Spider Power

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the fly; "'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy. The way into my parlor is up a winding stair, And I have many curious things to show when you are there." - Mary Howitt's classic poem, The Spider and the Fly From this…
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Here Comes Johnny Appleseed

When there's a chill in the air and the leaves are starting to turn, that's the time that people think about apple harvests. Virginia is known for its apples, and there are orchards throughout the state that have the delicious fruit in many varieties. There are apple festivals, too, where you can sometimes pick your own…
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November 28 Is Red Planet Day

Each November 28 is celebrated as “Red Planet Day.”  Red Planet Day commemorates the launch of the Spacecraft Mariner 4 on November 28, 1964. Its 228-day mission brought the spacecraft within 6,118 miles of Mars on July 14, 1965, sending us back the first close-up photos of the red planet. Mars is a very bright planet, and…
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Make a Terrarium

Whether it's filled with mossy rocks and ferns or sands and cactus, a terrarium is an amazingly fun way to learn more about nature. With a terrarium in your room, something of the outdoors can always be inside. Terrariums that feature plants (not animals!) lock water inside to keep the soil moist. When the plants…
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Kangaroo Questions & Answers

They have sweet faces and tough guy moves. Kangaroo mothers carry their babies (called joeys) around in their pouches, which is part of what makes them a kind of animal called a marsupial. And, that's only the start of their strangeness. Read on to learn more about these amazing creatures from Australia's outback. Do kangaroos…
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Happy Hibernations!

Slow, sleepy winter days find many animals curled up in their dens. They sleep warmly through winter, awakening in spring ready to enjoy the renewed Earth. This unusual, deep sleep is called hibernation. What Is Hibernation? True hibernation is a very deep sleep. The animal's body temperature drops, its breathing slows, and it is very…
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The Elements: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Periodic Table

DK Publishing and the Smithsonian Institution worked together to create a fascinating book for kids (and adults) who are fascinated by the world around them. The Elements: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Periodic Table makes what could be a dull subject very shiny indeed. Sure, you have your basic periodic table for quick reference. But every element…
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STEM in the Library

If you're the caregiver for a school-age child, then STEM is probably already a household word. An acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, STEM is a focused initiative in the nation's schools and ties in closely with the library's educational mission. Its origins lie with Congress’ America Competes Act, aptly named because when it comes to…
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Simply Circuits

How does a flashlight work? By using a battery hooked up to an electrical circuit system. How does an electrical circuit system work? A battery has negative electric charges and positive electric charges. If you look at a battery, you will see that there is a + sign at one end and a - sign…
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Going to the Zoo!

Early summer and spring are perfect times to visit a zoo. It's not too hot or crowded, and the animals are at their active best. If your kids are begging for pandas, then the National Zoo in Washington is the place to go, but there are some places about an hour's drive from our area where kids can…
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