From the monthly archives:

February 2011

Cool After School: Hieroglyphs

by Vicky on February 15, 2011

Our Cool After School class on January 26 focused on hieroglypic writing.  Inspired by Sean Callery’s Code Quest: Hieroglyphs, I printed out a hieroglyphic alphabet and additional hieroglyphs from the book.

My friend, Nadia, who was there with her two sons, had studied ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, and she brought some of her books to show the kids.  She also showed them how to write the cursive hieratic script!

The kids created their own cartouches.

And, with the help of the hieroglypic font from the CD included with the Code Quest book, I was able to type out their names on my laptop.

We noted slight differences between the hieroglyphic alphabet on their handout, the hieratic alphabet Nadia had shown them, and the hieroglyphic font on my laptop.

Then they made fantastic canopic jars!


Zoom Upstream

by Vicky on February 15, 2011

On January 21, Page Presents featured Zoom Upstream, by Tim Wynne-Jones and illustrated by Eric Beddows.

I projected images from the book as I read the story (with additional commentary provided by my puppet, Zoom!).

In the final book of the Zoom Trilogy, Zoom finds himself in an Egyptian tomb witnessing mysterious ceremonies conducted among cat mummies and monumental cat statuary.

Accompanied by his magical friend, Maria, he is hot on the trail of his elusive Uncle Roy.

Inspired by Eric Beddows’ marvelous illustrations, and, of course, by our magnificent cat, Vanessa, I designed a cat-headed canopic jar.

The base was a yogurt container spray-painted with a matte sand color and spritzed with a sandy texture.  The lid was a cone cut from a file folder with a separate cat face (cut from the same file folder) attached.

I printed some Egyptian designs in color and included some gold wrapping paper for additional embellishment.

The results were spectacular!


Cool After School: Optical Illusions

by Vicky on February 15, 2011

Our Cool After School program on January 19 featured optical illusions from the fabulous book, Eye-Popping Optical Illusions, by Michael DiSpezio.

We made phenakistoscopes, and experimented with creating our own animations.

A phenokistoscope is an early animation device invented in 1832 by the Belgian physicist, Joseph Plateau.

It consists of a spinning disk and a mirror. The disk is slotted and has images on the side facing the mirror.

Looking through the slots at images reflected in the mirror as the disk spins gives the effect of moving pictures.  For some cool examples, check out the Teach Animation site!

We also made a monster with eyes that seemed to follow your every move. Note the matching fangs on this pair!

Younger kids had trouble focusing through the slots on the images reflected in the mirror, and could not see the animation.

But everyone could see the illusion of the monster’s moving eyes (which were on a separate piece of paper attached in such a way that the eyes on the loop of paper were viewed through the eye openings on the face of the monster).