Posts Tagged STEM Tuesday

STEM Tuesday — Reptiles — In the Classroom

I learned quite a bit about reptiles this month by reading the following books from the book list.

World’s Biggest Reptiles by Tom Jackson, illustrated by Vladimir Jevtic Support Independent Bookstores - Visit
Many different reptiles are represented in this book, representing the biggest of the species. It includes lots of information and fun facts, represented in fun, accessible ways. Each reptile featured has a graphic novel style page and a page with a large photograph and general information. Each also includes an infographic showing the animal’s size relative to an adult human. (One nitpick on the infographic is it’s not clear what size the human is.)

Sneed B Collard III’s Most Fun Book Ever About Lizards by Sneed B. Collard III Support Independent Bookstores - Visit
This book focuses on (surprise!) lizards. It highlights a few specific species, but is written to give more general information about lizards. It has chapters with titles like “Eating Like a Lizard” and “Lizard Troubles.” The tone is very conversational and fun to read, although some of the references may be a little dated.

Sea Turtles are Awesome by Mirella S. Miller Support Independent Bookstores - Visit
Since turtles are my favorite reptile, I had to read this book! Like all 12-Story Library books, this one has 12 chapters that can be read in any order. There are lots of great photos and fun facts about sea turtles throughout the book.


So what can you do with these books? Here are a few ideas I had…

Check Out the Locals

Research what reptiles you might see in your backyard or local park. Most states have websites with information about the reptiles (and other animals) that can be found there.

This can be a great exercise for entering search parameters into an internet search and evaluating the sources it recommends.

When I enter “New Jersey reptiles” into my search engine, the first four recommended sites are provided by the state of New Jersey, which includes the Division of Fish & Wildlife. Of these, one of my favorite sites is the “Online Field Guide for Reptiles and Amphibians.” Each NJ herp (reptile or amphibian) has a printable fact sheet.

To take this a step further, visit a local park where you might be able to view some of the local reptiles.

Bigger Than…

Each of the books I read talked about the size and speed of different reptiles. This could become a fun and informative activity.

Pick a reptile to do some comparisons on. How long is it? How heavy? How fast does it move? This could come from the books on this month’s list or from research done on local (or other) reptiles.

Once you have the information on your reptile, you need to find things for comparison. Here are some to try:

Bigger than a _____________________.

Smaller than a ____________________.

Faster than a _____________________.

Slower than a _____________________.

These will be based on a number that came from somewhere. That means it should include a source citation. Explore what makes a source credible and see if you can find multiple sources for each fact. You can also practice how to create a bibliography and/or source notes. 

Lots of zoos and aquariums have great resources for researching the animals they have there. Another great resource for animal information is the Animal Diversity Web, produced by the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology.

To explore representing information, create infographics that show the relative size and speed of the all the things used in the comparisons.

Participate in the Tour de Turtles

Since 2008, the Sea Turtle Conservancy has been running the Tour de Turtles. Through it, they hope to educate people about sea turtles, how they migrate, and what dangers they face. There is a page dedicated to Teacher Resources, and another for Activities. I love exploring the different turtles and where their travels have been taking them.

In addition to exploring the resources on this web site, you could hold your own Tour de Turtles or Tour de Reptiles. Organize a charity walk/run to raise money for a sea turtle organization like the Sea Turtle Conservancy or other organization that supports turtles and/or reptiles. (This could include organizations that protect lots of different wildlife, like the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ.) To add more education into this exercise, have each participant pick a type of turtle or reptile to research and represent.

Explore Turtle Symbolism

Years ago, we met Native American artist Eli Thomas and bought a print about Turtle Island. It still hangs on our wall, and I still think about the symbolism embedded in it. (You can see the print and read about the symbolism here:

Explore how indigenous people view turtles. Here are a few interesting resources.

The Native American Box Turtle Connection –

From Voices of Indian Country:

Read and explore Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back by Joseph Buchac and Jonathan London, illustrated by Thomas Locker Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

Then check out these additional resources:



I hope these ideas have inspired you to incorporate these books (and the subject of reptiles) into your plans.

Author Janet Slingerland on the London Eye.Janet Slingerland has written more than 20 nonfiction books for children. She even got to write about sea turtles in 12 Epic Animal Adventures. When she’s not writing, Janet can often be found exploring the world in her own backyard (which sometimes includes turtles!). For more information about Janet, check out her website at

STEM Tuesday — Reptiles — Book List

Have you ever found a snake in your garden? Watched a turtle cross the road? Met a dragon face-to-face? These books are all about the cold-blooded, scaly denizens of our planet, and how we can make our world a better place for them.

Ultimate Reptileopedia: The Most Complete Reptile Reference Ever by Christina Wilsdon

The first section introduces what reptiles are, adaptations, habitats, and conservation concerns. This is followed by sections with detailed information on a diversity of species: lizards and snakes; turtles and tortoises; and crocodilians. Each spread includes a photo, quick facts, and an encyclopedic entry about the featured reptile. Plus there’s a chat with a herpetologist at the end.



World’s Biggest Reptiles by Tom Jackson with illustrations by Vladimir Jevtic

How can animals grow so big – and why would they? This book takes a look at huge reptiles in the ocean and on land. There’s a fun mix of photos, textboxes, and graphic-style pages with speech bubbles as well as size comparisons to a human.




Unusual Life Cycles of Reptiles by Jaclyn Jaycox

Which reptiles are only female, which climb trees, and which ones take 18 months to hatch? These fascinating facts, as well as the lifecycles, lifespans, migrations, and reproduction of a range of reptiles are explored using a combination of full page photographs, side-bar fact nuggets, and helpful back matter.



One Iguana, Two Iguanas: A Story of Accident, Natural Selection, and Evolution by Sneed B. Collard III

A great introduction to the marine iguana and land iguana that live in the Galapagos Islands. This book covers the formation of the islands and how iguanas arrived (by accident!). It shows how the Galapagos shaped the evolution of other species as well.


Sneed B. Collard III’s Most Fun Book Ever About Lizards  by Sneed B. Collard III

Lizards are the least understood but most common reptile on our planet. This book introduces a diversity of lizards, how they eat and keep from being eaten, and other adaptations. There’s a section on threats to lizards and conservation efforts.


Komodo Dragons: Deadly Hunting Reptiles by Rebecca Hirsch

Fun exploration of the traits, habits, and habitats of a Komodo Dragon, through the use of a compare and contrast evaluation of other unusual, amazing reptiles. Although the Rhinoceros Iguana, Mexican Mole Lizard, Yellow-Bellied Sea Snakes, and Burmese Pythons share some individual aspects, the Komodo Dragon is a unique, big, venomous reptile. The book includes conservation efforts, a trait chart, and expanded learning resources.



DK Everything You Need to Know About Snakes and Other Scaly Reptiles by John Woodward

After a quick definition and a family tree, this book jumps right into snakes. We see the insides of snakes and a detailed skeleton, learn all about how fangs work, what venom is, and how it works. An interactive component is added by turning the book.


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

A good introduction to finding snakes, as well as their anatomy, how they eat, how they move, and adaptations. Lots of fun “snake science” sidebars sprinkled throughout. Activities include experiments and art projects that are simple, engaging, and safe for kids.



Sea Turtles are Awesome by Mirella S. Miller

A concise overview of sea turtles, their adaptations to underwater life, where they live, what they eat, threats facing them, and what you can do to help save sea turtles. Throughout the book are sidebars highlighting a number. It might be how many hours it takes to dig a nest, with a bullet-list of details about how to dig one, or the number of eyelids a sea turtle has.


Turtles & Tortoises: An In-depth Look at Chelonians, the Shelled Reptiles That Have Existed Since the Time of Dinosaurs by Taylor, Barbara

Full of stunning photographs and detailed diagrams, this book delves into the features and movement, life cycles and survival, habitats and history of familiar and strange chelonians. In addition to six detailed “Focus On” sections (one on the Galapagos Tortoise), it offers fascinating nuggets from the literature, mythology, and art surrounding turtles, tortoises, and terrapins.


Alligators and Crocodiles!: Strange and Wonderful by Laurence Pringle and illustrated by Meryl Henderson.

This book opens with an up-close-and-personal encounter with an alligator and its hatchlings. From there we are introduced to the diversity of crocodilians, and how they are alike and different. There’s info on conservation issues, too.


Bringing Back the American Alligator by Cynthia O’Brien

The American alligator was endangered at one time, but conservation efforts helped the population recover. This book shows how legislation and action by federal and state agencies helped protect the alligator. The increasing number of gators is helping restore the ecosystem as well. Includes information about what people can do to keep wetland habitats healthy for all species.



This month’s book list prepared by:


Sue Heavenrich is a blogger, author and, as a kid, adopted a horned lizard (aka: horny toad) and curated a collection of snake skulls on a hidden shelf in the back of the garage. When not writing, you’ll find her counting pollinators in the garden or tromping through the woods. Visit her at


Maria Marshall is a children’s author, blogger, and poet passionate about making nature and reading fun for children. She’s been a judge for the Cybils Awards from 2017 to present. Her poems are published in The Best Of Today’s Little Ditty 2017-2018, 2016, and 2014-2015 anthologies. When not writing, critiquing, or reading, she bird watches, travels the world, bakes, and hikes. Visit her at

Back to School with STEM Tuesday!

Hello Amazing teachers, homeschoolers, and parents. We at STEM Tuesday wish you all a wonderful 2021-2022 school year! We want to remind you that we have  FOUR YEARS full of STEM/STEAM resources in our “vault”. And it’s all SEARCHABLE!

All you have to do is to go to the TOP of this page, and click on the STEM Tuesday button. That will take you to a page like the one below. Then just click on the SEARCH by TOPIC button and you’ll see all of the great topics we’ve covered for the last four years.

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You’ll find BOOK LISTS

In the Classroom –> tips for how to use these books in the classroom

Writing Tips and Resources –>  Literacy and STEM connections

Interviews with real authors and giveaways of new books (giveaway only available in current month)

We hope you find these resources helpful and useful in your classrooms, whether they be in-person or virtual.


You can also find STEM Tuesday as a PODCAST through Reading With Your Kids   HERE

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Our amazing team even did a bunch of blog posts for  MG Book Village called STEM Tuesday SPIN OFF! Find those HERE


As you can see, the awesome STEM Tuesday Team LOVES all things STEM/STEAM! As you are planning your author visits this year, please consider checking out our profiles. We all have great presentations that will ENGAGE, EXCITE, and INSPIRE your students.

 You can find information about all of us and our websites HERE 


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Wishing you all an AMAZING STEM-FILLED year!


— The STEM Tuesday Team