STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Compare and Contrast with Clouds

We are highlighting Clouds:  A Compare and Contrast Book by Katherine Hall today at Growing with Science blog.


Young readers explore the concept of comparing and contrasting, while at the same time learning about different kinds of clouds and how to describe them.

Some clouds are big and fluffy;
others are thin and wispy.

“For Creative Minds” in the back matter has four pages of interactive activities to reinforce learning. Examples include experiments with evaporation, a cloud match exercise, and information about how clouds are connected to weather prediction.

Stop by Growing With Science for science experiments and activities to investigate evaporation, as well as related resources.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Roberta Gibson at Growing with Science All Rights Reserved.


10 Myths About Teaching STEM Books and How You Can Teach STEM in Your Classroom Now

Join Lee & Low Books and Anastasia Suen, founder of the STEM Friday blog and award-winning children’s book author, for a dynamic discussion on how to teach STEM in your classroom starting this fall. Share My Lesson is hosting a Summer of Learning professional development series and Thursday, July 9 focuses on all things STEM.

With the right tools and support, we will show how educators can support all students to become successful in learning STEM content knowledge and conceptual understanding.

We will look at persistent myths about teaching STEM, explore the intersection of STEM and English Language Arts, and reexamine what makes a great STEM read aloud.

Sign up to learn how to discover the right STEM book and hands-on activities for your students’ interests and learning needs. We will cover strategies on inspiring and supporting underrepresented groups in STEM as well as how to differentiate for special populations.

In addition to learning about how to integrate STEM learning throughout your curriculum, teachers can earn an hour of professional development credit! The whole series is FREE and open to all.

At the end of the presentation, you will have strategies you can apply immediately to your classroom and resources for further exploration.

share my lesson 2Overview:

Title: Teach STEM Now

Date: Thursday, July 09, 2015

Time: 01:00PM Eastern Daylight Time

Duration: 1 hour

Cost: FREE

Register here!

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Migration Nation

Migration Nation

written by Joanne O’Sullivan

2015 (Imagine Publishing)

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

It’s a wild trip through rushing rivers, across frozen ice floes, 

and through stormy skies.

Going to the grocery store that is three minutes down the road from my house is my version of migrating to find food. I would be a lousy polar bear. They travel up to 1,000 miles from the Arctic ice to the southernmost tip of the Hudson Bay. Migration Nation tells the tale of twelve different North American animals (e.g. bison, cranes, gray whales) that set off on journeys each year in order to survive. As opposed to me hopping in the car because we’re low on milk.

One of the strengths of this book is the variety of ways that information is presented. You get interesting narratives that take a few paragraphs to explain why the animals migrate and what goes into making their journeys. There’s also a map with additional “quick facts” that add information that might not fit into the narrative. The author also points out the hazards that the animals face in traveling and how humans are trying to help improve these journeys. Check out this link to get a great preview of the style of the book. With the Ranger Rick brand, you’re getting eye-catching photographs as well.

Migration Nation is the nonfiction report after which you would want older students (4th-12th grade) to model their writing. In addition, you could show a section and talk about the text features that you see. Don’t hate me for saying this but the narratives are also the perfect size for practicing reading for a standardized test. You should migrate to your local book store or library and find a copy.

You Do The Math Series

At Growing with Science blog this week, I’ve teamed up with Sarah at Share It! Science for a week long tribute to STE(A)M. Today we are focusing on math. Sarah is looking at the golden ratio in her garden and I am reviewing the You Do The Math series.

The expert team of Hilary Koll and Steve Mills have developed a unique series of math books illustrated by Vladimir Aleksic. Each feature gritty, real world applications of math with problems to solve embedded within the story. The challenges vary in difficulty and math skills needed.


In Solve a Crime Alex, an undercover police detective, shows how math can help catch a criminal. For example, on one page the reader is asked to use co-ordinates to map the evidence and then look on a grid to calculate the distance between certain items.


Fly a Jet Fighter follows pilot Katie as she handles data, interprets tables, and reads dials and scales. The goal is to create a squadron of jet fighter aces and complete the mission.


Launch a Rocket into Space follows each stage of a space mission to make sure the rocket blasts clear of the atmosphere and returns safely. It features astronaut Michael who helps the reader compete the math exercises and learn about everything from fractions to timelines. A few problems will require a protractor to measure angles.

The questions in these books are real math and will require a pencil and piece of paper to do the work. “What About This” sidebars on most pages give more challenging problems, as well. Fortunately the answers for all the questions are in the back matter.

The graphic-novel-style illustrations are bold and serious, adding to the true-to-life feel.

Although recommended for ages 6-8, these books could also be useful for older children who are struggling with math concepts or don’t quite see how the math they are learning might be useful. The books in the You Do the Math series would be perfect for homeschoolers and after school math clubs because they can be entirely child-directed reading. They would also be useful for children researching certain careers.

Stop by Growing with Science for the full review, as well as more suggestions for activities and resources to accompany the books.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Roberta Gibson at Growing with Science All Rights Reserved.


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Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America

Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America
by Carole Boston Weatherford (Author) and Jamey Christoph (Illustrator)

Booktalk: His white teacher tells her all-black class, You’ll all wind up porters and waiters. What did she know? Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed. His success as a fashion photographer landed him a job working for the government. In Washington DC, Gordon went looking for a subject, but what he found was segregation. He and others were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Gordon wanted to take a stand against the racism he observed. With his camera in hand, he found a way.

Twenty-five years old and all but broke
when a magazine spread
about migrant farm workers
inspires him to buy a used camera. That $7.50
is the best money he will ever spend.

STEM + the Arts = STEAM

STEAM DIY Activity

Try one of these National Geographic Photographing Your Neighborhood ideas.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Over on a Mountain, Somewhere in the World

over on a mountainOver on a Mountain: Somewhere in the World
by Marianne Berkes; illus by Jill Dubin
32 pages; ages 3-8
Dawn publications, 2015

This book will not only have you singing along, but checking an atlas, globe, or whatever mapping app you might have. It’s downright fun and a great addition to the “Over in” series that Marianne Berkes has been adding to over the years.

I like it because it’s a world tour of mountain ranges – and it has animals from every region. Plus Berkes includes a handy map in case you don’t have a globe at hand. Plus it’s a counting song… so it’s win-win all around.

The illustrations are beautiful cut paper, filled with texture and detail.

All the animals in the book act the way that Berkes portrays them. Snow leopards leap, bald eagles soar, and penguins waddle. And they live in the mountains as shown in the book. But they don’t have as many babies as in her rhyme!

There is wonderful back matter for parents and curious kids. Berkes includes mountain facts, reveals the “hidden” mountain animals, and provides more information about the animals featured in the book. There’s also an entire page of “tips from the illustrator” – what fun for the budding artist! And, at the back there is music and words for the song in case you’re chosen to lead the next sing-along.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.

Woodpecker Wham!

woodpecker whamWoodpecker Wham!
by April Pulley Sayre; illus. by Steve Jenkins
40 pages; ages 4-8
Henry Holt & Co, 2015

Swoop and land.
Hitch and hop.
Shred a tree stump.
Chop, chop, chop!

I love listening to the woodpeckers in spring, as they drum on the dead trees in the woods around me. I don’t like it when they cling to the side of my house and chip away – but those are the little downy woodpeckers and they fly away when I knock on the wall.

So I was especially excited to get a copy of this book to review. I love April Pulley Sayre’s lyrical verse combined with Steve Jenkins’s awesome cut paper artwork. Sayre shares the details of woodpecker life: communicating by drumming on trees, flaking off bark to find insects hiding in the nooks and crannies, preening, flirting, excavating a nest. We get a good look at woodpeckers up close and personal. Plus, now I know who gets my cherries before I get out there with a basket…

Jenkins populates his illustrations with a diversity of woodpeckers. We meet red-bellied and red-headed woodpeckers, downies and sapsuckers, flickers and pileateds.

I especially love the back matter – and there is plenty of it: six pages filled with info about woodpecker tongues, interesting behaviors, dining etiquette, and nest-building. There’s great information about how we can help woodpeckers by making sure they have habitat to live in, and advice about how to find a woodpecker – especially handy for those who don’t live in wood houses adjacent to forested landscapes.


STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


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