BOOMbox at Home: Summer Reading

This summer, the BOOMbox is aligning with summer reading by focusing on all things circles. Who says circles are pointless? That’s how we’re going to roll all summer! Each week, we’ll explore circles in a new way, from looking at the specific shape of a circle and how that plays into art, to the basics of electricity with closed-loop circuits, to various circle inventions throughout time like wheels, and more.

So, what is a circle? Merriam-Webster Kids Dictionary defines a circle as “a line segment that is curved so that its ends meet and every point on the line is equally far away from a single point inside.” In other words, circles are one-sided shapes without points or corners and make a shape like an "O." We see circles all around us--in nature like the moon, in jewelry like rings, and in home decorations like mirrors. Take a look around; what circles do you notice?

Knowing that circles are all around us, experiential learning specialists had a great time using circles as their starting points for this summer’s BOOMbox activities. To start the summer off, we featured Snap Circuits kits to learn more about closed-loop circuits. If you don’t have a closed loop, your circuit isn’t complete and the fan or light bulb you want to power on won’t receive the electric current to work. If you missed Snap Circuits in the BOOMbox, or want to continue your circuitry exploration, check out a Snap Circuit Jr. STEAM Kit and let us know what you learned.

Taking a hint from the STEAM Kit collection, we’re featuring a spirograph takeover later this summer to learn more about the math behind geometric patterns. The original Spirograph toy was first rolled out in 1965, and you can learn more about the design from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s online collection. Be sure to check out the Spirograph Die-Cast Collector’s Set STEAM Kit to continue your curved drawing adventures at home.

Thinking about other circular things, we make quite a few projects with paper plates, including one of our favorite STEAM projects–a sundial. PBS Kids explains how sundials were used to tell time based on the sun’s shadow. This was way before smartphones and smartwatches! You can make your own sundial using a paper plate, a straw or stick, and a sundial template.

These are just a few ways we’re exploring circles this summer in the BOOMbox. We hope you try some of the activities with us in the BOOMbox or at home, or both! We also have fun books that explore circles. What will you learn today?