Hello from Miss Amy in the STEAM Room!

Hello St. Thomas’ Families!

Happy Spring Break to all of you! The warm sun is shining, the earth is greening and I hope this email finds you and your family “nesting” well. It was such fun last week to read a book together and I love one of the book titles I shared with you so much I thought I’d read it in a video for you this week. Here is the link! Do you know where I am sitting while I am reading this to you?

I’ve been thinking about the amazing and beautiful birds that live in the nests we explored last week. Every morning when I wake up and take my four-legged friends for a walk, I hear the voices of so many birds all around me. I’ve started to recognize some of their songs. In this week’s story, you’ll hear, in human words, how the birds’ songs sound to the author. Some are so silly! Have you heard the orange-breasted robin singing “cheerily cheer up! My tree makes syrup! Syrup so sweet! ? I wonder if you could make up your own song you’d sing at sunrise or in the evening…and if you put it into words, what those words would say? (This makes much more sense after you read the story with me!)

On my walks and in my yard I’ve had the wonderful luck of finding several beautiful feathers from the birds in my area.  Here are some of them…

Do they look the same?  Do some look different?  Did you know that you can tell just by looking at a feather where it came from on a bird’s body?

Most of these feathers came from the outer parts, the wings of a bird.  They are stiff and offer support for flight.  The big fluffy feather was from under the outer wings and is soft and wide to catch air close to the bird’s body and traps heat to keep the bird warm when it’s chilly.  All the bird’s feathers together are called “plumage.”  If you love birds as much as I do, maybe you’d like to take a look at Cornell University’s Bird Academy website.  You can find it at academy.allaboutbirds.org.  There is much to take in here…if you’d just like to take a quick peek about feathers geared for young people, go right to academy.allaboutbirds.org/features/all-about-feathers/.

Some of you have met my most favorite feathered friend, Elvira.  She came to school last spring for a visit and you fed her delicious chicken treats…dried mealworms!  Many of you thought they looked like Rice Krispies.  Just this week she made something to show you because she misses you…

Do you know which one she made for you?  Hint: It’s the color of the sky on a perfectly sunny day.  Her breed of chicken, called an Araucana is known for their lovely blue eggs.  Blue eggs?  Well, just the outer shell is blue.  When you crack it open, it looks very similar to other eggs.  She also has puffy feathers that jut out from under her cheeks that make her look like she has a mustache and beard!

Are you ready for an Egg-cellent trick?  Here is Mr. Chris, my husband, showing you one of his many talents.  Please note, he is using a metal pie plate for this trick!  It will take flight.  A small metal pizza pan, round metal cake pan or bottom of a spring form pan will work as a substitute. “Wing it” and give it a try!

Speaking of eggs, maybe you would like to color some eggs at home.  Some of you may hard boil them before you do.

Can you tell which eggs are hard boiled and which are raw, or uncooked?  It can be tricky…. try spinning them on a table.  Do you see one move differently or more smoothly than the other?  I wonder why? Did you guess which one was which?   Did you know that eggs can breathe?  It’s true!  A egg has thousands (that is a BIG number) of pores in its outer shell just like you have in your skin.  If you gently put a raw egg in a glass of water and watch for a few minutes, you should begin to see little air bubbles forming on the shell.  This process helps developing chicks (in eggs that are fertilized) clean the air inside their shell!   And, if you happen to put a raw egg that has gone bad into a glass of water it would not sink to the bottom …. it would float on top!  A rotten egg for sure.

Here are some ideas to color your eggs at home with food or other natural things you may have on hand: (if you color on the egg first with a white or light crayon, you can make a pattern that the dye will resist.)

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Per cup of water use the following:

  • 1 cup chopped purple cabbage = blue on white eggs, green on brown eggs
  • 1 cup red onion skins = lavender or red eggs
  • 1 cup yellow onion skins = orange on white eggs, rusty red on brown eggs
  • 1 cup shredded beets = pink on white eggs, maroon on brown eggs
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric = yellow eggs
  • 1 bag Red Zinger tea = lavender eggs

Add one tablespoon white vinegar to every cup of strained dye liquid.

For every dozen eggs, plan on using at least four cups of dye liquid.

Vinegar, hot water and food coloring works wonders too.

In a very small glass, mix one cup of very hot water with several drops of food coloring and one tsp of vinegar.  Hold the egg gently under the water with a toothpick until you are happy with the color.  Feel free to add a few extra drops of color if needed.  Allow to dry on a cookie rack.   If you’d like to try marbleizing them, make another small glass of a darker color than your original one and add one tbsp of olive oil to create swirls and bubbles on top of the colored water.  Gently place your dry colored egg in this glass and swirl and roll the egg. Remove it when you like your marbled pattern and dry again on a cookie rack.  Lots of conversation starters here about why oil and water do not mix, blending color, shades of lighter and darker.

If you would like to make decorative eggs another way that builds strong hands for little people, try cutting out egg shapes in various sizes from cardboard cereal or pasta boxes or paper plates.  Using a small piece of aluminum foil, wrap the egg in foil and lightly brush with glue.  Decorate with small pieces of colored paper, magazine paper, fabric, ribbon, yarn or buttons…let your creativity run wild!  You could do one with all nature items.  String them together to make a banner, or use a short ring cut from a paper towel roll as a stand to display on your family table.



Wishing you peace and a lovely holiday with friends and family as we all find new and inventive ways to celebrate together.

Xoxo,  Miss Amy