Lab Rats: Book Dominoes

In February I took over our monthly school age science program from our usual science pro, who will be out on leave any time now. She took pity on me and passed me an idea she'd been sitting on that is low on prep and supplies and high on fun: book domino chains!

How To

I stored weeds and triplicates for about a month, particularly hardback J Fiction, and ended up with about 10 boxes of books. Honestly, I could have saved more. They were all processed before the program so afterward I simply boxed them back up and sent them off in delivery.

If you're not lucky enough to work at a big branch in a larger system you could collect sooner, host the program during a heavy weeding period, or have volunteers help you pull a ton of stuff from the shelves and put them back nicely afterwards.

Lately, the format of Lab Rats is to present attendees a challenge, in this case to make a book domino chain including a 180 degree turn. I provided a whole list of questions for those that wanted to stretch the challenge. I also wrote up a quick and dirty explanation of energy which a few parents stopped and read aloud before leaving the program.

Finally, I showed Seattle Public Library's record-setting book domino chain video on our iPad to inspire everyone. I also provided yard sticks in case anyone wanted to measure their work. Otherwise, there were no supplies required. 
Here's how I presented the challenge. Please, feel free to use the text but not our mascot, Nicodemus.
After the first group of kids completed the challenge they began making longer and longer chains, eventually deciding to use every book available to create a chain around the room. Here is the result:

All in all, 30 people attended and most stayed between 30 and 45 minutes. Not too shabby.

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