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An Intergenerational Sleepover: Bringing Together Music, Science, & Mystery

Updated: Oct 20

The Problem:

How can we encourage children and grandchildren to read when there is so much online media available? One solution: start with their interests and expand to books.


Explore a Solution

If the child is interested in science, adventure, and loves the film Jurassic Park and its sequals, or the Rite of Spring dinosaur section of Disney's film Fantasia, consider introducing the child to composer/author Karen LeFrak's book, Sleepover at the Museum, which debuted in concert form at Festival Napa Valley in 2019 and across the country.


Rationale

More and more authors, publishers, museums, and symphonies are video-recording concerts and providing curriculum guides for educators and parents/grandparents to create activities based on the story, and in LeFrak's case, the musical composition that accompanies the book.


Proceed

Start with a video of LeFrak's book and then read the book with a child.


Moving Forward

The Napa Film Festival also provides a Curriculum Guide to Sleepover at the Museum for pre-k through grade 5. The curriculum guide includes a scavenger hunt. We can orchestrate a dinosaur scavenger hunt for a party, camping trip, or sleepover (or find a sponsor for a museum sleepover, such as California Academy of Arts museum sleepover).


Overview

  • We started with a dinosaur film clip, that included animation and classical music, viewed a video of Karen LeFrak's book, Sleepover at the Museum, read the book (available at many public libraries), and adapted a scavenger hunt, sleepover or other activity, some of which we made up and others from the free curriculum guide to the book. The musical illustrations reference famous composers, such as Prokofiev, Saint-Saëns, and Mussorgsky.

  • Further explorations are endless; i.e., read other books about the composers, draw and identify different species of dinosaurs, and, of course, visit a museum (on-site or virtually) that features prehistoric dinosaur exhibits.

  • The Curriculum Guide to Sleepover at the Museum also includes making your own musical instrument and identifying instruments that were used in the orchestration of the story.


What about writing your own story and composing your own music to go with the story?


Is this project for children, or can we adults also write our own, or a collective community story? What about an elder and youngster together writing a story and composing music to go with the story? Who will illustrate it?


Find musical theme in "Sleepover at the Museum" that goes with each of the following rooms of the Museum of Natural History:

  • Earth and Space Room

  • Hall of Dinosaurs

  • Hall of African Mammals

  • Hall of Minerals

  • Hall of Biodiversity

  • Butterfly Pavilion

  • Hall of Ocean Life















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