Animals as Architects exhibit and activities at the Haakon County Public Library for January

This Philip Elementary student peers into a magnifying display to see some of the variety of animals that are nature’s architects.

Animals as Architects is a hands-on exhibit exploring science, literature and art. It is currently on display at the Haakon County Public Library until January 30.

The 15 activities, free for the Philip area public, would normally cost $500 for the library for a month's usage. A grant applied for by the library covers half of the charge, and the Friends of the Library has provided the other half.

Why do beavers build dams? Why do moles burrow underground? Different animals exhibit different behaviors and physical traits that help them adapt to their environment and survive as a species.

Animals are amazing architects. They burrow, weave, shape and sculpt. They create comfortable, secure homes out of the resources they find in their surroundings, guided by fine-tuned instincts developed over hundreds of years. Animals as Architects introduces visitors to these skilled craftsmen who work without blueprints, tape measures or T-squares.

The matching game - spin the blocks and match the animal with the materials they use to build their homes. Designed to teach students about the diversity of materials used by animals to build their structures.

Termite mound model - explore the insides of an African termite mound. A five foot model of an African termite mound with the face of the mound has been "eroded" so students can study the inside features.

Nesting like the birds - build your own human-sized bird nest. Visitors can build a nest with foam tubes and wooden base big enough to sit in.

Discovery blueprint tables - three tables feature different animals and their architectural skills.

Spider webs - create a spider web out of loops and pegs or do a crayon rubbing of a spider web to take home. This two-sided exhibit studies the design of spider webs and the different types of spiders that create them.

Floor puzzles - discover the underground structures of a prairie dog town. The pieces of the puzzle remove to reveal the underground structure and neighbors of prairie dogs.

The Hands-On Partnership for science, literature, and art in South Dakota is a project in which kids across the state have the chance to participate in hands-on activities. These activities are combined into a series of easy-to-assemble traveling exhibits that are touring around to different libraries across the state. Each exhibit has kits that feature educational activities that can be used for fun or in classroom-based activities.

Other similar exhibits are currently circulating through South Dakota. These include Light and Color, Bugs Eye View and Dick Termes' exhibit on termespheres. The Haakon County Public Library will be hosting some of these exhibits as the exhibits become available. Librarian Annie Brunskill said that the library website, http://haakoncountylibrary.wordpress.com/, provides information on future exhibits and happenings at the library.