STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


Animals, Animals

Worlds BestToday I’m focusing on animal books. Here’s a couple that just popped into my reading basket:

The World’s Best Noses, Ears, and Eyes
by Helen Rundgren; illus. by Ingela P. Arrhenius
32 pages; ages 6-10
Holiday House, 2014

“Ears are for hearing, eyes are for seeing, and noses collect smells.” But what are we trying to see? Or hear? And what is that stinky smell?

This book offers a fun look at the diversity of noses: long noses, short noses, funny looking noses. There are hedgehog noses and moth noses, elephant noses and shark noses and the very dazzling nose of the star-nosed mole. There are lizard ears and bunny ears, cricket ears and funny ears. We look at the biggest eyes and eyes on stalks, eyes that see at night and eyes that see hundreds of images at once. And then there’s us. Humans. We’re pretty average when it comes to eyes and noses and ears. Is there anything we do better than other animals?

Animals Work
by Ted Lewin
24 pages; ages 4-8
Holiday House, 2014

This easy-reader makes good on the title’s promise. Each page features an animal at work. The text is simple subject/verb construction: “A dog herds. A horse carries.” The illustrations show an animal doing its work, from herding sheep (dog) and lifting tree trunks (elephant) to mowing the lawn (sheep) and protecting the herd (llamas). Lewin includes the important work of a companion animal, too. At the back is a map showing where the featured animals live.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for some beyond-the-book activities and one more animals book.


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Bombs over Bikini: The World’s First Nuclear Disaster

Bombs over Bikini: The World’s First Nuclear Disaster
by Connie Goldsmith (Author)

Booktalk: In 1946, as part of the Cold War arms race, the US military launched a program to test nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands of the Pacific Ocean. From 1946 until 1958, the military detonated sixty-seven nuclear bombs over the region’s Bikini and Enewetak Atolls. The twelfth bomb, called Bravo, became the world’s first nuclear disaster. It sent a toxic cloud of radiation over Rongelap Atoll and other nearby inhabited islands.

Snippet: “I began to feel a fine powder falling all over my body and into my eyes. The coconuts changed color. By now all the trees were white, as well as my entire body. I didn’t believe this was dangerous. The powder fell all day and night over the entire atoll of Rongelap,” Moyor John Anjain later recalled.

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

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Janet Halfmann’s Animal Teachers

Have you ever wondered how baby animals learn? Are they born knowing everything they need to survive or do they learn from their parents and peers like we humans do? Animal Teachers by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Katy Hudson is an award-winning new picture book that explores these questions.

animal-teachers

Janet Halfmann has found fascinating examples of animal babies that learn from their parents and some of these are likely to surprise the reader. Did you know that cheetahs need to learn to run or that baby chicks need to learn what to eat? Each page brings new discoveries.

In the text, Janet has used what could be described as a “reverse Q & A.” In each two-page spread she first tells what a baby animal learns from its parents and then at the end of the section asks a few questions. This results in a conversational tone that engages the reader and leads to much deeper discussions of the topics. At the end of the book are two pages of additional bullet point facts about the animals featured in the text. These are just the kind of facts that youngsters absorb like sponges and then “teach” to their classmates.

Overall, Animal Teachers is a fascinating, warm book that introduces the fairly complex topic of animal learning to the youngest reader.  You will definitely want to share with young animal lovers.

Check our full review at Wrapped in Foil, as well as some related information and activities at Growing With Science.

Sue also has a fun review of this title at STEM Friday.

STEM Friday

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

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Birds on the Wing

on the wingOn the Wing
By David Elliott; illus by Becca Stadtlander
32 pages; ages 3-7
Candlewick, 2014

From hummingbirds to eagles, this book waxes poetic about birds from all over in all kinds of weather. There are Japanese cranes dancing in the snow, flamingos, bowerbirds, condors and puffins. Elliott includes a few backyard feeder-friends we might already know: woodpecker, blue jay, cardinal, crow.

The illustrations are luscious, with details of feathers and beaks right on down to the toes.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for some “beyond the book” activities and thoughts on noisy turkeys.

STEM Friday

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

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Learn to Program with Scratch: A Visual Introduction to Programming with Games, Art, Science, and Math

Learn to Program with Scratch: A Visual Introduction to Programming with Games, Art, Science, and Math
by Majed Marji (Author)

Booktalk: Rather than type countless lines of code in a cryptic programming language, why not use colorful command blocks and cartoon sprites to create powerful scripts? Scratch is a fun, free, beginner-friendly programming environment where you connect blocks of code to build programs. While most famously used to introduce kids to programming, Scratch can make computer science approachable for people of any age. Hands-on projects will challenge you to create an Ohm’s law simulator, draw intricate patterns, program sprites to mimic line-following robots, create arcade-style games, and more!

Snippet: In Scratch, you won’t type any complicated commands. Instead, you’ll connect graphical blocks together to create programs.

This book covers Scratch 2, which was released in May 2013. This version allows you to create projects directly in your web browser so you don’t have to install any software in your computer…

To start Scratch, go to the Scratch website and click the TRY IT OUT link.

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Site Meter Copyright © 2014 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


the Mystery of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats

vanishing batsThe Case of the Vanishing Brown Bats
By Sandra Markle
48 pages; ages 9-12
Millbrook Press, 2014

Little brown bats were once among the most common kinds of bats in North America. But by 2013, their population had dropped so low that scientists wondered whether they should be listed as endangered species.

This story begins in 2007, when a team of scientists from the NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation goes to a cave near Albany. Their job: to count hibernating bats. What they found were lots of dead bats, some with fuzzy white noses. The following year they found even more dead bats.

What was killing the bats? Was it climate change? Pesticides? A virus?

In this book, Sandra Markle follows a team of scientists working on the bat-killer mystery. She follows them into caves and into their labs. The scientists determine that the killer is a fungus – but they still have more questions: what will happen to the populations of other animals that depend on the bats? Some animals rely on bats for their suppers, and farmers rely in bats to control crop-munching insects in the ecosystem.

Markle provides amazing bat facts and lists ways people can help their local bats. She’s also got a long list of books and other resources for folks who want to explore bats more deeply.

STEM Friday

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Site Meter Copyright © 2014 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


The Prairie That Nature Built

The Prairie That Nature Built
by Marybeth Lorbiecki (Author) and Cathy Morrison (Illustrator)

Booktalk: A wild prairie is a lively place in this rhythmic romp with munchers and crunchers above and below the grasses so thick, and fires that flare, and rains that quench—and always the prairie grows green. Back matter offers information and activities for a fuller appreciation of this marvelous, disappearing habitat.

Snippet:
These are the roots that plunge so deep,
Long and strong, holding water to keep,
Down past the burrows where the prairie pups sleep,
Alongside the critters that worm and squirm
Alive in the dirt so dark and deep
Under the prairie that nature built.
Such long, strong roots can save the day
When rain you want still stays away.

See the book in 3-D by downloading the app.

Two in One!

This week’s Poetry Friday Round-up is hosted by TeacherDance.

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Site Meter Copyright © 2014 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

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