Beth Shalom Early Learning Center

Early Childhood Education

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Symphony Science

Hi -

In light of Wednesday’s field trip to the Symphony, this week in Science we learned some things about xylophones.

First we used a mallet to tap the bars on this instrument:

We thought it was a xylophone, but it didn’t sound ‘right.’

Why not? To find out, we compared it with a second instrument. (We knew the second one must be a real xylophone because it had all of the colors.)

After many suggestions, we decided that the bars were in the wrong order. How could we move the bars? It turned out that they were Velcro-ed to the frame, so it wasn’t difficult at all.

Once we rearranged the bars in size-order, the xylophone sounded much better.

Next, we took out another instrument.

It looked like a xylophone, but it wasn’t one. The word xylophone comes from ‘xylon’ = wood and ‘phone’ = a sound. Only instruments made out of wooden bars, like the first two we played, are true xylophones.

The third instrument is called a metallophone because it has metal bars.

Next came…a telephone?

No – it was another metallophone….

and then, another xylophone.

Once we had all of these instruments out, we noticed some things about them.

When we tapped the longest bar on the xylophone, we heard the lowest note and when we tapped the shortest bar, we heard the highest note.

We checked out this ‘Long is Low, Short is High’ rule on each instrument. It was always true, no matter what the instrument was made from…

even if it was made from wrenches!


We heard a low note when we struck the longest wrench and a high note when we struck the shortest wrench.

This year, at my house, we bought new lumber for our sukkah. That meant that I had a lot of old lumber sitting around just waiting to be made into a giant xylophone!

Everyone got a xylophone bar and we used two long pieces of wood to form the xylophone’s frame.

Next it was time to figure out where to place each bar. We needed to put all of the bars in size-order from big to small. We compared the bars, measuring them against each other one at a time, until we had them all in the right order.

When the xylophone was assembled, we tested it out.

It sounded pretty good!!

…and then the moment we had all been waiting for. It was finally time to play all of the instruments!


It was like the Symphony was right there in our classroom! :)

See you next week,

Morah Elaine

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Diaper Drive

diaper drive

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Triangle and Rectangle Science

Hi -

This week in Science we practiced identifying triangles and rectangles.

First, we remembered what a circle and a square looked like (from a few weeks ago).

Then we looked carefully at a triangle – it has three sides and this one is blue.

We tried making triangles with our fingers.

Then we looked carefully at a rectangle – it has four sides and this one is red.

We identified pictures of triangular

and rectangular items.

Then we explored a bin of triangular and rectangular objects.

Finally, we went on a shape hunt through the room to find triangles and rectangles.

Good job everyone!

Chag Sameach – see you next week,

Morah Elaine

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Two Upcoming PTO Events

Schiff flyerPizza in the Hut flier

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Shana Tova!

We Sang “Apples and Honey for Rosh Hashanah”


We Danced Like Bees!

1 2

There were lots of apples

image (90)

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And Red!

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We heard the shofar


Went to Soergels

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And of course baked…

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What a wonderful time learning about Rosh Hashanah! Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!

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The Science of Butterflies and Moths

Hi -

This week in Science, we compared and contrasted butterflies and moths.

First, we reviewed our caterpillar lesson from a few weeks ago. We picked out the two types we observed in class. (top left and bottom right)

Then we compared ourselves with an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.

For example, we each have two eyes, two legs, no wings, use our nose for smelling and our tongue for tasting.

A butterfly has two eyes, six legs, four wings, smells with its antennae and tastes with its feet.

I was the only one in the room that had ‘real’ antennas.

A butterfly also has a ‘proboscis’ – a sort of tongue / straw that it uses to drink nectar. The proboscis is curled up under the insect’s face:

Here’s mine:

Next we took a look at a Cecropia moth.

Again – two eyes, six legs, four wings, smells with its antennae and tastes with its feet.

…but the moth’s antennas don’t look at all like the butterfly’s.

How can we tell if a creature is a butterfly or a moth? We learned four differences between them.

(Note to email readers: There are hundreds of butterflies and thousands of moths in North America alone. The following distinctions are generally true, but many exceptions exist.)
1) Antennas

Butterfly antennas have balls at the ends.

We could see the balls on the ends of the Pearl Crescent’s antennas:

Moth antennas are feathery.

Check out thisCecropia moth’s antennas!

2) Day or Night

Butterflies generally fly during the day.

Moths generally fly at night.

3) Wings at rest

Butterflies rest with their wings held upright. We tried doing that. It’s not very comfortable.

Moths rest with their wings folded over their backs

or stretched out flat.

4) Chrysalis or cocoon

Moth and butterfly caterpillars both hatch out of eggs, and their life cycles are very similar with one exception.

Before a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, it forms a chrysalis. A moth spins a cocoon.

Note: The Very Hungry Caterpillar book:


as cute as it is, is wrong on this point. Butterflies do not come out of cocoons – so either the cocoon in the story should be a chrysalis or the beautiful butterfly is really a beautiful moth.

Finally, we got a chance to compare a real cocoon and chrysalis.

A few weeks ago we observed some Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars at school. They looked like this:

The cocoon we looked at todaywas made by a Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar.

A few weeks ago we also observed a Monarch butterfly caterpillar. It looked like this:

A week later, when it was much larger, it climbed up the side of the jar and formed a chrysalis. We got to see the chrysalis in class today.

I’m hoping that a butterfly will emerge sometime next week.

Before we finished class, we also took a look at an old chrysalis – this is what is left after the butterfly emerges:


See you next week,

Morah Elaine

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Sign-Up for Elul Meditation Emails


We are currently in the Hebrew month of Elul!
Elul is the Hebrew month that immediately precedes Rosh Hashanah (whose date is Tishrei 1, the beginning of the next month).
The month of Elul has traditionally been a time for spiritual preparation.  A time to begin thinking about the themes and issues we will address together at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.
If you would like to sign-up to receive the Elul Mediations, fill out the form below.  (If you are a member of the congregation you are already receiving the emails.) Rabbi Amy Levin will send you an “Elul Meditation” for each day of the coming month of Elul (except, of course, for Shabbat).  Some will be longer, some will be shorter.  Some will be more traditional, some may be a bit unexpected.
Rabbi Levin says, “I hope you’ll enjoy reading them and I hope they’ll help get your spiritual juices flowing before we even meet for our Days of Awe. “

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