Looking for an idea for a science project? Here are several science experiment ideas that use materials easily found in your house. A couple of them might require a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy, but mostly you can just raid the garage, kitchen or medicine chest for the ingredients. Many experiments you will want to do OUTSIDE. Each experiment will give you directions as well as suggest websites and books that will help you explain what science is at work during the experiment.
YouTube Channel: BeardedScienceGuyVideo science demonstrations from a middle school science teacher.
Science in Context: This is a database you can look at with your IndyPL Library Card Number and PIN to get Science Experiment ideas and to do background research once you choose a subject. (What’s my PIN?)
Science Fair Discoverer: This is a great way to find experiments that use common around-the-house items. Search by asking where you want to begin: In the recycling bin? In the junk drawer? In the yard? In the Kitchen? In the Bathroom? When an experiment is selected, you will see a list of needed items and directions. (What’s my PIN?)
Colonial Voices is a book of poems written in the voice of a different colonist. Each poem is from a different person’s point of view. If you were interviewing people in colonial times, how might the point of view of an English soldier differ from a cabin boy on a ship or a slave or a blacksmith? By reading about an event from the perspective of different people, you can get a more well-rounded idea of what that event or time period was really like. You can do the same thing by reading books that tell you about the different people, customs and events of a certain time period.
Listed below are books, websites & databases that will help you learn about the 13 colonies and the colonial period. To give you a start looking at what life was like back then, here are some colonial items that are Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
“The purse was made in the late 1700s. 18th century women didn’t carry purses like women of today do—they didn’t carry much in the way of toiletries or money, so they didn’t need to. The woman who owned this would have kept a variety of small objects in this pocketbook, which she could have carried in her pocket (a separate bag worn under her skirt.)”
“This kind of infant’s shirtwas known as a waistcoat and was probably worn over another shirt for extra warmth. This one is made of block-printed cotton and lined with linen. It was worn by John H. Hardenbergh when he was born in 1798.”
This tankard and plate are made of pewter. “Pewter was a popular material for dishes until the mid 1800s when glass and pottery became more preferred. Pewter dishes were common in Colonial America, but England kept tight control of the import of the raw tin needed for making pewter, so most pieces were made in England or recast from melted down older pieces.”
U.S. History in Context: American Coloniesis a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home with your IndyPL Library Card. Login using your library card number and PIN. What’s My PIN? It will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about the 13 colonies.
NoveList K-8: Stories about the 13 Colonies is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home with your IndyPL Library Card. Login using your library card number and PIN. What’s My PIN?Novelist will show you fiction chapter books and picture books you can read set in the time of the 13 colonies. Click on “Check the Library Catalog” to see if IndyPL has the book.
Use your indyPL Library Card number and PIN to check out FREE Online eBooks. Click on a book jacket & enter your Library Card number and PIN to borrow. What’s My PIN?
Before the European conquest, North America was home to more than 300 Native American tribes. Each of them has its own history, art, culture and traditions. This illustrated history book will show you many of them. It includes maps, charts and timelines too to help you with homework questions about particular groups. Listed below are more websites and books to help you do research.
Listed below are books, websites & databases that will help you learn about Native Americans. To give you a start looking at what their life was like, you can look at some images like this one of Native American items that are Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Cradleboard – “Native American mothers, aunts, and grandmothers demonstrated their love and hope for infants by creating elaborately decorated cradle covers or cradleboards. They used beads, pain, wood, or tacks to make special carriers for their infants. Mothers carried their babies in the cradleboards, like this one, or strapped it to the side of a horse. It was easy to prop the cradleboard with the infant near a tree or dwelling while the mother performed daily chores. Many elders believed cradleboards “socialized” infants when worn because it brought the child to the eye level of the adults.” More Native American Artifacts at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
U.S. History in Context: Native Americansis a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home with your IndyPL Library Card. Login using your library card number and PIN. What’s My PIN? It will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about Native Americans.
NoveList K-8: Stories about Native Americans is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home with your IndyPL Library Card. Login using your library card number and PIN. What’s My PIN?Novelist will show you fiction chapter books and picture books you can read about Native Americans. Click on “Check the Library Catalog” to see if IndyPL has the book.
Indiana Books & Websites:
The Miami, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Mascoutens, Delaware (Lenape), Shawnee were some of the Native Americans that lived in Indiana before settlers came here. One of the most well-known Native Americans from Indiana is the Miami Chief, Little Turtle. The websites and books below will help you learn more about Native Americans who lived in Indiana.
The poet James Whitcomb Riley was born in Greenfield, Indiana on October 7, 1849. To give you an idea how long ago that was, he was about 12 years old when the U.S. Civil War started. Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell were both born around the same time.
At the time of his death on July 22, 1916, James Whitcomb Riley was a beloved figure in Indiana. He was also well known for writing in dialect. A dialect is a particular form of a language that is special to a specific region, in this case Indiana. It is similar to what we would call an accent today. When a person read his poetry, it was like listening to a neighbor and people really liked that. Many of his poems were funny. People really liked that too. Riley traveled the country giving live shows reading his poetry. In his time, he was a rock star! His death was such news it made front page headlines in major newspapers all across the country. There is an old scrapbook of the events that followed his death at The James Whitcomb Riley Home & Museum. You can look at this scrapbook online. It has all kinds of old newspaper clippings in it. One of the headlines about his funeral says, “35,000 People Pass Casket of Indiana Poet”. That is a lot of people!
During Riley’s life people did not have radios in their homes yet. To listen to music or readings they used phonographs. In Riley’s day you had to hand crank a machine to listen to a recording. Very early ones recorded onto cylinders. Later ones recorded onto flat discs, like a CD, only larger. Today you can play a digital file of an audiobook on your phone or computer. In 1912 Riley recorded poetry readings for the Victor Talking Machine Company on one of those flat discs so that people could listen at home – an old time audiobook. We have these old Riley Recordings at IndyPL in our digital collection. James Whitcomb Riley Recordings You can listen to the man himself reading his own poetry. Lucky for you they are in a digital file now!
Mr. Riley’s most famous poems for children were and still are, “Raggedy Man,” “The Little Orphant Annie,” “When the Frost is on the Punkin,” and “The Old Swimmin’ Hole.” You can read them right now in these free eBooks from IUPUI. I recommend the deliciously scary “The Little Orphant Annie.” Annie is a great storyteller! She tells the story of why you better mind your parents because “The gobble-uns’ll git you ef you don’t watch out!” To read it click on the green book Riley Child Rhymes and then click on page 23.
In the spirit of another beloved Hoosier, David Letterman:
Top 10 Ways to Know James Whitcomb Riley was a Rock Star of his Time:
10. His book Rhymes of Childhood was published in 1912. Today, over 100 years later, you can easily find his book at the library or go to an online bookstore and find it for sale as a print book or an eBook. There are not very many books that are still printed from that long ago!
8. When Riley died, the President of the United states, Woodrow Wilson, and the Vice-President of the United States, Thomas Riley Marshall (who was from Columbia City, Indiana), both sent messages of condolence to his family. The Governor of Indiana allowed him to be laid in state at The Indiana Statehouse Rotunda so that people could come pay their respects. Until that time, only Abraham Lincoln had been honored in that way.
1. James Whitcomb Riley donated the land indyPL’s Central Library is built on. The bronze gates at the main entrance on St. Clair Street were purchased with pennies donated by children. The bronze tablets on each of the iron gates say: The gates are the gift of the children of Indianapolis in loving remembrance of their friend James Whitcomb Riley
To the Mountaintopwas written by Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Charlayne was one of the first black students admitted to the University of Georgia in 1961. In this book, Charlayne tells her own story as well as the stories of other people, children and young adults like her, who played very important roles in the Civil Rights Movement. It is an interesting book because she was so young. We can listen to her own story in her own words. Eyewitness accounts help us experience an event firsthand. We can take a moment to walk in someone else’s shoes. By reading the accounts of people who who were alive at the time, we can empathize with their suffering and understand why the Civil Rights Movement was so important to ensure their safety and freedom.
In To the Mountaintop, one of the people Charlayne talks about is Ruby Bridges, the first black child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ruby was in elementary school, Charlayne was in college, both were brave enough to do something first. Ruby, in particular, became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. An icon is a person or thing that represents something bigger. Ruby was a little girl, but became a symbol of the struggle for Civil Rights for all black people in our country. One of the things that helped make Ruby an icon is this painting by American painter Norman Rockwell. The painting shows Ruby being escorted to school by four US Marshals. Four. It took four law enforcement officers to protect her. That is really hard to understand; that a child would need escorted to school like that. The painting is called “The Problem We All Live With“. In 2011 President Barack Obama arranged to borrow the painting from the Norman Rockwell museum. He had it hung outside the Oval Office and invitedRubyto come see it. Watch this video carefully to hear President Obama say something important:
“I think it’s fair to say that if it hadn’t been for you guys, I might not be here and we wouldn’t be looking at this together.”
He said something very similar during his campaign for President in 2007.
“I’m here because somebody marched. I’m here because you all sacrificed for me. I stand on the shoulders of giants.” ~Speech, Selma Voting Rights March Commemoration in Selma, Alabama, March 4, 2007
Listed below is a timeline of important events of the Civil Rights Movement. These events culminated with the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. For each event a few books are listed, both fiction and non-fiction, that bring the events and people to life. Take a book walk through history to learn about these fascinating, determined, brave people who stood together so no one stood alone.
1954: Brown Vs. Board of Education was a landmark United States Supreme Court case. The Court declared state laws allowing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. It was a major victory and important turning point for the Civil Rights Movement. The decision by the Court was unanimous (9–0). Unanimous means all of the supreme court justices agreed.
1955: The Lynching of Emmett Till
Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African-American boy who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 after allegedly offending a white woman in a grocery store. His killers were acquitted. The trial and acquittal drew attention to the long history of violent persecution of African-Americans in the United States. Emmett’s death became a rallying cry that helped people all over the country realize the critical importance of the Civil Rights Movement.
1955-1956: Montgomery Bus Boycott
The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a protest against racially segregated seats on the public buses in Montgomery, Alabama. It sounds very strange today, but back then it was actually illegal for a black person and a white person to sit next to each other on a bus. The bus riding rules up to this point stated that African Americans could not be hired as bus drivers, had to ride in seats at the back of the bus, and had to give up their seat to a white person.The boycott began when Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white person.
1957: Little Rock Central High School Integration
The Little Rock Nine was a group of African American students who were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court had already unanimously said in Brown v. Board of Education that all laws establishing segregated schools were unconstitutional, the students were initially prevented from entering the school. President Eisenhower then sent the 101st Airborne and the Arkansas National Guard to escort the students to school.
1960: Greensboro, North Carolina Sit Ins
The Greensboro Sit-ins were a series of nonviolent protests against the segregated seating at lunch counters in restaurants. In Greensboro, North Carolina, four men sat down at the all-white lunch counter but no one would take their order. They sat quietly until the counter closed. The next day, joined by more people, they did the same thing. More people joined each day at more restaurants and in more cities. Sales at the boycotted stores went way down and gradually, the stores abandoned their segregation rules. Similar protests helped change segregation policies at libraries, beaches, parks, swimming pools and museums. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 finally passed, it ordered desegregation of all public places.
1960: Ruby Bridges New Orleans, Louisiana
Ruby Bridges was the first black child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in Louisiana in 1960. Bridges and her mother were escorted to school by four federal marshals for the entire school year.
1961: Freedom Riders
Freedom Riders were people who rode on buses to protest segregated seating. The United States Supreme Court had already ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional, but the law was not enforced. In protest, mixed racial groups rode the buses together to challenge the rules. The riders drew attention to the states that were not following federal law.
1963: Birmingham Children’s March
Birmingham Children’s March was a march by hundreds of school children in Birmingham, Alabama, May 2–5, 1963. The children left school and walked downtown to talk to the mayor about segregation. Many children were arrested. Fire hoses and police dogs were used to stop the march. This event compelled President Kennedy to publicly support federal civil rights legislation and led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
1963: March on Washington
The March on Washington took place in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. The purpose of the march was to stand up for civil rights for African Americans. At the march, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. The march helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
1963: 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing
The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing occurred at the African-American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday, September 15, 1963. Four members of the Ku Klux Klan planted a bomb beneath the steps at the church, killing four little girls and injuring 22 others.
1964: Civil Rights Act
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
1965: Voting Marches & the Voting Rights Act of 1965
The Selma to Montgomery Voting Marches were three protest marches along the 54-mile highway from Selma, Alabama to the state capital, Montgomery, Alabama. The marches were organized to support African-American citizens who wanted to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The marches contributed to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, federal legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.
To learn even more about fascinating and inspiring black history makers, visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library. The Center is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots.
“To get young people engaged, one of the things they need is to see themselves in books. It is important for all of us to see ourselves in books, because that encourages us to read in a different way and encourages us to write more.” ~ Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott Founder of the African American Read-in #weneeddiversebooks