STEM Tuesday

STEM Tuesday — STEM Activity Books– In the Classroom

It’s August and the countdown to school has started. For many students and teachers, going to school may look a little different this year. Some students may be learning in the classroom, while others learn at home. And some students may be doing a little bit of both. No matter where you’re learning, you can use these great books to spark a lasting interest in science and STEM.

The books we’re highlighting this month are all STEM activity books. They are a great starting point for different science activities and discussions in the classroom and at home.

Calling All Inventors!
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Do your students know about scientist and inventor Temple Grandin? In this book, kids can learn from a master inventor by reading her personal stories and trying a few of the book’s 25 hands-on projects. Throughout the book, Grandin shows readers what it’s like to see the world through an inventor’s eyes, questioning and testing how the world works. You could have kids do a few of these projects and then present their results, either in person or in a virtual classroom. You can even have students think like Grandin and come up with their own project or invention!

Want to learn a little be more about Temple Grandin? Take a look at this Colorado State University article about Temple Grandin’s life.

Let’s Build!

If you want your students or kids to learn about engineering – try this fantastic book:
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This book has activities to explore important principles of engineering, such as forces and motion; liquids and reactions; shapes and structures; and light and sound. You can explore gravity by building a working model of a tower crane. You can study the range of colors in light by building a spectroscope. Maybe assign a different project to small groups of students. Have them demonstrate their project to the class. How does it work? What engineering principle(s) does it show? How is this principle used by scientists in the real world?

Take a Walk Through the Jungle

For younger kids, Rainforests is a great activity book that teaches kids about tropical and temperate forests and how we can help preserve them.
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The book also has lots of information about the creatures of the rainforest. The book begins with several chapters about the layers of the rainforest – the forest floor, the understory, the canopy, and the top layer. Perhaps have each kid choose an animal or plant that lives in the rainforest and write a few sentences about it and how it survives in the rainforest.

Kids will learn about the rainforest in different parts of the world. Try some of the book’s activities such as creating a jungle journal in Africa or communicating with message sticks in the South Asian and Malaysian rainforest. Ask the kids: How are the rainforests in different parts of the world similar? How are they different? How can we work together to conserve and protect them?

Have fun with all of the hands-on STEM and science activities in these books! It’s a great way to bring science into your classroom – no matter where it is this year!

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Carla Mooney loves to explore the world around us and discover the details about how it works. An award-winning author of numerous nonfiction science books for kids and teens, she hopes to spark a healthy curiosity and love of science in today’s young people. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids, and dog. When not writing, she can often be spotted at a hockey rink for one of her kids’ games. Find her at http://www.carlamooney.com, on Facebook @carlamooneyauthor, or on Twitter @carlawrites.

STEM Tuesday — STEM Activity Books– Book List

Summer is still here and you might be running out of activities for the young people in your life. Whether you are looking for projects to tie-in with your homeschooling curriculum or just want a fun STEM project to pass the time on a hot summer day, these titles will inspire you.

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Darwin and Evolution for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities by Kristan Lawson

Try your hand at a Darwin-inspired activity with this book by Kristan Lawson. It’s a great title to pair-up with Deborah Heiligman’s Charles and Emma.

 

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Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities by Kerrie Logan Hollihan

Activities are a great way to learn the principles of physics. Read this one with a snack of apple slices.

 

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Awesome Snake Science! 40 Activities for Learning About Snakes by Cindy Blobaum

Snakes might seem threatening, but Blobaum has some activities that will introduce readers to these fascinating creatures. A great pairing for Kate Messner’s Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Rainforests and Deserts both by Nancy Castaldo

If the pandemic has changed your summer travel plans, discover some new places in the US and abroad with these two titles by Nancy Castaldo that include, STEM activities, folktales, and recipes.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Destroy This Book in the Name of Science by Mike Barfield

The Brainiac and Galileo editions of this series are meant to be literally pulled apart.

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Smithsonian: STEM Lab by Jack Challoner

Readers will find 25 activities to excite their imaginations. Great illustrations accompany each activity.

 

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Calling All Minds: How To Think and Create Like an Inventor by Temple Grandin

Learn from a master inventor through personal stories, acts, and inventions. Readers will come away inspired!

 

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Recycled Science: Bring Out Your Science Genius with Soda Bottles, Potato Chip Bags, and More Unexpected Stuff by Tammy Enz and Jodi Wheeler-Toppen

Readers see how to recycle stuff around their homes and then use it for science projects and experiments. Entertaining and informative.

 

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities and Thought Experiments by Jerome Pohlen

Learn all about one of the greatest inventors in history through text and 21 activities to try at home.

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Alexander Graham Bell for Kids: HIs Life and Inventions with 21 Activities by Mary Kay Carson

Your cell phone may be lightyears away from Bell’s first phone, but his invention changed our lives forever. Find out more and try the great activities in the book.

 

 

Extreme Garage Science for Kids! by James and Joanna Orgill

 

If you followed the author’s You Tube channel, you’ll love the activities and projects in this book. Readers can try their hand at drawing on water, removing the iron from their Cheerios, and even more.

 

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Everything You Need to Ace Chemistry in One Big Fat Notebook

The title says it all. Inside this book is what students need to rock that chemistry class.

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Also by Jennifer Swanson — Explore Forces and Motion! With 25 Great Projects and Bridges With 25 Science Projects for Kids 

Get ready for some hands-on physics with these two titles from Nomad’s Explore Your World series.

 

 

STEM Tuesday book lists prepared by

Nancy Castaldo has written books about our planet for over 20 years including, THE STORY OF SEEDS, which earned the Green Earth Book Award, Junior Library Guild Selection, and other honors. Nancy’s research has taken her all over the world from the Galapagos to Russia.  She strives to inform, inspire, and empower her readers. Nancy also serves as Regional Advisor Emeritus of the Eastern NY SCBWI region. Her 2018 multi-starred title is BACK FROM THE BRINK: Saving Animals from Extinction. Visit her at www.nancycastaldo.com. 

Patricia Newman writes middle-grade nonfiction that empowers young readers to act on behalf of the environment and their communities. The Sibert Honor author of Sea Otter Heroes, Newman has also received an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book Award for Eavesdropping on Elephants, a Green Earth Book Award for Plastic, Ahoy!, and a Eureka! Gold Medal from the California Reading Association for Zoo Scientists to the Rescue. Her books have received starred reviews, been honored as Junior Library Guild Selections, and included on Bank Street College’s Best Books lists. During author visits, she demonstrates how young readers can use writing to be the voice of change. Visit her at www.patriciamnewman.com. Stay tuned for her upcoming Planet Ocean – spring 2021.

 

STEM Tuesday — Pollinators — Interview with Author Rebecca Hirsch

Welcome to STEM Tuesday: Author Interview & Book Giveaway, a repeating feature for the fourth Tuesday of every month. Go Science-Tech-Engineering-Math!

Today we’re interviewing Rebecca Hirsch, author of WHERE HAVE ALL THE BEES GONE? Pollinators in Crisis. The book received a starred review from Booklist, saying Hirsch gives “a well-balanced and objective presentation” and that the book is “an important resource for all libraries.”

Mary Kay Carson: How’d you come to write Where Have All the Bees Gone?

Rebecca Hirsch: Around 2010 my children and I began volunteering at the Snetsinger Butterfly Garden, a big pollinator garden in my hometown in Pennsylvania. Our job was to plant and weed a small area. The Master Gardeners who ran the garden would come by and share with us an interesting flower or a plant that was really buzzing with bees. I noticed how excited they were about all the bees. Native bees were something I had not previously given much thought to. Once I started paying attention, I began to notice all the bees too, not only in the pollinator garden but also in my own backyard. Around the same time I began to see news stories about possible declines among native bees. Finally in 2017 I heard about the rusty-patched bumblebee becoming the first bee in the continental US to make the endangered species list. I took the plunge and pitched the idea to my editor of doing a book on bees, and got an enthusiastic thumbs up.

MKC: The book features such great interviews with bee scientists, experts, and others. Can you share a memorable research experience?

Rebecca: A favorite time was the day I spent with a group of high school students and their teacher at a local school. The students are slowly converting the lawns around their school into a series of pollinator gardens. Every year, a new group of students competes to design a new addition to the garden, then all the students help plant and tend the old and new parts of the garden. I visited on a day the students were outside working. These kids were sweating, getting dirty, and having fun. And they took such obvious pride in their garden. The school board has been so impressed, they keep funding new additions to the project. How can you be around something like that and not be inspired?

MKC: How would you describe the approach you took on this book—and why you chose it?

Rebecca E. Hirsch has published close to a hundred books for young readers, ranging from picture books for young children to nonfiction for teens. Her books have been NCTE Notable, Junior Library Guild, and the Children’s Book Committee/Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections. Learn more at www.rebeccahirsch.com

Rebecca: I wanted my readers to grasp the importance of the pollinator issue, the urgency of it, but I didn’t want the book to come across as too gloomy. I wrestled a lot with questions like, How do I make readers grasp the immensity of this issue? How do I inspire them to care? I studied techniques of persuasive writing and discovered there’s a whole toolkit of techniques that writers can use. I read other inspiring environmental books, especially Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. If you open my copy of Carson’s book you’ll see lots and lots of my notes about her writing techniques scribbled in the margins.

MKC: Do you choose to specifically write STEM books?

Rebecca: In college I majored in biochemistry and went on to earn a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin. After graduate school I spent a couple of years working as a postdoc in labs at UW and Penn State. I liked laboratory research well enough, but my favorite part of my job was doing scientific writing. I started writing science for children in 2008 when my own kids were devouring books on all sorts of topics. I was very impressed with the books they were reading, and I realized writing science books would be a way for me to use my scientific training and share my passion for science and nature with young readers.

Win a FREE copy of WHERE HAVE ALL THE BEES GONE?

Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment below. The randomly-chosen winner will be contacted via email and asked to provide a mailing address (within the U.S. only) to receive the book.

Good luck!

Your host is Mary Kay Carson, author of Wildlife Ranger Action Guide, The Tornado Scientist, Alexander Graham Bell for Kids, Mission to Pluto, and other nonfiction books for kids. @marykaycarson