STEM Tuesday

STEM Tuesday– CSI – Forensic Science and Anthropology- In the Classroom

This month we’re investigating forensics and the science of crime scene investigation. Today, investigators rely on science to tell the story of a crime. High-tech cameras snap detailed crime scene pictures. Microscopes allow scientists to examine and identify the tiniest pieces of evidence. Understanding DNA and blood typing has created ways to tie a suspect to a crime scene without an eyewitness. Today, no one needs to catch a criminal in the act in order to solve a crime. The tools and techniques of science allow investigators to track down a criminal long after he or she has left the crime scene.

The books we’re highlighting this month show how science is used in crime scene investigations to find out what happened at a crime scene. They are a great starting point for different science activities and discussions in the classroom. Here are a few to try:

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Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA by Bridget Heos
Crime scene investigation is not new; early detectives discovered ways to test for poisons, and conducted autopsies to determine cause of death. Over the years, crime-solving tools have become more sophisticated as technology improves. This book examines evidence from prints to ballistics, blood spatter to DNA and more.
• Make a timeline of the evolution of forensics and crime scene investigation.
• Discuss how changes in forensic science have changed the way investigators solve crimes today. Have students research a famous unsolved crime from the past (such as the Zodiac killings, the Whitechapel murders, or the Marilyn Sheppard murder) and discuss how modern forensic methods might have made a difference in solving these crimes.

 

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Fingerprints : Dead People Do Tell Tales by Chana Stiefel
Fingerprints are unique identifiers. Not even identical twins have the same fingerprints. This book explains the techniques scientists use to collect fingerprints and to identify criminals, and contains stories about how fingerprints helped solve real crimes.
• Have students examine their own fingerprints and find the marks and patterns that make them unique. Ask them to figure out how many of each type of fingerprint pattern they have among all 10 of their fingers. Have them compare their results with classmates.
• Have students try to lift fingerprints from a clear, hard surface. Have them sprinkle cocoa powder over the surface and gently brush. Next, have students place a piece of clear tape on the fingerprint and gently peel the tape off to lift the print. They can also experiment lifting fingerprints using different surfaces and powders.
• Have students attempt to match fingerprints taken from their classmates. Have them look for the patterns and characteristics that make each fingerprint unique.

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Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker
Forensic scientists use their knowledge of human remains to help solve mysteries of remains found in colonial-era graves near Jamestown, Virginia. Using science, they help recreate the lives of a ship’s captain, an enslaved African girl, and more.
• Ask students to discuss what it means to be a forensic anthropologist. How does the job of a forensic anthropologist differ from that of a crime scene investigator?
• Often forensic anthropologists do not have an intact body or skeleton to examine. Instead, they build a picture of the victim with on a few bones as clues. Have students research how forensic anthropologists use the humerus bone (upper arm) and the tibia bone (inner leg) to predict the victim’s height. Have them test the correlation between height and bones by taking measurements from their classmates. Have them create a formula to predict the height from the length of a tibia or humerus bone. Then have students test their formula with measurements from another group of volunteers.
• What have forensic anthropologists added to our knowledge of the past? Have students choose and research a famous forensic anthropologist. Ask students to pair up and discuss how two different forensic anthropologists added to our knowledge of the past.

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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– CSI – Forensic Science and Anthropology- Book List

 

This month we uncover clues into the science of Crime Scene Investigation. Forensics is the science of finding evidence and analyzing it for clues. Evidence can be anything: blood spatters, carpet fibers, insects, pollen, powders, fingerprints, and footprints. Each piece of evidence reveals something about what happened at the scene of the crime – even if the crime happened hundreds of years ago.

Crime scene investigation:

Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA by Bridget Heos (YA)

Crime scene investigation is not new; early detectives discovered ways to test for poisons, and conducted autopsies to determine cause of death. Over the years, crime-solving tools have become more sophisticated as technology improves. This book examines evidence from prints to ballistics, blood spatter to DNA and more.

Fingerprints : dead people do tell tales by Chana Stiefel.

Fingerprints are unique identifiers. Not even identical twins have the same fingerprints. This book explains the techniques scientists use to collect fingerprints and to identify criminals, and contains stories about how fingerprints helped solve real crimes.

 

Forensics: Uncover the Science and Technology of Crime Scene Investigation by Carla Mooney

This book introduces the science of crime scene investigation, with chapters about fingerprints, blood evidence, bones, and bodies. Sidebars highlight forensic careers, and there are plenty of hands-on activities for kids to try on their own.

Forensic Identification: Putting a Name and Face on Death by Elizabeth Murray

Forensic anthropologist, Dr. Elizabeth Murray takes readers into morgues and labs where scientists use technology to determine the identities of remains. Filled with case files and a diversity of techniques including facial reconstruction, dental records, X-rays, and DNA testing.

Ancient Cold Cases:

Bone Detective: The Story Of Forensic Anthropologist Diane France by Lorraine Jean Hopping

Meet forensic anthropologist Diane France as she lugs a two-gallon bucket containing a brain …without letting it slosh around. Any other day she might be examining skeletal remains of past royalty or Civil War soldiers, or be called to the site of a disaster to help identify victims. Side bars, photos, and diagrams explain science concepts.

Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker

Forensic scientists use their knowledge of human remains to help solve mysteries of remains found in colonial-era graves near Jamestown, Virginia. Using science, they help recreate the lives of a ship’s captain, an enslaved African girl, and more.

 

Two books about the Kennewick Man:

  Mysterious Bones: The Story of Kennewick Man by Katherine Kirkpatrick and Their Skeletons Speak: Kennewick Man and the Paleoamerican World by Sally M. Walker and Douglas W. Owsley

In July of 1996, two young men accidentally uncovered a skeleton along a bank of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington. Was this an unsolved murder or the remnants of a settler’s or Native American’s unmarked grave? Scientists determined that the bones were more than 9,000 years old – transforming our understanding of how humans colonized North America.

 

Channel your Inner Detective:

CSI Expert!: Forensic Science for Kids by Karen Schulz

This book contains 25 hands-on forensic science activities, including fingerprinting, blood-stain identification, chemical analysis, ballistics, and fiber identification. Each activity is set up as a lab.

 

Crime Scene Detective Arson: Using Science and Critical Thinking to Solve Crimes by Karen Schulz

This book includes everything teachers (or mystery dinner hosts) need to set up a mock crime scene based on arson. There are suspects to interview, forensic lab tests, and a section on forensic science careers.

Carson-Dellosa Forensic Investigations Resource Book by Schyrlet Cameron, Janie Doss, & Suzanne Myers

This book contains ten cases for students to solve, including forgery, theft, and vandalism. Each case (unit) highlights specific skill-based activities, such as handwriting analysis. Labs challenge students to apply the skills they learned to solve the crime.

 

One-Hour Mysteries, Private Eye School: More One-Hour Mysteries, and More One-Hour Mysteries by Mary Ann Carr

A series of fun classroom mysteries for 4th and 5th graders. Each book provides five mysteries that challenge students to apply their skills of deductive reasoning, inferring, taking notes, organizing data, and analyzing evidence to solve the case.

 

 

STEM Tuesday book list prepared by:

Sue Heavenrich writes about science for children and their families, from space to backyard ecology. Bees, flies, squirrel behavior—things she observes in her neighborhood and around her home—inspire her writing. A long line of ants marching across the kitchen counter generated one of her first articles for kids. When not writing, you can find her committing acts of science from counting native pollinators to monitoring water quality of the local watershed. Her most recent book is Diet for a Changing Climate (2018).

 

Maria is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. She’s been a Cybils Award judge since 2017 and a judge for the #50PreciousWords competition since its inception. Two of her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty 2016 and 2014-2015 anthologies. When not writing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. Visit her at www.mariacmarshall.com

 

Happy 2nd Anniversary STEM Tuesday! Celebrating with Librarian Extraordinaire Betsy Bird

Hello STEM Tuesday enthusiasts!

Can you believe we’ve been doing this blog for TWO YEARS now? YAY! We are all so excited to have this opportunity to highlight the BEST in STEM/STEAM titles for middle grade and YA books.

What better way to celebrate our blog than to have an interview with the awesome librarian who inspired me to start this whole blog in the first place, Betsy Bird.

 

Elizabeth (Betsy) Bird is a children’s librarian at the Evanston Public Library in Illinois. In 2006 she started  A Fuse #8 Production, which was picked up by School Library Journal in 2008, where it is housed today. She currently reviews for The New York Times, Kirkus, as well as on her own blog. She has also written articles for School Library Journal and Horn Book Magazine. Along with her sister, Kate, they run a weekly podcast about books. You can listen to it  on Soundcloud. 

 

The story goes, Betsy wrote a post in her Fuse 8 blog in 2016 which gave suggestions for how to build a “perfect nonfiction blog”. Here is the link. After reading it, I was like – YES! This is what I want to create for STEM/STEAM books… and STEM Tuesday was born.

 

To celebrate our wonderful two years, I asked  Betsy a few questions about STEM/STEAM books and nonfiction:

What do you look for in a great STEM/STEAM book?

The first thing I ask is — Is it fun?   Books about STEM/STEAM should be FUN for readers. Topic is also important. It must be interesting and intriguing. The best way for this is for the writer to use a unique approach to the topic.  The writing should show the passion of the author for the subject, ie. be engaging and exciting to draw the reader in. Design is also key. I look at books to see if they have too many words, or if the book has a fun approach to illustrations. Above all, the book must be accurate! That means no fake dialogue and a works cited section so that readers can look up the sources used.

One of my favorite books  is  The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman which has no fake dialogue but is great and such a compelling read.

 

What types of STEM/STEAM books do you see your readers looking for? 

Librarians typically prefer narrative books, but I see a lot of young readers who prefer expository STEM/STEAM books. They seem to gravitate towards the facts and trivia in these type of books. Kids love to learn something new and then repeat the facts to their friends.

 

Any topics for STEM/STEAM books that you don’t see but wish were out there?

Absolutely. It may seem strange, but I would love a book on Mexican wrestlers.  Math books are also greatly in need! It can be a nonfiction book about math, or even a fiction book with a normal kid who likes math.  More STEM/STEAM picture books for the really young.  But pretty much any new STEM/STEAM book that fits into the category of what I look for above is welcome.

Any STEM/STEAM activities that you do with your patrons? 

I am not involved in the programming of these activities, but here at the Evanston Library we do have a Summer STEM camp that is partnered with the local school district. The idea is to focus on robotics and coding to focus on encouraging girls and students of all backgrounds to get interested in STEM classes and possibly careers for the future.

Finally, can you name three of your favorite STEM/STEAM books?

Wait, Rest, Pause by Marcie Flinchum Atkins  (Millbrook Press)

The text in this book is great for both lower and upper readers. It’s just tons of fun!

 

Creepy and True: Mummies Exposed by  Kerrie Logan Hollihan (Abrams BFYR)

Every mummy you ever wanted in one complete, mildly horrific, place!

Follow Your Stuff: Who Makes It, Where Does It Come From, How Does It Get to You? by Kevin Sylvester (Annick Press)

It examines five different things you have with you and breaks down where it came from, how much it cost to make, etc. Really great stuff here!

 

Thanks so much for joining us today, Betsy. STEM Tuesday is thrilled to have you. Look for Betsy in her new podcast about picture books coming soon! And don’t forget to check out her book The Great Santa Stake Out illustrated by Dan Santat

 

BUT WAIT, THERE’s MORE!

Don’t forget about our 2nd annual CoSTEM Contest! There is still time to enter! As a reminder, here are the details:

Contest Rules:

  • This contest is open to all school-aged students, ages 5 and up.
  • Submit a jpeg of yourself or  your class dressed as your favorite STEM book.
  • Be sure to let us know the title and the author of the book.
  • The book must be for readers ages 8 and up.
  • All submissions are due by midnight EST November 8th, 2019. (no exceptions!) 
  • Submissions MUST come from an adult who will grants us permission to post this image on the Mixed Up Files website.
  • All images will be judged by the STEM Tuesday team. We will be looking for creativity, subject (how close you are to the theme of the book), and authentic (how exact is the STEM theme displayed)
  • Winners will be posted on the STEM Tuesday blog on November 14th, 2019.
  • Send your images to the following email:  stemmuf@gmail.com

!!!!!PRIZES!!!!

1st Place —  Receives 5 autographed STEM Books + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card

2nd Place — Receives 3 autographed STEM Books + $15 Barnes & Noble Gift card

3rd Place—   Receives 2 autographed STEM Books +$10 Barnes & Noble Gift card

 

 

Pick out your book and pull together your costume now. We can’t wait to see all your entries. Thanks for celebrating TWO WHOLE YEARS of STEM Tuesday posts with us. GO STEM!

 

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Jennifer Swanson is the creator and administrator of STEM Tuesday. She dreams of one day running away to the Museum of Science and Industry- then maybe she could look at all the exhibits and try out all the gadgets without competing for them with her kids. An author of thirty-five nonfiction science books for kids, Jennifer’s goal is to show kids that Science Rocks! She lives in sunny Florida with her husband, three kids and two dogs. When not writing she’s on the hunt for fun science facts.