Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wild Record Wednesdays: sneaky STEM

On Wednesdays in February, I held a series of programs based on Guinness Book of World Records and... well, any record I could find, really, that seemed pretty cool. I started off with some basic ones the first week (and also overtly STEM rather than sneaky STEM), which I probably wouldn't do again because I lost half my audience before I got to the good stuff!

Each week I found about several world records, preferably with accompanying Youtube clips. I would introduce each record, talk about the record holder, and then show the clip. We would turn this into a discussion about sizes or speed to put numbers into context (math) This took about 20 minutes. During this time, we would also add a pin to a 11x17 map to show where our records were. The remaining 25 minutes were spent with the kids engaged in activities based on the records, and looking through our books from our 030 section for other records to share.

What we did each week:

Week 1: The Tallest and Smallest
Featured records: world's tallest man, shortest woman, tallest building in the world, tallest building in the U.S.
Activity: Find out how many of your hands and feet would fit inside Sultan Kosen's; figure out how many Sultan Kosens, standing on top of one another, it would take to reach the top of the Willis Tower (math).

Week 2: Records you can try at home (or, you know, the library)
This entire week's theme was entirely inspired by Anne at So Tomorrow telling me to have the kids measure their own tongues.
This week, also the week that Anna at Future Librarian Superhero came to visit, was pretty interesting: I wait until ten minutes pass before cancel a program for no attendance. At 8 minutes, my regular sibling pair arrives and I resolve to do the program for 2 people. After we get through our first few records, a group decides to show up from the Boys & Girls club and we all have a pretty great time!
Featured records: Key Card Hotel, longest ears on a dog, most snorts in ten seconds, most times kicking ones own behind in ten seconds, most ping pong balls caught with chopsticks in one minute
Activity: attempts at building card houses, snorting, kicking ones own behind, and catching ping pong balls with chopsticks. We ended up doing these activities and timing them (math) as soon as we talked about each record, because, well, who wouldn't want to try them immediately?!

Say it.
(Sorry, I have no idea where I got this, but it's not mine)

Week 3: Crazy Collections
Featured records: largest collection of video game memorabilia, largest collection of troll dolls, biggest Barbie fan, biggest Hello Kitty fan, biggest Harry Potter fan
Activity: we have new collections in the porthole every three weeks, and the child whose LEGO figures were in there at the time said he had "a lot!" of LEGOs. So the kids counted them (counted in parts, and added them together-- math) and made a sign to hang by the porthole.

Week 4: MORE Records You Can Try at Home, and Requests from previous weeks
Featured records:world's longest cat, world's largest collection of Daleks, largest kazoo ensemble, largest tower of cups built in thirty seconds, world record cup stacking, world's largest rubber band ball
Activity: cup stacking (which devolved into building cup towers but I didn't even care), making a starter rubber band ball (there was a Youtube clip for that too) (engineering).

I know many would not, but I call this a book club. Well, I don't call it a "book club", but I think it ranks right of there with what you could do with a book club. We're celebrating the same type of book every week for a month! Best of all, Oprah's not involved.
If anyone would like to do this or a similar program, I can send you the facts about each record that I found (pretty much from Wikipedia). I may send them with the understanding that you'll do a guest post, though.........
Let me know!


  1. I'm delurking to tell you how fantastic you are. This program is phenomenal. I want to both attend this program and host this program right away. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

  2. I think this program series sounds fantastic! What a great way to make a popular book into an engaging, active program.

  3. Katie K: Thanks for delurking!I hope you keep commenting, too. If you end up running this program let me know!

    Amy: thank you, that really means a lot. I know it's not as STEM as your great programs tend to be but it's a start!