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Blog Posts by Subject: Science

STEM Comics: Saving Students One Thought Bubble at a Time

If only Manga Math had existed when I struggled through Calculus. The only solace at that time was the introduction of the high tech (for its era) graphing calculator.Read More ›

Inspired by "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey:" A Science Reading List For Kids

Have you been captivated by Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the recent follow-up to Carl Sagan's seminal documentary series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage? Me too. While the engaging style would likely draw in high school and perhaps middle grade students, it might be a bit too advanced for the younger crowd, despite some amazing visuals and animations. But why wait to introduce them to basic concept of the world, nay, cosmos they live in? History, nature, and the scientific method can really activate an imagination, stimulate curiosity, and provoke inquiry.Read More ›

Kids Science Experiment: Elephant Toothpaste

On a snowy Saturday at the branch a few kids came out to try a cool experiment I'd been talking about all week. ELEPHANT TOOTHPASTE!! Too cool.

This exciting experiment is a great example of a reaction that occurs when you combine certain chemicals together (kid-friendly of course). 

At first I decided to give the experiment a test run and as a result I didn’t get the reaction I was quite looking for. Something I used was off. Well it was the bottle I used. It was just too big (2 liter soda bottle).

Learning from my mistake, I decided to do the experiment 

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Kids Science: Make Your Own Lava Lamp

School’s back in session and with it a continued enthusiasm for learning ever after classes are out.

Last Monday at 115th Street’s bi-weekly Science Monday, kids (and some parents) came out to try their hand at some scientific and artistic experimentation.

Remember lava lamps? Those lights filled with glow-in-the-dark liquid and colorful globs of goo? Our younger participants recognized them immediately and were eager to see if they could create their own versions simply using items found in most households.

We used clear containers (with a 

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There's Gold in Them Thar Hills: Digging at the Webster Library

For Webster Library's second big "Dig into Reading" event of the summer, we celebrated digging of all kinds (if you missed our worm races, check them out).

For this program, we separated our room into four main areas:

Paleontologist: Search for laminated dinosaur bones in a kiddie pool filled with packing peanuts. Geologist: Fizzing rocks that dissolve in vinegar to reveal a prize. Paleontologist (part II): ... Read More ›

Fortifying Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education in New York City

As President Obama is leading our nation in an education reform to Race to the Top and Educate to Innovate, Mayor Bloomberg of the Big Apple is following suit in raising the education standards of K-12 school students by implementing more effective teaching and learning programs. Fortifying STEM education with a focus on the knowledge and skills for the jobs of the future is also an important aspect on the agenda of Bloomberg's 

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STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future

The U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration recently released a report, STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future (PDF), that profiles U.S. employment in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

This report is based on analysis to date from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey and Current 

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Kids' Science: Testing Taste Buds at 115th Street

On Monday, March 25th, about 12 kids gathered in the picture book section of the children's room in the 115th Street Library to test their taste buds.

How much do we rely on our five senses? What information do we get from them that we might take for granted or just don't notice? How do they work together to give us a more complete picture of our world and surroundings? The experiment intended to explore just that.

The task was simple: Can you tell the difference between a raw potato and an apple?

A quick 

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Edisonia: Edison's British Patents at NYPL

A freak October blizzard. Driving to the WOHS reunion. Highway traffic stopped I decided to bushwhack through Newark and the Oranges. Locations remembered, long deteriorated, run-down urban industrial decay.

Really, it was just a patent that started this chain of rememberances. Looking for a different British patent from 1873 I saw the name: Thomas Alva Edison. Dated September 11th, Number 2988 for Perforated Telegraphic Paper. Edison. The inventor. If you lived in West Orange, you definitely heard of him.

The 

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The Art and Science of Cooking

I like to cook, but I am not much of a baker. There is one yearly exception... the transition to autumn and then the holiday season usually puts me in a baking mood. For the past few Christmases I've made biscotti — Italian cookies flavored with nuts, spices, or dried fruits. They are something of a tradition in my family. This year when I got out my mixing bowl I grabbed a dry measure for the flour and sugar, but then I put it away. I decided not to use it.

Now, I know baking is all about scientific precision! 

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Age of Power and Wonder

Browsing the Digital Gallery today, I came across this interesting set of cigarette cards. And since I don't think there is anyone who doesn't love space, science, retrofuturism,

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Roz Chast Explains the Universe

Last month, when researchers at the Large Hadron Collider discovered a particle that behaved suspiciously like the Higgs boson, the theoretical particle that helps explain the existence of matter in the universe, I immediately thought of Roz Chast.

You know, the New Yorker cartoonist? The one so good at drawing wallpaper? And lamps? And little things?

Chast is no particle theorist, but she has published in the periodicals Scientific American and

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The Importance of Earthworms: Darwin’s Last Manuscript

Charles Darwin died 130 years ago today, leaving an intellectual legacy which has profoundly influenced the general course of Western thought. He is best known for his work On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871), both of which 

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Special Library in Focus: The American Museum of Natural History Library

Background Info on the Museum & Library: Luckily for me, I was able to visit the library of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) with a staff group. I did not realize that their library is open to the public, and I was not aware of the amount of empirical research that goes on in the museum. The museum is focused on the natural sciences, the earth and animals. There are about 200 scientists that work for the museum, and the library is a METRO member. The 

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Spencer Collection Book of the Month: The Rain of Crosses

The New York Public Library business card logoDid you know that The New York Public Library has an official color? I didn't either, and I've worked here since the Dark Ages (before the Internet). But we do, as I found out when I ordered new business cards recently. The color is red.

That's fine with me—I've always liked red (political considerations aside), and besides it gives me an excuse to select as the Spencer Collection Book of the Month for April a small volume containing two illustrations in vivid red. It is appropriate also because Easter falls in April this 

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Avian Inspiration

Do you plan to come to the next Handmade Crafternoon on March 5th to make your own tiny avian sculpture with artist Abby Glassenberg, author of The Artful Bird? Want to brush up on bird characteristics in advance?  Then the Library's Digital Gallery is a great place to spend some time.  Here 

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A Little Wanting Song: A Review

Charlie Duskin lives and breathes music. At least, she does when she’s alone or taking lessons. She’ll talk music with people, but playing guitar or singing in front of them is impossible except for her mom or Gran even though she is not entirely without talent. Charlie doesn’t mind so much because music can be enough most of the time–especially during a summer in the country surrounded by old ghosts and locals who want nothing to do with her.

But Charlie also wants more. She wants a friend. She wants someone, maybe Dave Robbie, to look at her the way 

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NYPL Is For the Birds! The New Canaan Nature Center Visits the Tottenville Branch

Some fine feathered friends named Putter, Topper, Hedwig and Evie dropped by the Tottenville Library this week and they didn't look like our typical library visitor. Their beautiful feathers and razor sharp talons wowed Staten Islanders of all ages as Environmental Educator Bill Flynn and his assistant Henry brought a little bit of their Connecticut nature center to NYC.    Read More ›

Nathaniel Fludd Beastologist: Flight of the Phoenix: A Review

On September 5, 1928 ten-year-old Nathaniel Fludd’s parents are declared lost at sea. Alone in the world with no other close relatives and a governess eager to abscond with her Tidy Sum from the Fludd estate, Nathaniel is sent to live with Phil A. Fludd–a mysterious cousin Nate has never met, let alone heard of in Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: Flight of the Phoenix by R. L. LaFevers with illustrations by

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(1/2x + ... = ?, Calculators that Crush Challenging Math Problems

The World Wide Web is a great source for online calculators. Some of these calculators are much more powerful than your typical desktop calculator. They show you not only the answer to your problem but also the step-by-step process used to get to that answer.

If a student is not sure how to do a math problem these calculators can help…but…there is often more than one way to solve a problem. A teacher may show a different method of solving a problem.

These calculators cover different subjects and work in different ways. Choose the 

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