AMOS & CELIA HEILICHER MINNEAPOLIS JEWISH DAY SCHOOL

Rosh Chodesh STEAM Activities

Monday, January 27 is the start of the new Jewish month of Sh’vat. Rosh Hodesh, which literally translated means “head of the month,” marks the beginning of each new Hebrew month. Like the secular calendar, the Hebrew calendar has 12 months; however, in a leap year an entire extra month is added leading to a 13 month year. The Jewish calendar follows the moon, so each new month is marked by the beginning of a new moon cycle or a new lunar month. Because the Hebrew calendar is linked to the moon, like all Jewish holidays, Rosh Hodesh begins at nightfall. 

In honor of the moon, here are a few STEAM activities you can do with your children at home. 

  • Each night for 30 days, the length of a lunar month, go outside with your child at bedtime to look for the moon. Have your child draw a picture of what the moon looks like each night to allow them to illustrate their own cycle of the moon. 
     
  • Using straws, index cards, 1 paper cup, and tape, have your child build a moon lander. Once they have built it, put two mini-marshmallows in the cup to act as astronauts. Drop the lander from different heights to see if the astronauts will stay in the moon lander. If it doesn’t work, have your child think about ways to tweak their design to get all the astronauts to remain in the lander from varying heights. From Vivify Stem
     
  • Fizzing Moon Rocks from Little Bins for Little Hands

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The Passing of A Year, The Crossing of A Sea

Isn’t it ironic that we celebrate our hurried exodus from Egypt, one in which we did not even have time to let bread dough rise, with a meal that is so full of preparation and organization it is literally called “order”? The seder plate is even laid out from chazeret (lettuce) to charoset (fruit and nut mixture), helping to ensure the order of the meal is followed and no mitzvah is passed over. We scour the house in advance of the holiday, searching for chametz (forbidden foods), and we arrange to sell the rest, as a way to ensure there is none remaining in our possession at sundown on the first night of Pesach. It is remarkable that we remain so devoted to the detailed preparation of a holiday designed to mark when we went from bondage to freedom without time for even the simplest food preparation.