February is Black History Month, so this month’s book features “Hidden Figures,” written by Margot Lee Shetterly. The inspiring story is about four black women who helped NASA launch men to space. They overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career. The picture book version was illustrated by Laura Freeman.
We are adding this book to our Chill Zone Library at reDiscover Center! Find this book during your next visit to read about them!
Let’s make something awesome!
In this activity, you will learn how to make a mobile inspired by the book using materials collected from your home or outside in your neighborhood. This is a simple but versatile activity to really liven up your project in honor of this amazing story.
STEP 1 - GATHER YOUR MATERIALS
- Something to draw/write with
- Tape, Liquid Glue, Glue Stick
- Hot Glue
- Hole Puncher
- Canary Cutter
Optional: Wire Snips
- Yarn or String-like material
- Wire or Pipecleaners
- A Plastic Bottle or Hanger
- Colored Paper
- Paperboard (e.g. cereal box), Mylar, Beads & other Decorative Materials.
STEP 2 - BRAINSTORM & SKETCH
Let’s talk about Mobiles!
What’s a Mobile?
Mobile is a hanging decoration that has cool items hanging from it to make it look like they’re floating! Some mobiles can even move or spin in the air like what you’d see hanging on top of a baby’s cradle.
Think back to the story and what you were inspired by or what you really liked about it. Use that inspiration to create your mobile project! Ask yourself the following questions to get you going.
Try to sketch and write all of your favorite ideas on paper so you can pick what you want on your mobile.
- Who were your favorite characters? Why are they your favorite?
- What did they do? What tools did they use?
- What kind of materials could you use to make your favorite character or things in the story? Like a rocket, stars, computers, etc.
- Do you want to include all parts of the story or just your favorite part on your mobile?
Sketches are guides for your projects but can move away from them as you’re building and that is okay!
For this project, I used ideas from my brainstorming! I drew important events and characters of the story to create a timeline of it! Almost like telling the story but through a hanging mobile!
STEP 3 - BASE OF YOUR MOBILE
Start with your base where you’ll hang your items from! That could be a plastic bottle or hanger.
- First, poke a hole with a pushpin, then a screwdriver into the bottle. This will allow you to make space for your scissors to fit into. Watch your hands!
- Now, use your scissors and insert them into the poked hole, and cut all the way around the bottle. Watch your hands!
- Take a hole puncher to punch holes in the bottle so you can tie your string through it later where your decorations will hang from.
- Find an unused hanger and make sure it has a hook.
- The hanger can have a closed triangular shape or it can be open. Use what you got!
- Later, you can use hot glue to stick down the string onto the hanger or tie the string around it.
STEP 6 - HOOK OR LOOP TO HANG YOUR MOBILE!
Explore different connections and lengths of string to get your mobile to hang balanced.
- You can make a loop from string and attach it to the neck of your plastic bottle with hot glue or tape. Like an ornament!
- Make a hook-like shape from a wire/pipe cleaner and wrap it around the neck of your plastic bottle.
A hanger has a hook already so you don’t have to add any loops or extra hooks!
STEP 4 - DECORATIONS FOR YOUR MOBILE!
Try to make 2D or 3D elements in your decorations that will hang with string from the base of your mobile.
Use ideas from your brainstorm. That could be your favorite character or part of the story like a spaceship going into space.
If you'd like you can also decorate your base as well, get super creative with it!
Make it colorful! Try to add colored paper/fabrics instead of paint for color so you can have interesting textures on your decorations.
STEP 5 - MEASURE YOUR STRING LENGTH & ATTACH TO DECORATIONS!
Measure how long you want your string to hang from the base of your mobile. Make sure to add in a bit more length if you are going to tie it around your hanger or bottle!
- Do you want all your decorations to hang at the same level?
- Can you use different lengths to show your most important or favorite decorations?
Punch a hole in your decorations to tie a string through or use hot glue to attach string to the back of your decorations. Try to consider how they will look while hanging.
- For example, if you want a spaceship to look like it's flying through space try punching a hole, tape, or glue on the side of the spaceship instead of the bottom or top.
Tip: If you are having trouble tying string you can use long wire/pipe cleaners and twist it closed to secure it onto your base.
HANG UP YOUR MASTERPIECE!
Make sure to hang it somewhere in the room or your home where it won’t disturb anyone!
- Hang it from a window or on your wall with a pushpin!
Your tinkerer might need help poking holes into materials and/or tying string. Use materials accessible to you and challenge yourselves to see what you can come up with!
Using hot glue and wire snips can be challenging and require lots of supervision and focus. Visit the Techniques tab in reDiscover Center's Pedagogy Resources page to access our Tiny Techniques videos and get tips for working safely and efficiently with tools.
Once you have finished your story-inspired mobile, share it with friends and family. If you want to share a picture on social media, make sure to tag @reDiscoverCtr so that we can experiment together!