Make-Believe Science: Kids’ Writing Workshop

On Saturday, we held a workshop called “Make-Believe Science,” inspired by two books:
Don’t Forget to Write: For the Elementary Grades” by 826 National (this was from my personal collection):

and “Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!” by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson (copies available at Pasadena Public Library):

I created a slideshow and structured the workshop around it:

First we did an activity from Don’t Forget to Write. We discussed briefly how chemistry is primarily equations and then made up silly equations of our own.

Then with the slideshow, I presented kids with facts I found in Two Truths and a Lie, and for each set of three weird factoids, kids were asked to identify the one that was fake. We held votes each time. The kids loved this activity and were shocked by the many unbelievable things that were actually true.

After one of those games about two real dinosaurs and one fake one, we made up our own dinosaur names:

Then we did a few more “Two Truths and a Lie” games and wrote stories about weird superpowers being caused by something quasi-believable.

For our last and main writing activity, we did our own “Two Truths and a Lie.” First the kids were shown a table full of fascinating nonfiction books about a wide range of topics:

They were asked to each choose one book, and then find two facts that were unbelievable. Then they had to write those down and write another fact completely made up from their imagination, and swap with someone so they could each guess which fact was fake!

I’m proud to say that the kids very eagerly chose the books they would study for this exercise and quickly found facts that would astound. Then they each swapped with a partner and tested the believability of their wacky facts!

There was so much laughter and fun during this program. Tons of learning too. Kids learned true facts about the world, learned about information literacy and how to research, and how to present something wildly untrue in a believable way. Their imaginations got to stretch beyond the realm of the ordinary. Not to mention they made friends and connected with other kids who love learning and writing. 🙂

AnnMarie Kolakowski

I'm a youth services librarian currently working at the Lamanda Park Branch Library while Central Library is closed for seismic repairs. I purchase juvenile fiction for grades 2-8, and some foreign languages. I do a lot of programs with school-age kids, including 3 regular book clubs (Windows and Mirrors, Read Around the World, and Lucha Libros), as well as writing workshops and STEAM/science programs. I also Infant/Toddler Storytimes and Preschool Storytimes, and outreach to local area preschools. I love what I do, working with kids of all ages to inspire them to learn and use their curiosity and imaginations. Outside of my work at the library, I am also the author of a book on creative writing activities for kids.

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