Art with Abby – Design a Dream House Part 4

Welcome to “Art with Abby!”

Join our friend Abby Hirsch Reish for a series of art projects that can be conducted right from your very own home! The final lesson for designing your dream house is all about furnishings. In this session, you’ll get to be an expert craftsperson! Watch the video below.


For more information about Abby and her work, visit

Funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities grant.

Art with Abby – Design a Dream House Part 3

Welcome to “Art with Abby!”

Join our friend Abby Hirsch Reish for a series of art projects that can be conducted right from your very own home! The third lesson for designing your dream house is all about decorating. We’ll get to play the role of interior designer, making the space beautiful and functional! Watch the video below.


For more information about Abby and her work, visit

Funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities grant.

Discovery at Home: Earth Day – Plarn

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Take a look around your home, and look for things that are made of plastic, glass, or cloth. When those objects are all used up and thrown away, what do you think happens to them? Unfortunately, most of these materials end up in dumps or landfills, where they take up extra space and can be harmful to the environment.

April 22, 2020, is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! This day serves as a great reminder that it is especially important that we think of our impact on the environment. In 1970, Governor Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin organized the first Earth Day. Nelson wanted to inspire people from all over the United States to learn more about the environment and to take action to help keep nature clean. The first Earth Day was a massive success, as the event attracted 20 million people nationwide. The theme for this year’s Earth Day is Climate Action, which challenges everyone to act upon the risks climate change will have on our planet.

We can help our environment by following the three R’s: Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse. Recycling is taking objects such as used soda cans or plastic bottles, and making entirely new objects.

We can also help our environment by reducing the amount of waste we use. By reducing the amount we use, we can cut down the demand of making products and also reduce the amount of trash we make in our homes.

Finally, we can reuse objects in our own home to make different objects. How many plastic bags are in your home right now? If you have a lot, those bags can be repurposed into something really cool: Plarn! Plarn is a type of yarn made from plastic. While you can’t make a cozy sweater out of plarn, you can make other cool crafts like mats and bags!

1) Flatten a plastic bag by the seams and smooth out and wrinkles that are in the bag.

2) Fold the bag from side to side (the handles will still be on top), and then fold this way once more.

3) Using scissors, cut off the top part where the handles are, as well as the bottom.

4) From here, you can cut one inch wide strips from side to side. If done correctly, you should have several loops of plastic bags.

5)The next step is to connect the loops. Take two loops, pull one end of the second loop through the first loop from underneath, then pull through the second loop. This should tie the two loops together.

Repeat these steps until you have the amount of plarn you want, then you can crochet it like regular yarn! Try using bags of different colors to make beautiful designs! If you would like to learn how to crochet, go to

Reusing materials such as plastic is a fun and creative way to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills. What other Earth Day crafts can you think of that reuse things in your house?

Additional sources:

Echa vistazo en su casa y busca por cosas estén de plástico, vidrio, o tela. Cuando esos objetos se usan y se tiran, ¿què crees que les pasa? Desafortunadamente, la mayoría de estos materiales terminan en vertederos, donde ocupa espacio adicional y puede ser perjudicial para el medioambiente.

Es especialmente importante este mes que pensemos de nuestro impacto en el medioambiente porque el miércoles 22 de abril de 2020 es el cincuenta aniversario del Dìa de la Tierra. En 1970, el gobernador Gaylord Nelson de Wisconsin organizò el primer Dìa de la Tierra. Nelson querìa inspirar a personas de toda los Estados Unidos a aprender màs sobre el medioambiente y a tomar medidas para ayudar a mantener la naturaleza limpia. El primer Dìa de la Tierra fue un èxito masivo, ya que el evento atrajo 20 millones personas. El tema por la Dìa de la Tierra este año es Acciòn por clima, que desafía todos a actuar sobre los riesgos que tendrà el cambio climático en nuestra planeta.

Podemos ayudar nuestra medioambiente por él siguiendo los tres R’s: Reducir, Reciclar, y Reutilizar. El reciclaje es utilizar objetos cosas como las latas de refrescos usadas o botellas de plástico para hacer objetos completamente nuevos.

Este banco hecho de tapas de botellas recicladas.

También podemos ayudar a nuestro medioambiente por reduciendo la cantidad de residuos que usamos. Al reducir la cantidad que usamos, podemos reducir la demanda de los productos y también reducir la cantidad de la basura hacemos un nuestras hogares.

El uso de botellas de agua de metal rellenables como estas puede ayudarnos a reducir la cantidad de botellas de agua de plástico que necesitamos.

Finalmente, podemos reutilizar objetos en nuestra propia casa para hacer objetos diferentes. ¿Cuàntas bolsas de plásticos hay en su casa ahora? Si tienes mucho, esas bolsas pueden reutilizar en algo muy genial: ¡Plarn!. Plarn es un tipo de hilo que es de plástico. Mientras que no puede hacer un suéter acogedor de plarn, ¡puede hacer otras artesanías interesantes como esteras y bolsas!

1) Aplane una bolsa plástico por la costuras y alise las arrugas que haya en la bolsa.

2) Dobla la bolsa de lado a lado (Las asas estaràn en la parte superior), y dobla una vez más.

3) Con tijeras, corte las asas y el fondo.

4) De aquì, corta tiras de una pulgada de ancho de lado a lado. Si se hace correctamente, debes tener varios lazos de las bolsas plasticos.

5) La próxima medida es conectar los lazos. Tome dos lazos, tire de un extremo del segundo lazo a través del primer bucle desde abajo, el tirón a través del segundo lazo. Esto debe unir los dos bucles.

Repita estas medidas hasta que tenga la cantidad de plarn que desea,¡Entonces puedes hacer el ganchillo! ¡Intenta a usar las bolsas de colores diferentes para hacer diseños hermosos! Si quieres a aprender a hacer el ganchillo:

¡Una alfombra de plarn es un trabajo genial que puedes hacer con tus materiales!

La reutilizaciòn de materiales como plástico es una forma divertida y creativa de reducir la cantidad de residuos que se destinan a los vertederos. ¿Què otras artesanías del Dìa de la tierra puedes pensar en que reutilizar las cosas en tu casa?

Additional sources:

Discovery at Home: Art with Abby – Design a Dream House Part 2

Welcome to “Art with Abby!”

Join our friend Abby Hirsch Reish for a series of art projects that can be conducted right from your very own home! The second lesson for designing your dream house is all about construction. We’ll use recyclables, bits of fabric, and other small treasures. Come learn new skills and have fun making your dream house! Watch the video below.


For more information about Abby and her work, visit

Funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities grant.

Discovery at Home: Hummingbirds

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It’s Hummingbird Time!

It is time for us to welcome the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds to Tennessee and invite them to stay all summer long. Hummingbirds are starting to fly into and through Tennessee now, so it is the perfect time to attract them. Then get ready to observe their spectacular behaviors!

Watch the video below to see a hummingbird build its nest and, about halfway through, the birth and development of its young. Although filmed over several weeks, it is compressed to 10 minutes. Don’t miss seeing the young hummingbirds at the end! Filmed by Ray McConnell.

Make a Hummingbird Feeder: Be creative and use household materials! For example, use plastic water or half-and-half bottles poked into plastic food container lids to hold the nectar. Be sure to hole punch or poke small holes into the corners of the red lids so the hummingbird can get to the nectar. Hang with string, wire or a bent clothes hanger.

Make Some Nectar: Mix 1 part (¼ cup refined white sugar – important not to substitute! *) and 4 parts (1 cup boiling water). Mix until the sugar is dissolved. Cool and pour into feeder. Await hummingbirds. *Plain white table sugar is sucrose, which, when mixed with water, very closely mimics the chemical composition of natural nectar.

Be A Scientist:
1. Observe what flowers are in your yard, local park, or playground. Which ones attract birds? Bees? Butterflies?
2. Want to report sightings to scientists? See below.

3. As you watch the hummingbirds, notice:
• How do they interact with other hummingbirds – do they seem to get along or are they territorial?
• What can you notice about how they move around? Are they able to change directions quickly? Hover? Can they fly upside down? Backwards?
• Do they perch to drink? Drink while flying? Can you see how they drink?
• What sounds do they make?

Fun Facts for Ruby-Throated Hummingbird:
• Hummingbirds are unsociable. They can often be seen chasing away other hummingbirds in order to protect their ‘food source’.
• Male and female hummingbirds do not bond after mating. The female is left to care for eggs and chicks alone.
• Hummingbirds are one of the few groups of birds that are known to go into torpor – a very deep, sleep-like state when all of their body functions slow down for a night to conserve energy – like a short hibernation.
• A ruby-throated hummingbird’s heart beats from 225 times per minute when at rest and at more than 1,200 times per minute when flying.

Hummingbirds are arriving now. They fly from Mexico or northern Central America – about 500 miles nonstop! If you want them to visit you, now is the time to put out feeders! There are almost 340 different species of Hummingbirds, but only one, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, actually breeds in the eastern USA, including here in Tennessee.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird has a long thin bill and an iridescent (shimmery) green back. Both the male and female are white underneath. The male has a brilliant iridescent red gorget (throat) that can sometimes look black or red. Hummingbird babies can be seen between June and September, and look more the like the adult female. By the end of the summer, the juvenile males often develop a few red feathers in the gorget. They have itsy-bitsy nests that you need to look out for when trimming bushes! The open-cup nests are about the size of a large walnut and built out of white puffy seeds of dandelion or thistle, held together with spider web silk and covered with lichen. A few other species of hummingbird can be found in Tennessee later in the summer, but are here only to winter, not breed.

Learn more about:
• Nests:
• Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds in TN:
• Tracking Migration:
• Free App to Report Sightings & Help Track:

¡Es hora del colibrí!

Es la hora de dar a la bienvenida al colibrí garganta rubí a Tennessee y invitarlos a quedar todo el verano. Los colibríes están empezando a volar en y a través de Tennessee ahora, por lo que es el momento perfecto para atraerlos. Prepara a observar sus comportamientos espectaculares!

Haz un alimentador del colibrí: Sé creativo y usa materiales domésticos! Por ejemplo, use botellas de plástico empujadas en las tapas de los recipientes de plástico para sujetar el néctar. Asegúrese de perforar el punzón o hacer pequeños agujeros en las esquinas de los párpados rojos para que el colibrí pueda llegar al néctar. Cuelgue con cuerda, alambre o una percha de ropa doblada.

Haz el néctar: Mezcla 1 pieza (¼ la taza de azúcar blanco refinado – ¡No sustituyas!*) y 4 piezas (1 la taza de agua hirviendo). Mezcla hasta el azúcar se disuelva. Enfriar y verter en el alimentador. Espera los colibríes. * Azucar blanco es la sacarosa, que tiene un composición química parecido a néctar natural.

Sé un científico:
1. Observa las flores en tu jardín, tu parque local, o tu patio de recreo. ¿Cuáles atraen los pájaros? ¿Las abejas? ¿Las mariposas?
2. ¿Quieres reportar los avistamientos a los científicos? Véase más adelante.

3. Mientras observas a los colibríes, fíjate
¿Cómo interactúan con otros colibríes: parecen llevarse bien o son territoriales?
¿Qué puedes notar sobre cómo se mueven? ¿Son capaces de cambiar de dirección rápidamente? ¿Suspender? ¿Pueden volar boca abajo? ¿Hacia atrás?
¿Se posan para beber? ¿Beber mientras vuelas? ¿Puedes ver cómo beben?
¿Qué sonidos hacen?

Datos curiosos sobre el Colibrí Garganta Rubí:
Los colibríes no son sociables. A menudo se les puede ver persiguiendo a otros colibríes con el fin de proteger su “fuente de alimento”.
Los colibríes macho y hembra no se unen después del apareamiento. La hembra es dejada a cuidar de los huevos y los polluelos solos.
Los colibríes son uno de los pocos grupos de aves que se sabe que entran en torpor – un estado muy profundo, similar al sueño cuando todas sus funciones corporales se ralentizan durante una noche para conservar energía – como una hibernación corta.
El corazón de un colibrí de garganta rubí late de 225 veces por minuto cuando está en reposo y a más de 1.200 veces por minuto cuando vuela.

Los colibríes están llegando ahora. Vuelan desde Mexico o el norte de Centroamérica – ¡unas 500 millas sin escalas! Si quieres que te visitan, ¡ahora es el momento a poner los alimentadores! Hay casi 340 especies diferentes de los colibríes, pero solo una, el colibrí garganta rubí, en realidad se reproduce en el este de los Estados Unidos, incluso aquí en Tennessee.

El colibrí garganta rubí tiene un pico largo y fino y una espalda verde iridiscente (brillante). Tanto el hombre y la hembra son blancos en sus estómagos. El hombre tiene una brillante garganta roja iridiscente que a veces parece negra o roja. Los bebés de colibríes se ven entre los meses de junio y septiembres y se parecen más a la hembra adulta. Para el final del verano, los hombres juveniles a menudo se desarrollan algunas plumas rojas en su garganta. ¡Tienen nidos pequiñitos que necesitas estar atenta a cuando recortas los arbustos! Los nidos abiertos son del tamaño de una nogal grande y construido sin semillas blancas hinchadas de diente de León o cardo, sostenidas junto con la telaraña y cubiertos de líquenes. Algunos otros especies de los colibríes se pueden encontrar en Tennessee más tarde en el verano, pero están aquí sólo para el invierno, no la raza.

Aprende más sobre:
El colibrí garganta rubí en TN:
La migración:
Free App to Report Sightings & Help Track:

Discovery at Home: Box Turtles

Meet our box turtles!

Tre is our three-toed box turtle, and Bud is our eastern box turtle. They are both land turtles; they do not swim in the water. They are called “box turtles” because they can close their shells like a box.

These turtles can live for a very long time – up to 100 years! Box turtles are very smart and can make a mental map of where to find food, water and shelter in the wild.

Discovery at Home: Art with Abby – Design a Dream House Part 1

We’re adding a new series to our Discovery at Home video resources: “Art with Abby!”

Join our friend Abby Hirsch Reish for a series of art projects that can be conducted right from your very own home!

The first lesson is “Design a Dream House.” We’ll use recyclables, bits of fabric, and other small treasures. Come learn new skills and have fun making your dream house! Watch the video below.


For more information about Abby and her work, visit

Funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and Arts Build Communities grant.

Discovery at Home: Discover Your Yard

Do you know what an explorer is? Can you think of any examples of an explorer? When we think about explorers, we most often think about people who travel the world and get curious about new people, places, things, and ideas. Explorers often have a mission in mind, and set out on an adventure to complete their mission. You can be an explorer where you live! Invite your grown up to join you on an exploration of an outside space near you – your backyard or lot nearest your home, and have fun exploring!

Activity 1: Imagine You’re a Tourist & Dress Up

Your first mission in exploring the space surrounding where you live is simple: Imagine you are a tourist! A tourist is someone who visits a place because they are curious about it. Put on a homemade explorer’s outfit, and go out into your yard or community with the hope of finding something new or exciting. What can you find in your home to wear?

Activity 2: Create & Add to Your Explorer’s Log

Grab a piece of paper or a notebook and create your very own Explorer’s Log. This is where you will keep a record of everything you discover during your backyard adventure.

  • Decorate it to give your Explorer’s Log its own personality.
  • Write down everything you notice around you! What do you see out there?
  • After you’ve explored every nook and cranny of the space, sit down to examine what you have recorded in your Explorer’s Log. What makes you curious?
  • Add your questions and curiosities to your Explorer’s Log.

Activity 3: Adventure On

Explorers don’t stop after they collect questions; they adventure onward to identify answers! For example:

  1. Did you wonder about the design of the space? Maybe you saw a fence, and you are wondering how someone builds a fence. What do you notice about the fence’s construction? What shapes are used? How does it stay in place? Can you design and build your own small fence with simple materials at home, like legos, blocks, or rocks outside?
  2. Maybe you saw small wildflowers. How might you figure out what kind they are? What can you design with those? Maybe you can use the flowers to decorate your Explorer’s Log. Can you make jewelry with the flowers, like making a flower chain necklace?
  3. A successful explorer always asks questions – and that might include talking with others. Are you still looking for answers to some of your adventure curiosities? Interview someone older than you who might be able to share new and exciting things about the history and science of the space you explored. Record this in your Explorer’s Log.
  4. You have been such a stellar explorer! What have you learned? Invite family members to take a tour of the space or share your Log. What can you show them? Dress up and take them on a new adventure! Are there things they wonder about that surprise you?

Activity 4: Adventure On with Play

One of the most powerful ways to learn and explore is to PLAY! Try out some new ways to play in your yard space. Write down what you learn through your play in your Explorer’s Log. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Skygaze – Lie on the grass, or ask your grown up for a blanket to put down. Look up at the sky. What do you notice? Is it blue? Is the sun bright? Is it cloudy? Do you see shapes in the clouds? Write down your observations and your curiosities in your Explorer’s Log.
  • Go on a color walk – Write down all the colors of the rainbow in your Explorer’s Log. Talk a slow walk around your backyard, and make notes each time you see one of the ROYGBIV colors! What color do you see the most in your yard? Are there any colors missing? Can you find the full rainbow of colors?
  • Build a fort – Create your own Explorer’s Station by building your own fort! What materials can you find? Will you use only materials you find outside, or will you go back inside to get some materials?
  • Build a fairy house – There are legends that say that FAIRIES live in nature! What if fairies lived in your yard? Create a house for them!
  • Make art with found materials – What materials can you collect from your yard space? Unleash your inner artist and create your own masterpiece with found materials. What art will you create?

Discovery at Home: Water Turtles

Meet our water turtles!

Here are some water turtle facts:

– The many species of water turtle can be recognized by webbed feet and flat shells.
– These physical traits are adaptations to help turtles live and move in the water.
– As cold-blooded reptiles, water turtles must find warmth from external sources, such as the sun or a heat lamp.
– There are many types of water turtles at Discovery Center, such as red-eared sliders and river cooters.
– Similar species of turtle can be found in the Murfree Spring wetlands.

Discovery at Home: Exploring Animals Around Us

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What can you notice about the animals around you?

Have you ever watched animals closely? By noticing what is the same and different between animals, you can learn about them. Like a scientist, you and your grown-up partner can write down what you notice about animals. This is called making observations.

What to do:

  • Find an animal with your partner. Remember that bugs, birds, and your pets are all animals.

  • Sit and watch the animal. How many legs does the animal have? What is covering the animal’s body? What is it doing?

  • People are animals too! Compare the animal you observed to your partner.

Two things that are the same about the animal and my partner are…

Two things that are different about the animal and my partner are…

We call the things animals do their behavior. Did your animal have any behaviors similar to your partner’s?

Other things that we noticed about the animal we found…


El descubrimiento en la casa: Explorar Los Animales En El Mundo

Qué notas sobre los animales que ves?

¿Alguna vez has observado muy atentamente a los animales? Los científicos notan las similitudes y diferencias entre los animales y de esa manera aprenden sobre ellos. Al igual que los científicos, tú y tu compañero(a) pueden observar cosas sobre los animales y anotar lo que observaron. A esto se le conoce como “hacer observaciones”.

Qué hacer:

  • Sal con tu compañero y encuentra un animal. Recuerda que los insectos y pájaros también son animales. Si no puedes encontrar un animalito afuera, puedes usar tu mascota, ¡si tienes una!

  • Siéntate y observa al animalito. Anota lo que observes sobre su cuerpo. Por ejemplo, ¿cuántas patas tiene?¿Que cubre su cuerpo?

  • ¡Una persona también es un animale! Compara el animal que observaste con tu compañero(a).

Al observar al animal nos dimos cuenta que…

Dos cosas similares entre el animal que encontramos y una persona son…

Dos cosas diferentes entre el animal que encontramos y una persona son…

A las cosas que hacen los animales les llamamos “comportamiento”. ¿Demostró tu animalito algún comportamiento parecido al tuyo?

¿Qué otra cosa observaste sobre el animal que encontraste?