STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


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Discovering STEM Poetry Books

Today we are going to honor National Poetry Month by taking a look at poetry books with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math themes. Because STEM poetry books are usually shelved together with other poetry books over in language arts, they have the potential to be neglected in science class. Let’s pull STEM poetry books off the shelf and shine a spotlight on them.

Why STEM poetry? What a fantastic opportunity to introduce the poetry fans to STEM and the STEM fans to poetry. It’s win-win!

STEM Poetry Books:

forest-has-a-song

Up first this morning is Forest Has a Song, illustrated by Robbin Gourley, at Sally’s Bookshelf. Sue has a revealing interview with author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, as well as suggestions for related activities. VanDerwater notes the science underpinnings to the book are provided by her biology teacher husband.

cuckoo-haiku

Over at Archimedes Notebook, Sue has Nest Building is For the Birds – but you can help. If you would like to accompany the project with reading from a poetry book about birds, try The Cuckoo’s Haiku: and Other Birding Poems, written by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Stan Fellows. See Tricia’s Thematic Book List – For the Love of Birds for more suggestions.

out-of-this-world

Today at Growing With Science we are soaring with a collection of STEM poetry books about space. For example, have you seen Out of This World: Poems and Facts about Space by Amy Sklansky and illustrated by Stacey Schuett? It combines inspiring, intriguing poems with supporting facts in a sidebar on the same page. This book really does live up to its name.

face-bugs

Doing a unit on insects? Earlier in the week we featured Science Poetry Books About Bugs at Growing With Science, including a new book by Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis called Face Bug.

unBeeleivable

Anastasia shared UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian, a collection of poems about honey bees at Booktalking last week.

Books that just might inspire poetry:

flowers-by-number

Jeff at NC Teacher Stuff has a review of Flowers by Number by David Shapiro and illustrated by Hayley Vair. It encourages children to look closely at flowers and to learn their numbers. Seems like a lot of potential for poetry here.

picture-a-tree

Jeff did use Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid as an inspiration to write his own tree-related haiku.

A-Black-Hole-Is-Not-A-Hole

At Booktalking, Anastasia is featuring A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano and illustrated by Michael Carroll, which is sure to inspire some poetry about space.

Related activity:

Anastasia has suggestions for writing STEM-based haiku. Be sure to visit to see what others are sharing and perhaps share yours as well.

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STEM Friday

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STEM and Wildflowers

Welcome to the November 23, 2012 edition of STEM Friday.  Thank you to everyone who participated

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Today we are featuring a picture book biography,  Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein.

We are fast approaching the the centennial of Lady Bird Johnson’s birth, December 22, 2012, and it seemed like a perfect time to investigate her life and also learn more about wildflowers.

You may wonder how a picture book about a former first lady who loved wildflowers could be used as a jumping off point for STEM. Here are just a few ideas (go to Growing With Science blog for links and more information):

Science:

  • Plant life cycles
  • Plant identification
  • Ecology issues, such as how introduced and invasive plants change an area
  • Food webs
  • Weather and climate, and how that effects plants

Technology:

  • Use a computer program to design a wildflower garden
  • Make two weather stations and compare the weather in a wildflower garden versus a parking lot

Engineering:

Wildflower seeds come in many different sizes and shapes. Investigate how wildflower seeds are planted, harvested, processed, and packaged for sale. Can you think of a machine to do this in a better way?

Math:

  • Look for patterns in a wildflower garden
  • Search for Fibonacci’s numbers in flowers
  • Calculate the perimeter and area of a garden

Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers is a beautiful book about an inspiring lady. Hopefully, it will encourage some young scientists and engineers, as well.

Related Activity:  Check either Kathi Appelt‘s (click on the icon next to the “brand new” image) or Joy Fisher Hein‘s websites for a fun activity kit (in .pdf) to download that accompanies the book. The kit includes a word search, card matching game and many ideas for hands-on learning.

From our participants:

Shirley at Simply Science has another picture book that celebrates wild plants:  Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith and illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin. She also has suggestions for science activities.

Sally’s Bookshelf is featuring Even an Octopus Needs a Home by Irene Kelly, a picture book that celebrates animals’ homes.

Sue at Archimedes Notebook has suggested an activity for this season, looking at trees without leaves.

Wrapped In Foil blog has a review of a fictional picture book with wildflowers that would be a good pairing with Miss Lady Bird’s Flowers:  the classic Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.

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Join STEM Friday!

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STEM Friday

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  • Link your post to the comments of our weekly STEM Friday Round-up. (Please use the link to your STEM Friday post, not the address of your blog. Thanks!)

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STEM Friday: The Invention of Time!

Did you know there’s a clock in Boulder, Colorado that can keep the time to within 1 second in 3.7 billion years?! It’s considered the most accurate clock in the world. It’s an optical clock, and what that means is that instead of using the vibration of atoms or molecules, like our current atomic clocks use, it uses light to keep time.

That’s pretty cool. But how did this method of keeping time evolve? And why is it even important to be this accurate?

When a child (or an adult for that matter!) asks, what is time, the explanation isn’t an easy one. Yes, time is a way to keep track of our lives—the school year, the season, the age of our dog (in human and doggy years)…it seems like time has always existed. Well, it has, but what time is today—seconds, minutes, days, etc.—isn’t what time was millions of years ago, when telling time didn’t exist as we know it. It’s easy to forget that the act of telling time is one of the greatest inventions of mankind!

It’s easy to forget that things like minutes and months are an invention in the first place! So that’s why we’re featuring, Timekeeping: Explore the History and Science of Telling Time with 15 Projects for today’s STEM Friday post. Because understanding timekeeping involves knowledge of all of these things: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Timekeeping, a book for kids ages 9-12,explores how humans have measured the passage of time since, well, since the beginning of “time,” when the sun told the time, and days were kept with a shadow clock. Nights were kept by the phases of the moon. It teaches kids about the process of mathematically calculating calendars, and about all of the phases our current Gregorian calendar has gone through to be the twelve-month, 365-day calendar that it is now. They’ll learn how to make a sundial and a clepsydra, a clock devised by the Egyptians that uses dripping water to track time. They’ll also learn cool facts like why Daylight Savings Time exists, and that another name for it is “War Time,” because it was originally implemented to save fuel during WWI.

The projects, facts, and much more make reading this book no waste of time!

Today’s post is part of STEM Friday, a weekly round-up of children’s science, engineering, math and technology books.

Join STEM Friday!

We invite you to join us!

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STEM Friday

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  • Link your post to the comments of our weekly STEM Friday Round-up. (Please use the link to your STEM Friday post, not the address of your blog. Thanks!)

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STEM Friday Tales of Animal Tails

Animal Tails by Beth Fielding

36 pages, ages 4-8

Early Light Books, 2011

There are almost as many kinds of tails as there are animals: scaly tails, curly tails, wagging tails, striped tails, tails that sting, tails that warn and even talking tails. Think rattlesnake.

Beth Fielding gives us a visual tour of animal diversity – but this time, instead of tongues and eyes, she’s got us checking out the back ends of animals. Each photo-packed spread focuses on one animal and the special role its tail plays in survival. With kangaroos, it’s balance: those super-long tails help kangaroos balance their weight when they’re jumping. Squirrels use their tails as umbrellas, folding them over their heads and back. When it stops raining they just shake the water off like you’d shake off a wet raincoat. And when it snows, squirrels use their tails to keep warm.

Fielding writes about lizard tails, chameleon tails, cat tails and bird tails – which act like rudders when they’re flying and air brakes when they want to slow down. She even has a section on caterpillar tails – useful for tricking predators into thinking the tail end is the head end.

On each page there’s a nifty fact, something to think about, or an experiment to try. Why are whale tails so effective? Put on a pair of snorkel fins and find out.

At the end there’s six pages of “Tail Talk”- more tales about tails, and even a bit about how animals use their tails to communicate. A dog’ll let you know its happy by wagging a tail – but did you know pigs wag their tails, too? Cats, on the other hand, only wag their tails when they are annoyed or ready to attack. Could this explain the age old animosity between cats and dogs?

Check out more tail tales over at Archimedes Notebook, and take a look at what other people are posting here today.

Join STEM Friday!

We invite you to join us!

  • Write about STEM each Friday on your blog.
  • Copy the STEM Friday button to use in your blog post.

STEM Friday

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

  • Link your post to the comments of our weekly STEM Friday Round-up. (Please use the link to your STEM Friday post, not the address of your blog. Thanks!)

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STEM Books with an Autumn Theme

Looking for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books for children with an autumn theme? You have come to the right place!

Note:  The links to the book title will take you to full reviews at the blog indicated.

STEM Books with an Autumn Theme

Shirley at Simply Science starts us out with a review of the recently released picture book  Exploring Fall by Terri DeGezelle, part of the controlled vocabulary Exploring the Seasons Series. As usual, Shirley has some great suggestions for activities.

Shirley also suggests another book for younger readers, Count Down to Fall by Fran Hawk and illustrated by Sherry Neidigh. told in rhyme.

My contribution is Awesome Autumn by Bruce Goldstone.

Autumn isn’t just about fall foliage, it is also about getting ready for winter. Jeff at NC Teacher Stuff has Hibernation Station  written by Michelle Meadows and illustrated by Kurt Cyrus.

Sue at Archimedes Notebook reminds us about fall migrations with Butterfly Tree by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Leslie Wu. Sue also has a wonderful list of science/nature things to do in fall in her right sidebar.

Pam at Nomad Press is joining this week with Explore Weather and Climate! With 25 Great Projects by Kathleen M. Reilly and illustrated by Bryan Stone, for budding meteorologists and climatologists ages 6-9.

Anastasia has a lovely picture book A Leaf Can Be… by one of her former students, Laura Purdie Salas  and illustrated by Violeta Dabija at Booktalking.

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Lindsey Carmichael from Sci/Why in Canada has an off-topic post about evolution in digital organisms. Her colleague has a post about getting ready for winter in the far North, Harvest Time in the Forest.

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Thank you to everyone who has participated.

Join STEM Friday!

We invite you to join us!

  • Write about STEM each Friday on your blog.
  • Copy the STEM Friday button to use in your blog post.

STEM Friday

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

  • Link your post to the comments of our weekly STEM Friday Round-up. (Please use the link to your STEM Friday post, not the address of your blog. Thanks!)

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This STEM Friday is for the Fishes

The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea

by Helaine Becker; illustrated by Willow Dawson

For ages 8 – 12; Kids Can Press, 2012

If you take this book with you to the ocean, you won’t be sitting under the beach umbrella reading it for long… because it has a whole lot of stuff that you just need to get up and do. And the really neat thing – you don’t even have to go to the ocean to do it!

This is a hands-on, let’s-find-out-how-the-ocean-works kind of book. There’s 80 pages of information, experiments, games and activities on everything from how much of the earth is water (75%) to how one stops an oil slick from spreading (rice chex maybe?). Want to know how a starfish’s tube feet work? That’s in there. Want to know how a jellyfish stinger works? That’s in there too.

There are hands-on explorations that help explain global warming impacts on the ocean: how warming can affect currents, and how ocean acidification affects coral reefs. You can create a tsunami in your bathtub, check out how oil spills affect bird feathers, and test what fishy shapes are best for swimming. And there’s a fun game that can really help you understand the population impacts from overfishing.

There are scads of sidebars, too: newsy bits that bring readers up to date on efforts to fight environmental hazards, risks to the ocean, and things kids can do. A great resource for kids who want to learn more about how oceans work.

Join STEM Friday!

We invite you to join us!

  • Write about STEM each Friday on your blog.
  • Copy the STEM Friday button to use in your blog post.

STEM Friday

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

  • Link your post to the comments of our weekly STEM Friday Round-up. (Please use the link to your STEM Friday post, not the address of your blog. Thanks!)

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Philip Hoose Flies Again with Moonbird

Have you heard? Phillip Hoose has a wonderful new middle-grade book released in July, Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95. After winning the 2009 National Book Award with Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, he has gone in a new direction, but once again he has found a little-known main character whose story deserves to be told.

Who or what is “Moonbird?” The title refers to a tiny bird who has flown an estimated 350,000 miles – over the distance to the moon and halfway back – in his lifetime!

Moonbird is also known as B95 because that was the number he was banded with in South America in 1995. He is a male shorebird commonly called a red knot. He’s a member of the rufa subspecies, which migrates from the tip of South America all the way to the Arctic Circle and then back each year. Scientists have been spotting B95 during portions of his trip. The most recent sighting was in May of this year. If you do the math 2012-1995 (when he was first tagged) = an age of 17 years. That is impressive enough, but scientists estimate he was already a mature bird when he was first tagged, which means he was probably at least three years old. B95 is some 20 years old and still going strong.

It is tempting to tell you all the details about amazing B95, but we’re supposed to be reviewing the book. Phillip Hoose follows B95’s journey, starting with a trip to the tip of South America to visit the spot where B95 was first banded. He then moves to the critical stopover station in Delaware Bay, before traveling north to the birds’ breeding ground in the Arctic and then heading south again. To keep the reader oriented during all this moving about, the book contains numerous helpful maps. Also, at each stop Hoose meets and profiles dedicated scientists who study the birds. The final chapter addresses the issue of extinction, why you should care about these tiny birds, and, as you will find out, horseshoe crabs as well. He also brings the story back to young people and what they can do to help.

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 is a must-read book for budding ornithologists and conservation biologists. Others who read it might just be inspired to take up a new hobby, birdwatching.

What our STEM Friday participants are sharing today:

Right in time for learning more about space exploration, Marina has Buzz Aldrin: Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin at Marina’s Tween Materials Blog.

Shirley found an interesting graphic format book Eggs, Legs, WINGS:  A Butterfly Life Cycle by Shannon Knudsen and illustrated by Simon Smith, featured at Simply Science Blog.

In a celebration of summer, Sue has A Butterfly’s Life by Ellen Lawrence, How do You Know It’s Summer by Ruth Owen, and Chipmunk’s Hole by Dee Phillips at Archimedes Notebook. These are sure to entice children outdoors.

Jeff has a fun and informative review of Volcanoes by Dr. Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by Megan Lloyd at NC Teacher Stuff.

Ana has author Alexandra Siy today visiting her blog today. She has outstanding, award-winning books about science for children including Cars on Mars: Roving the RedPlanet.

Today’s host is Wrapped In Foil blog.

Join STEM Friday!

We invite you to join us!

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STEM Friday

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

  • Link your post to the comments of our weekly STEM Friday Round-up. (Please use the link to your STEM Friday post, not the address of your blog. Thanks!)

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STEM Friday: Science in Action

We love hands-on activities at Growing With Science, which is why we were excited to find Build It: Invent New Structures and Contraptions by Tammy Enz.

Author Enz is a civil engineer, and her experience shows in the details in each of the projects. Included are instructions on how to make a device that can open an close a door remotely (with strings), a newspaper fort, a trash grabber, toothpick bridge, a pet waterer and many more. Each project comes with a list of materials and step-by-step instructions with color photographs accompanying each step.

In addition to the projects, sidebars are sprinkled throughout that reveal some historically-important inventions. Did you know the can opener was invented 48 years after the invention of the tin can? Amazing!

Build It: Invent New Structures and Contraptions would be great for a busy teacher looking for a quick science or engineering project because it has complete and detailed plans. It would also be fun for the home inventor who could build the project as presented and then use the skills he or she learned to tweak the design or come with up with a whole new invention.

Related activity:

The book contains plans for a toothpick bridge held together with hot glue. If you want to work with younger children who aren’t ready for a hot glue gun, try the classic toothpicks and mini-marshmallows. The children can build bridges or towers.

Plastic drinking straws, craft picks, dried spaghetti, gumdrops and even grapes can be building materials (Although the grapes are temporary).

These projects are sure to lead to bigger things.

What our STEM Friday participants are sharing today:

Shirley at Simply Science has a review of Citizen Scientists by Loree Griffin Burns.

At Booktalking, Anastasia has Feynman by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick (Illustrator)

Look for a mixture of fiction and nonfiction in Theodore Taylor’s The Bomb, reviewed by Marina Duff.

Sue has an activity for mapping a stream that is appropriate for our drought-plagued summer at Archimedes Notebook.

(Note:  I apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced by the post coming up late. It was a calendar malfunction.)

Join STEM Friday!

We invite you to join us!

  • Write about STEM each Friday on your blog.
  • Copy the STEM Friday button to use in your blog post.

STEM Friday

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

  • Link your post to the comments of our weekly STEM Friday Round-up. (Please use the link to your STEM Friday post, not the address of your blog. Thanks!)

Site Meter Copyright © 2012 Roberta Gibson All Rights Reserved.

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