Explore light and color in Earth’s atmosphere with a simple hands-on investigation using a prism, glue stick, and pen light.
Hints for use in your library: Use the optional video clip, Our World: Sunsets and Atmospheres, to provide a kid-friendly explanation about how NASA uses sunrises and sunsets to measure the health of our atmosphere from aboard the International Space Station.
Participants travel to different stations to learn about visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light and discover that "invisible" light is just as real as "visible" light!
Hints for use in your library: This fun, station-based activity demostrates three wavelengths of light through four different stations. The activity guide takes a more formal approach, but it can easily be adapted to a library setting by forgoing the worksheets (and instead encouraging verbal observations and conversations with peers). If you are uncomfortable with the subject matter, consider showing a video from the "Related Links" and having a discussion with participants about what they already know about light. Also, if you are low on time or materials, you can choose just one of the infrared stations. Be sure to check the "How-To Video" for helpful tips from NASA on creating the receiver circuit.
Participants collect samples of particles in the air on adhesive tape then examine it under a microscope.
Hints for use in your library: This activity can be done quicker by activity placing the tape on surfaces to collect dust and other particles. Place your tape on flowers and trees to immediately pick up pollen, instead of just looking for dust in the atmosphere!
This pen and paper activity shows kids (and adults!) the language computers use to communicate, and provides a good first activity for libraries interested in getting into coding.
Hints for use in your library: Use this activity in conjunction with activities around creating secret codes and code breaking! Have a group that has learned binary create the secret message, and have a new group try to decode it!