STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


Leave a comment

Two Children’s Books for Arbor Day

Arbor Day is next Friday, April 24, 2015. To prepare, we have gathered some “tree-rific” books about trees for children.

branching-out

First up is Branching Out: How Trees Are Part of Our World by Joan Marie Galat and illustrated by Wendy Ding. A title for middle grade readers, it investigates 11 special kinds of trees from around the world. Using four-page spreads, the author describes a particular species of tree, how it used by humans, and what animals depend on that particular kind of tree. The trees included range from red maples to pau brasil trees.

Filled with color photographs and sidebars, this title takes a serious and scientific tone. The introduction about why trees are important is particularly well done.

celebritrees

Our second title is a slightly older one. Celebritrees: Historic and Famous Trees of the World (2011) by Margi Preus and illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon tells the stories of 14 famous, tall and exceptionally-old trees.

Interestingly, Celebritrees is as much a discourse about human history and behavior as it is about trees. We humans are attracted to big and old trees, as well as those with unique stories or features. In fact, sometimes humans are so attracted to certain trees that by sheer numbers visitors have damaged and sometimes killed the very trees they revere. The author notes that the exact identities and locations of some of the trees has been hidden so the trees are left alone to continue their lives.

Rebecca Gibbon has created lighthearted, fun illustrations using a mix of acrylic ink, colored pencils and watercolor. The illustrations allow for a more coherent look and also incorporate details of the text in ingenious ways. The look would definitely appeal to young readers who prefer fiction.

Even though they have a different look and voice, both these books celebrate the importance of trees, looking at the role of trees ecologically and in the context of human society. Both have suggestions for what children can do to help trees in the back matter. Both are also sure to inspire young readers to appreciate trees!

See a longer review and a book trailer at Wrapped in Foil blog.

Want more choices for Arbor Day reading? Check out our giant list of children’s books about trees at Science Books for Kids.

tree-books-button

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.


Leave a comment

Climate Change

ClimateChange_CoverClimate Change: discover how it impacts spaceship Earth, with 25 projects
by Joshua Sneideman & Erin Twamley; illus. by Mike Crosier
122 pages; ages 9-12
Nomad Press, 2015

Released just in time for Earth Day (which is Wednesday) – this newest book on Climate Change. Like others in the “Build it yourself” series, this one comes packed with hands-on activities to explore the concepts being discussed. For example: a balance board to help illustrate the idea that keeping gases in Earth’s atmosphere balanced is harder to do than to say.

Readers will learn about burps, farts, and other greenhouse gases, why ice cores and paleontology are important, and read about cool biofuels like algae. Throughout the book there are lots of short introductions to scientists who did research in energy, oceanography, geology, climate science and more. Plus there are those 25 hands-on, do-it-yourself activities that require the sorts of things you might find in the kitchen cupboards or at the drug store. Who knows ~ maybe you’ll be inspired to build something useful and simple, like the solar powered water purifying system invented by a high school student, or the water-filled plastic bottle “light bulbs”.

To help make information easier to find (especially for browsers) the book has:

  • “words to know” sidebars
  • cool concepts (like atmospheric pressure on other planets)
  • essential questions
  • primary source icon with QR code link for smartphones or tablets
  • index, glossary, and page of resources at the back

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Leave a comment

Steampunk LEGO

Steampunk LEGO
by Guy Himber (Author)

Booktalk: Grab your brass goggles and join fictional explorer Sir Herbert Jobson as he travels the world cataloguing its technological wonders for Queen Victoria.

Snippet:

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


1 Comment

Kangaroo to the Rescue

Kangaroo to the rescueKangaroo to the Rescue
by Moira Rose Donohue
112 pages; ages 7-10 years
National Geographic, 2015

This book features stories about one kangaroo, two dogs, and three pigs. Lulu the kangaroo was a rescue animal. There are great descriptions of how her adoptive family raised her from a cat-sized joey to an adult. They made Lulu a pouch, figured out how to feed her, and helped her regain strength. Later, they encouraged her to go free, but she stayed close to the family. Good thing, too – because she ends up saving someone’s life.

Maggie and Pilot were two labs: one black, one blonde. They played chase, fetched balls, and served as mentors for young pups in training to be guide dogs. Later, when Maggie went blind, Pilot acted as her guide, sticking close and nudging her out of trouble.

The last section tells stories of three not-so-little pigs who were brave and strong and helped people out of predicaments. One even received a gold medal from the ASPCA for saving her human companion’s life.

Salted in with the tales of animal bravery are sidebars and fact-boxes about the animals themselves. We learn about marsupials and why tails are important to kangaroos. There’s information about guide dogs and therapy dogs, and pig social life. Did you know pigs can make over 20 different oinks, grunts, and squeals? And that pig mamas sing to their piglets? Review copy provided by publisher.

If you’re looking for a fiction book to pair up with this, head over to Sally’s Bookshelf and check out the second review of an early chapter book.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Dirty Rats?

dirty ratsDirty Rats?
by Darrin Lunde; illus. by Adam Gustavson
32 pages; ages 3-7
Charlesbridge, 2015

Rats are dirty, right? They scurry about in the night, eating garbage. Plus there’s the naked tail and beady eyes thing they’ve got going on…. it’s enough to make you grab a broom and give ’em a swat.

But wait…. writes Lunde. Not all rats eat garbage. Long-tailed marmoset rats living in Thailand eat bamboo flowers. Some rats hop, and other rats have bushy tails. Linde introduces readers to rat-diversity, including “lab rats” used by medical researchers. We learn how rats fit into the ecosystem (food for carnivores) and, near the end, he includes a chart of different kinds of rats. There are pack rats and sand rats, wooly rats and pouched rats, and even crested rats that look as though they had a bad hair day.

Regardless of what you think about rats, this book will have you looking at them with new eyes.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Salamander Season

Salamander SeasonSalamander Season
by Jennifer Keats Curtis & J. Adam Frederick; illus. by Shennen Bersani
32 pages; ages 4-8
Arbordale, 2015

This is a story about salamanders, told from the perspective of a girl who goes into the woods with her dad. They find a vernal pool and check out the salamanders marching from the woods to the water. Later, she finds eggs (“small mushy cases… as big as softballs and as firm as Jell-O”). When the salamanders hatch, her dad takes two back to his lab to study. He’s an environmental scientist, so he knows how to keep baby salamanders safe.

What I like about this book: It gives a real up-close-and-personal view of salamander life. We see hungry predators and the young salamanders taking action to avoid becoming salamander snacks. The book is laid out like a journal, with entries describing what happens throughout the salamander season. It’s illustrated with a combination of child-like drawings and photos … very much like what you’d find in your kid’s nature journal.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for beyond-the-book salamander activities.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


A Teen Guide to Being Eco in Your Community

A Teen Guide to Being Eco in Your Community
by Cath Senker (Author)

Booktalk: Realistic and practical advice about how teens can live an eco-conscious life, right now. They can take action by themselves, with their family, or as part of a school or community group.

Snippet:
What’s in it for me?
By promoting and protecting nature, you can make the places where you live, study, and socialize more pleasant. You could help your family save money by reducing energy bills. If you can help reduce costs significantly, your parent or caregiver might reward you!

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers