use of a minimum of three different simple machines with the option of using all simple machines.
- Record a video of their invention while it performs the task of popping a balloon.
- Document how they used science, technology, engineering, and math in developing their machine.
- Submit the video and documents to be judged.
Details are available here; deadline for registration is November 11.
Have you already assigned the first of many research papers or essays to your students? Would you now like to point them in the direction of FREE writing review and suggestions? If so, take a moment to encourage them to use Howard County Library System’s online homework assistance.
This service features, among other useful aspects, a writing lab where students can actually upload versions of their original papers to receive a “second opinion” from the experts. These experts check the students’ submissions for grammar and content, then reply to the students with suggestions and tips to consider while drafting the final versions of their assignments!
In addition to writing assistance, Online Homework Assistance experts also offer your students confidential access to additional assistance/tutoring in the following areas:
- Social Studies
- Foreign Languages
- Test Preparation
Remember, this service is FREE! Encourage your students to take advantage of this and other services offered by the Howard County Library System via hclibrary.org/students.
Brian Hart – Howard County Library System, Savage Branch
Are your students planning on participating in National History Day this year? Would they like a judge’s inside view? Teachers, parents and students are invited to Howard County Library System’s Maximize Your History Day Research event on October 4 at 7 pm at the Elkridge Branch. Click here to register. You’ll get live demonstrations of our online historical research tools, tips from former NHD judges, as well as advice from history and reference experts from across the system.
This year’s theme is “Revolution, Reaction and Reform” (and requires relevant research)- we can help!
If your students cannot attend Tuesday night’s event, consider booking the A+ Curriculum Enhancement: History Day Project Preparation Class, or contact your A+ Liaison for more information.
For teachers, students, and families: You think fairy tales are boring? Not after the APL Drama Club gets their hands on them. Join the fun at East Columbia Branch on Saturday, October 22, at 3 pm. The APL players present their mash-up of classic tales, such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Three Little Pigs, Star Wars. Star Wars? Sure, why not – nothing is quite what it seems.
Irva Gabin – East Columbia Branch
East Columbia Branch and the East Columbia 50+ Center presents the music of Camille Saint-Saens. In this session, elementary school students explore the life of this famous composer and listen to a signature piece of music: Carnival of the Animals.
At the East Columbia Branch of Howard County Library System, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Saturday, September 24 at 3 pm. For children 6 – 10 years old with an adult. Perfect for a grandparent / grandchild outing.
Howard County Library System subscribes to a number of e-book collections that contain great information for secondary students. You can access these collections using a Howard County Library System card. The full text of the included books can be read on the screen, and can often be printed or e-mailed to an address you select. In addition, citation tools built in to these collections provide accurate citation information in your preferred format.
We subscribe to multiple research e-book collections to provide your students with access to the widest range of available resources. Take a look at these collections by visiting our electronic resources page and scrolling down to the list of research e-books. Here are some highlights:
- ABC-Clio: This e-book collection contains the full text of titles in science, history, and social science, as well as a small collection of guides to understanding particular titles in literature. If you’re looking for information about social issues, historical events, or scientific discoveries, look in this collection.
- Ebsco e-books contains a wide range of non-fiction titles in multiple subject areas, including 164 works of literary criticism, many of which are Cliffs Notes.
- Gale Virtual Reference also contains a wide range of non-fiction titles, with a particular concentration in science, medicine, and literary criticism. Your students could look in this collection for a book about an author they are researching. Look here for multi-volume encyclopedias in history, social science, science, and medicine.
- InfoBase e-books presents a smaller collection, containing 116 works of literary criticism in the “Blooms Notes” series about particular authors and titles, as well as 22 titles in the “Careers in Focus” series. Also search here for titles in U.S. history, science, and the arts.
- The Oxford Digital Reference Shelf provides access to the electronic editions of 21 multi-volume reference works from Oxford University Press. Look here for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, for example, or the Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895 and 1896-Present.
A wealth of information is contained in this collection of e-books. As you make your students aware of available resources, show them these collections, or invite a research specialist from Howard County Library System to present these resources to your class.
John Jewitt – Administration Office
Although their intricate designs have adorned jewelry, monuments, and manuscripts for centuries, Celtic knots have rarely been woven into, well, actual knots!
But now your students can make beautiful jewelry out of a variety of Celtic knots in this three-session workshop. Artistic students will gain new skills to practice at home, as well as keepsakes to treasure and share. Each class introduces a new knot, but instructions and patient staff members are always available for beginners. The first session starts at East Columbia on Saturday, September 24 at 3 pm. Register online or by calling 410.313.7701.
Rachel Reznick–East Columbia Branch
Howard County Library System recently added four e-book collections for elementary students. One of these collections is TrueFlix from Scholastic, which combines introductory videos with online copies of age-appropriate nonfiction titles. There are ten sets of titles in the TrueFlix collection, divided into two main subject areas – People, Places & History and Science & Nature:
Within each subject area you’ll find a series of thematically-related titles, each of which includes an introductory video and an electronic copy of the book. With TrueFlix, your students can watch a brief video to introduce key concepts, then read the book!
The TrueFlix e-book interface displays a selected title in a pop-up window. This new window displays a copy of the book, with animations that make the pages appear to turn. Text is easy to read, and the images are laid out on the page just as they are in a print copy of the title. Choose to have the title read aloud by selecting “read-along” mode. The narrator will wait until you turn the page, so that readers can discuss content or focus on a particular image in the book.
To see all of the content included in this electronic resource, you can view a demo video on the Scholastic website. As you’ll see, this is a powerful educational tool. In addition to the books themselves, Trueflix includes lesson plans and quizzes for each book in the collection, project ideas, quizzes, Grolier Online articles, and games with related vocabulary. Encourage your students to check out Trueflix!
Check in next week for a review of our research e-book collections for secondary students.
John Jewitt – Howard County Library System Administration Office
Are your students interested in honing their ability to think strategically? Do they like playing games? If so, they may enjoy the Miller Branch’s Chess Club. The Chess Club provides an opportunity for students to meet and compete with others who share their enthusiasm for this classic game in an informal setting. All skill levels are welcome, but players must have a basic understanding of the rules of the game. Tuesday, September 27 from 7 – 8 pm. No registration required. Ages 9-17.
Courtney Gardinier – Howard County Library System, Miller Branch
The biennial conference “Books for the Beast” devotes itself to showcasing and discussing the best in young adult literature. The conference, sponsored by the Enoch Pratt Free Library, was established in 1991 by Dr. Mary K. Chelton and a statewide steering committee, as a way to pay tribute to Margaret Alexander Edwards who was a pioneer in the development of reader’s advisory services for young adults. The “Books for the Beast” Conference gets its name from Edwards’ highly regarded book about serving teens in libraries The Fair Garden and the Swarm of Beasts. You and your students have the opportunity to attend the eleventh annual conference this year. Check out the schedule for the day, a list of guest speakers, and the titles selected for discussion, then register for the conference.
Each conference features outstanding young adult writers who present unique perspectives on this growing field of literature. Morning and afternoon discussion groups that focus on young adult genres: Fantasy/Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Multicultural, Romance, Real Life, and Suspense/Horror. Where appropriate, genres may include graphic novels, nonfiction, or a suggested audiobook. In 1993, the conference began its popular practice of inviting as many as fifty teen readers to participate, free of charge, as a way of including their important insights on what has been written about and for young people. Students can register for the conference by printing and completing the PDF registration form, and mailing it in.
Teacher Notes From Howard County Library - Grade Level Category