Programs and Events
Invite a guest lecturer to deliver a topical lecture or slide show. Topics
to consider include historical scientists, such as Isaac Newton, Galileo
Galilei, and Johannes Kepler; science in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries; alchemy and allegory; everyday physics; and the impact of religion
on scientific research and inventions. Contact a local college or university
science, mathematics, or history department for presenters.
Show videos about famous scientists and/or mathematicians. Present
"Newton's Dark Secrets" or another video about a notable scientist or
mathematician, and have a facilitator lead a related discussion after watching.
(Make sure that videos are cleared for public performance rights.)
Offer a short class or workshop. Work with a representative from a
local amateur astronomy club or a college or university astronomy department to
host a class or workshop about planetary motion.
Invite a guest speaker to talk about Newton's contributions to physics,
astronomy, and/or math. Contact local high schools, colleges, and physics
or astronomy organizations for possible speakers. Distribute copies of the "Who
Was Sir Isaac Newton?" handout.
Host a young astronomers club. Work with local science teachers or
astronomy organizations to host a young astronomers club meeting. Use the "Who
Am I?" activity with participants.
Hold a science essay contest. Pose the question "How has science
influenced your life?" Work with a local science teacher to develop contest
guidelines and judging criteria.
prizes. Display the essays in the library.
Plan a quiz show. Create a quiz-show format using questions drawn
from books in the bibliography. Invite young adults from science clubs and area
schools. Award prizes.
Conduct a science-based activity session. Use the "Marble on the
Move" and "Who Am I?" activities to spark interest in Newton and present-day
scientists. Create and distribute a bibliography that lists additional activity
Make a rainbow. Do the "Catch a Rainbow" activity with children, which
demonstrates that white light can be separated into its component colors.
Hold a book reading and craft event. After presenting a book on
Newton or an early astronomer like Edmund Halley, have children create models
of the planets and/or drawings showing how the planets move around the sun.
Organize a book reading or video presentation about a famous
scientist. Present an age-appropriate book or video from the bibliography
about Newton or another scientist.
Conduct a science-based activity session. Use "Newton's
Discovery," "Parachute Play," or "Light's Mysteries," to introduce children to
some of Newton's science concepts. Create and distribute a bibliography that
lists additional activity resources. Recruit high school students or science
club members to help conduct the activities.
Activities Using Library Resources
activities are designed to encourage the use of library resources.
Original documents. Plan a discussion around original scientific
documents and where patrons might locate these materials. Share the resources
that your library has to help find these materials.
Rare book room tour. If your library has a rare book or manuscript
room that contains mathematical or scientific texts, arrange a guided tour for
Bookmarks. Print bookmarks with resources for historical
scientists or science themes related to Newton's discoveries. Tailor the
bookmarks for different age levels.
Science trivia night. Plan a night that focuses on a particular
scientist's work or science subject. Invite a guest who is knowledgeable about
that science topic to host the event, and recruit one or two young adults to
Scientific discovery time line. Provide teens with a list of
scientific discoveries and ask them to use library resources to find who made
each discovery and when each was made. Distribute the "Who Was Sir Isaac
Newton?" handout and have teens compare their time lines to the dates when
Newton made his discoveries.
Recommended resources lists. Have young adults create lists of
recommended resources about Newton and related topics for their peers. Display
the lists during a presentation or event related to Newton.
Call numbers or keywords list. Prepare a list of call numbers or
keyword search terms related to Newton, other scientists and mathematicians,
alchemy, calculus, the history of science, physics, optics, astronomy, or other
related topics. Then ask young adults to research the scientists listed on the
"Who Am I?" activity and correctly name the mystery scientists featured on the
Science word hunt. Give children a list of science terms commonly used
in physics, optics, and/or astronomy. Ask them to use library resources to
determine the meaning of each term.
Resource posters or bookmarks. Have children help you create
posters or bookmarks that can be used to identify the location of resources in
the children's area related to Newton, physics, and math.
"Who Am I?" game. List three scientists, including Newton, at the
top of a sheet of paper. Then list five or six facts about each scientist
elsewhere on the page. Have children use library resources to match the facts
with the correct scientist.
Science question contest. Have children use library resources to
answer a set of developmentally appropriate science questions. Work with a
local science teacher or school librarian to develop questions that can tie
into school science curriculum.
Library Display Ideas
Newton books and videos. Display one or more pictures of Newton along with
a time line, selected books and videos (see bibliography for suggestions), and
one or more of the activity handouts.
Newton's discoveries. Highlight books and videos about some of
Newton's famous discoveries, along with posters illustrating his laws of
motion. Have one or more of the activity handouts available for distribution.
Calculus, Physics, and Astronomy
Science activities. Showcase one of the science activities from the
activity handouts. Have the chosen handout available for distribution.
Light and color. Create a table display that provides
illustrations or samples of prisms, lenses, color filters, and the
electromagnetic spectrum. Have copies of the "Light's Mysteries" activity
handout available for distribution.
Orbits of the planets. If possible, display an orrery (a
mechanical model of the solar system) or diagrams of early devices that model
the relative positions and motions of the planets alongside selected books and
videos about astronomy.
The physics of sports, amusement parks, and/or space flight.
Highlight applications of physics by displaying photographs, posters, and
models of real-world items, along with selected books and videos (see
bibliography for suggestions). Have copies of the "Marble on the Move" activity
handout available for distribution.
School science fair projects. Display selected science fair
projects created by local students. Contact science curriculum coordinators in
local school systems for referrals. Also contact local homeschool groups
regarding science project development.
History of Science
Famous scientists and mathematicians. Select titles and resources based
on a theme, such as women scientists, famous European scientists, or
mathematicians who contributed to the field of calculus (see bibliography for
suggestions). Display drawings or photographs of the highlighted people.
Consider featuring scientists who are known in your city, region, or state.
Historical science and mathematical documents. Profile several key
historical scientific or mathematical books, such as Newton's Principia,
Euclid's Elements, and Kepler's New Astronomy.
Evolution of scientific thought. Display books and videos that
highlight the evolution of key ideas in science.
Alchemists' laboratories. Create a display highlighting the type of
instruments commonly used in alchemy. Include enlarged illustrations of early
equipment along with modern-day beakers, mortars and pestles, and crucibles.
Contact local science and/or history museums for possible display items.
Resources for Programs and Events
following is a listing of selected Web resources to help you locate experts,
partners, target audiences, and materials for your events, programs, and
activities. You can find these links online at
Schools, Colleges, and Universities
American Association of Community Colleges
Furnishes state-by-state listings of local community colleges (choose
"Community College Finder" at the top of the page). Contact information and
links to college home pages supplied. Most linked sites include listings for
academic departments and faculty.
U.S. Universities by State
Provides listing of colleges and universities by state with links to home pages of each institution. Most organizations have department listings or public affairs offices that can connect you with experts in a field of interest.
Yahoo! Directory: K-12 Schools
Provides a listing of elementary, middle, and high schools with links to each
school's home page. Regional listings provide state breakdowns by cities or
counties. Many linked sites have staff listings. (Not all schools are
Museums, Science Centers, and Planetaria
The Virtual Library: Museums in the USA
Lists more than 100 U.S. museums and science centers by name, state, and/or
type, and provides direct links to museum home pages. Allows searches by
Provides background information and resources on historical events and
discoveries, art and culture, and famous mathematicians and inventors. Provides
lesson plans and a media catalog.
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific: Planetaria
Furnishes links to planetarium and observatory home pages by state.
Contact the educational outreach person at your local PBS affiliate to help
plan and promote your events.
Offer materials on your library Web site. Link to online downloadable
versions of the handouts included in this kit. Augment the resources with a
calendar of events and programs or related books.
Create and distribute posters and fliers announcing your event or
Send event information to media outlets, such as newspapers, science
center and club newsletters, and local radio and television stations. Supply
the information to local community, city, and school Web sites.
about offering incentives for contests and other events. Some incentives might
be tickets to a local museum or science center, books or videos on Newton or
related topics, math games or manipulatives, construction toys, or science
project supplies. Contact local retailers—such as hobby and craft stores,
toy stores, and bookstores—for possible donations.
When creating display titles, use a few short words in large type size and
alliterative phrases to grab patrons' attention (i.e., "Newton's Notable
Achievements" or "Marvelous Mathematicians").
Use fabric instead of paper for bulletin board backgrounds—it lasts
longer and is easy to reuse.
Place one or more small boxes or stands on a table to create risers. Then
cover tables with cloth or plastic tablecloths. Highlight one book or display
item on each riser to create an appealing table display.
To create a poster-size picture for display, photocopy a copyright-free
image onto a transparency, then use an overhead projector to magnify it onto a
large piece of paper taped to a wall. Trace the outline of the image and then
color it in to make the poster.
Use copies of the bibliography, activities, and display sheets provided in this
kit to enhance your displays.