Posts Tagged children’s bookstores

STEM Tuesday — Fungi — Book List

Fungi are all around us – in the yard, clinging to branches and tree trunks, and sometimes in the back of the fridge. Scientists are discovering new fungi every year … it’s a mushrooming field.

Funky Fungi: 30 Activities for Exploring Molds, Mushrooms, Lichens, and More by Alisha Gabriel and Sue Heavenrich

The engaging narrative, which masterfully incorporates the science of mycology, is brimming with cool facts (like making shoes from fungi) and tons of fun STEAM activities and experiments – beginning with the creation of a “FUNgus” journal. It’s intriguing sidebars, stunning photographs, illustrations, and graphs, and scientist highlights make this a fun read with something for everyone kid and adult alike.

It’s a Fungus Among Us: The Good, the Bad & the Downright Scary by Carla Billups & Dawn Cusick

Fungi come in so many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are good: they’re a food source for wildlife, they help clean up pollution, and trees depend on them to share water and food with others. We even eat fungi and use some as medicine. Other fungi cause food rot and disease. And some turn animals into zombies!

Forest Talk: How Trees Communicate by Melissa Koch

Trees share more than water and nutrients. They share information through an underground network made up of fungi. It’s called the Wood Wide Web for good reason; it’s as complex as our internet. Aimed at older readers.

The Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel

Light-hearted, with comic illustrations, this book will charm readers into clamoring for a nature walk to find mushrooms. The author introduces two essential rules of mushroom-looking (protect their environment and don’t eat them!) and introduces major mushroom players.

Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum by Ester Gaya, illustrated by Katie Scott

A stunning, oversized book organized like a museum guide with “galleries” on fungal biology (reproduction and spores), diversity, interactions (Mycorrhizas and termites), and their relationship with humans (pathogens, edible, and pharmaceutical). In addition to engaging facts, vividly detailed images, there are three gorgeous ecosystem illustrations featuring the connection and interactions of fungous within mountains, temperate forests, and tropical forests.

Humongous Fungus: The Weird and Wonderful Kingdom of Fungi by Lynne Boddy, illustrated by Wenjia Tang

Like most DK books, this is a feast for visual learners and those who love pages full of factoids. It examines the life cycle of numerous fungus (mushrooms, lichen, mold, moss), their effect and relationship to nature and humans (both beneficial and harmful), and even fungus wars.

Fungi: Colorful Clean-Up Crews (Tell Me More! Science) by Ruth Owen

A quick introduction to fungi for curious kids at a second-grade reading level. From fungus basics to their job cleaning up dead stuff, and how they contribute to the ecosystem

The Book of Fungi: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from around the World by Roberts, Peter and Shelley Evans

Perfect for browsing, this book is as advertised: filled with life-sized photos of mushrooms, plus descriptions and range maps. Written for adults, but a treasure for kids who love to peruse field guides – if you can find it at your library.

Every now and then we come across a picture book perfect for the 8-10 crowd. This month we found two.

Mushroom Rain by Laura K. Zimmerman

From what they smell like to who eats them, this is a fun introduction to the diverse and sometimes bizarre world of mushrooms. Older readers will enjoy the information at the back, including how mushrooms can cause rain.

Rotten Pumpkin by David Schwartz

This book shows how fungi help decompose a pumpkin after it’s happy life as a jack-o-lantern. Great photos of fuzzy mold.

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This month’s STEM Tuesday book list was prepared by:

Sue Heavenrich, author

Sue Heavenrich, who writes about science for children and their families on topics ranging from space to backyard ecology. Bees, flies, squirrel behavior—things she observes in her neighborhood and around her home—inspire her writing. Visit her at  www.sueheavenrich.com

Maria Marshall, a children’s author, blogger, and poet who is passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she watches birds, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. Visit her at www.mariacmarshall.com

STEM Tuesday –Community Science – In the Classroom

This month’s theme is something that is near and dear to my heart – Community Science (also known as Citizen Science). I’ve participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count (among others) for years. The books I read that inspired this month’s activity suggestions are:

Book Cover for Bat Citizens, showing a bat flying toward the reader.Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night
by Rob Laidlaw

This book is devoted just one type of animal – bats. It highlights many different young scientists and what they are doing to help these amazing creatures.

 

Book cover for Citizen Scientists. Shows a ladybug on a leaf, a red-bellied woodpecker, a hand holding a frog, and a monarch butterfly.Citizen Scientists: Be A Part of Scientific Discovery From Your Own Backyard
by Loree Griffin Burns and Ellen Harasimowicz

This book covers a citizen/community science project for each season – Fall butterflying, Winter birding, Spring frogging, and Summer ladybugging.

 

Turquoise book cover reading "The Outdoor Scientist"The Outdoor Scientist: The Wonder of Observing the Natural World
by Temple Grandin

The Outdoor Scientist is part memoir, part field guide, and contains lots of different activities and mini-bios of inspiring scientists. Opportunities to take part in citizen science projects are sprinkled throughout. They include several projects I hadn’t heard of before.

 

Book cover for 12 Epic Animal Adventures shows monkeys bathing in a hot spring.12 Epic Animal Adventures
by Janet Slingerland

I wrote this book, which means I read it MANY times. Each chapter highlights a different location around the world where people can have an interesting animal experience. The 5th chapter shows visitors participating in a leatherback sea turtle nest count.

 

Find a Project and Join In!

Of course, the first thing I’m inspired to do after reading these books is to participate in a community science project. There are a multitude to choose from.

Most of the better-known community science projects are related to the natural world. But there are lots of other projects out there. Here are a few web sites where you can see or search for a variety of efforts you can participate in.

SciStarter (https://scistarter.org) lets you search for projects that are online or in person near you. You can also search by topic, age range, or goal. This site most likely has links to all the projects listed in the books.

NASA has a page dedicated to citizen science projects. Some of these are literally out of this world (sorry, couldn’t resist). Here’s the link: https://science.nasa.gov/citizenscience

National Geographic has a page where you can look through a list of projects geared for grades 3-12+. The web site is: https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/citizen-science-projects.

Keep an eye open for new opportunities. I recently saw a notice put out by NJ Fish & Wildlife about a turkey brood survey. Each year, they ask for help estimating the number of turkey families throughout NJ. (The link to the survey is on the NJ Fish & Wildlife home page: https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw – look for the orange “Wild Turkey Alert”.)

I also saw a notice about a firefly survey. We see fireflies in our backyard, so I was really interested to see what that was all about. It’s run by Mass Audubon, but anyone in North America can participate. https://www.massaudubon.org/get-involved/community-science/firefly-watch

Report on a Project

Each of the books presents community science projects in different ways. After participating in a project, report on it.

You could choose to imitate one of these methods or explore different ways of communicating what you did and what you learned. You could practice interview and journalism techniques by reporting on a community scientist’s experiences. You could present your project participating as a photo-essay. You could put together a podcast episode or video segment.

The opportunities for this are endless.

Citizen vs. Community

You might notice that some people refer to community-supported science efforts as citizen science while others call it community science. A few organizations have explained why they’re making the switch, like here: https://debspark.audubon.org/news/why-were-changing-citizen-science-community-science and here: https://www.re-sources.org/2020/10/community-science-citizen-science.

This is a great opportunity to talk about citizenship, community, and the power of words. I recently had a very interesting conversation with my son on these topics. What I find especially interesting is that we each have different ideas about what it means to be a citizen.

Some things to ponder:

What do you think of when you hear citizenship? Community? What are your feelings around these words?

Look the words up in the dictionary. Do they mean what you think they mean?

Does citizen science imply something different than community science?

As citizens of Earth, do we (or should we) have some responsibility to engage in community science?


Janet smiling while holding a butterflyJanet Slingerland is the author of over 20 books for young readers, including 12 Epic Animal Adventures. For more activities related to this book, check out this page on Janet’s web site: http://janetsbooks.com/my-books/animals.

STEM Tuesday — Women Who Changed Science — In the Classroom

Most people have learned about famous scientists such as Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, and Sir Isaac Newton. But what do you know about Emma Lilian Todd, Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler, Mae Jemison, and Grace Hopper? These incredible women in science have been pioneers in their fields and inspire future generations of women in science, technology, engineering, and math. This month’s STEM Tuesday theme is Women in Science. Here are a few activities to help students learn more about these extraordinary scientists.

Create a Living Museum

Make history come alive in the classroom with a living museum. Start by having students read through these books and choose a scientist to research. They can work individually or in pairs or small groups.

Science Superstars: 30 Brilliant Women Who Changed the World by Jennifer Calvert, illustrated by Octavia Jackson

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgExploring the spark of curiosity and the joy these women found in science, as they each persevered despite any barriers – even wars, this book presents factually & visually interesting entries of many well-known women scientists, as well as Ynés Méxia (Botanist), Janaki Ammal (Botanist/Cytology), Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (Chemistry), Jane Cooke Wright (Oncology), and Sau Lan Wu (Particle Physics). It’s an excellent book for encouraging students to think about the many possible science careers and pursue their own interests.

Changing the Equation: 50+ US Black Women in STEM by Tonya Bolden

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgFrom early trailblazers to the present, these stories highlight black women who have made contributions as surgeons, inventors, mechanics, forensic scientists, engineers, physicists, geneticists, architects and more. Each of three sections put the women’s contributions into the context of U.S. history. This is a book that could inspire a girl to think “maybe that’s something I can do!”

 

101 Awesome Women Who Transformed Science by Claire Philip, illustrated by Isabel Muñoz

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgA great resource for any STEM-girl, this compendium highlights women’s scientific and technical achievements from 2700 BCE to the present. Short biographies introduce women in math, botany, physics – even astrophysics. There are women in paleontology, engineering, computer science, and my favorite, entomology. Readers also meet women inventors and astronauts. Four spreads focus on women in astronomy, medicine, computing, and chemistry.

 

Black Women in Science by Kimberly Brown Pellum

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgAuthored by a Black woman of science (Dr. Pellum is a veterinarian), this book invites girls to explore the possibilities of STEM careers. She presents 15 biographies, beginning with Rebecca Lee Crumpler, a medical doctor at the end of the Civil War, and showcases black women in aviation, nutrition, computers, rocket science, genetics, and forensic science. Hands-on activities at end of each chapter.

 

Hidden No More: African American Women in STEM Careers by Caroline Kennon

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgAttempting to counter the continued stereotyping of black women in STEM careers, this book traces the accomplishments of female African American scientists and inventors through the 19th and 20th centuries – from Bessie Coleman to Mae Jemison, Marie Daly to Joan Owens, Rebecca Crumpler to Alexa Canady, Ruth Howard to Jeanne Spurlock, and Bessie Griffin to Valerie Thomas. It includes source notes and additional resources.

 

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgWomen have been studying and practicing medicine, science, and math since before recorded history. We cannot afford to ignore the brain power of half the population, says the author, and she highlights contributions from women in STEM fields. There are timelines and a great sidebar on statistics, using graphs and pie charts to show the percent of women in STEM fields. Also, a fun spread showing a variety of lab tools.

Activity

Once students have selected their scientists, have them research and learn about them. When did they live? What was their life like? How did they get interested in science? What contributions did they make to science? What challenges or obstacles did they face, and how did they overcome them? Students can prepare a short presentation about their scientist for museum visitors using this information. Encourage them to be creative in their presentation. They might want to dress up as their scientist and/or use props and prepare a speech or skit. They might choose to prepare a PowerPoint, short video, or slideshow to help visitors learn about the scientists. When ready, invite another class or parents to visit the living museum and learn about women in science.

STEM Careers Today

More women than ever before are studying STEM subjects and working in STEM careers. Have students look through these books and identify some exciting STEM careers.

No Boundaries: 25 Women Explorers and Scientists Share Adventures, Inspiration, and Advice by Gabby Salazar and Clare Fieseler

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgAn engaging look at women around the globe on the frontlines of ecology, archeology, conservation, citizen science, astronomy, mountaineering, photography, vulcanology, bioengineering, and many more areas of science and exploration. Each biography contains “must-have” and “inspiration” sidebars, stunning photographs and diagrams, as well as a fun activity or additional scientific information.

 

Gutsy Girls Go for Science: Engineers – With Stem Projects for Kids by Diane C. Taylor

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgEngineering is a huge part of our everyday life. The buildings we live and work in, the computers and phones we use – even the dishes we eat from – were designed by engineers. This book contains biographies of five gutsy girl engineers: Ellen Swallow Richards, an environmental engineer; Emily Roebling, chief engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge; Catherine Gleason, mechanical engineer; Lillian Moller Gilbreth, and industrial engineer; and Mary Jackson, an aerospace engineer. There are plenty of text-boxes, short bios of other engineering women, and hands-on “field assignments” at the end of each chapter. Other books in the series include Paleontologists, Programmers, and Astronauts.

Technology : Cool Women Who Code by Andi Diehn, illustrated by Lena Chandhok

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThis is one of ten books in the “Girls in Science” series. It begins with an introduction to technology, and how it has evolved from wheels and steam engines to current tech. Each of three chapters focuses on a woman in technology: Grace Hopper (math, science, computers); Shaundra Bryant Daily (coding, technology & movement); and Jean Yang (computer science and programming languages). Text boxes highlight cool careers in technology, sidebars provide short biographies of six more women in technology, and there are plenty of “try-it’s” and questions sprinkled throughout. Also in the series: books about women in Astronomy, Engineering, Forensics, Marine Biology, Aviation, Archaeology, ZoologyMeteorology, and Architecture.

Activity

Ask students: “Where do you see yourself in STEM?” Have them think about what types of STEM jobs and careers interest them. Then, they can identify a STEM career that they find most interesting and learn more about it. An excellent place to learn about careers is the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. What does a typical day look like for someone in this career? What responsibilities do they have? What type of education do they have? Where do they work? What are some similar jobs? Have students prepare a short presentation about what they have learned and share it with the class.

Hopefully, these activities and resources will get your students excited to learn more about women in STEM!

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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.