STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


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Stem Friday: The Lion’s Share

Frontcover of The Lion's ShareWhen I was a kid my family would have icecream cake for dessert on special occasions. To avoid fighting with my sister over who got the biggest slice, we’d always slice up the cake on the same basis: “You Cut, I Choose“. As you can imagine, we took a LOT of care making sure our slices were each the same size!

If we’d have known the sleight of hand employed by the animals in The Lion’s Share: A Tale of Halving cake and Eating it, Too by Matthew McElligott meals might not have ended so harmoniously…

Once a year, the king of the jungle invites a select group of animals to join him for a banquet. Towards the end of the evening a large cake is laid on the table, and the lion’s guests each take half of the cake in front of them, before passing on the cake to the next guest. Everyone has a “half”… that’s fair, isn’t it?

Little Ant, a first-time guest at the feast trembles when all she has to pass on to the lion, her host (and last in line round the table), is less than a few crumbs. How can she make good the rude manners exhibited by the other guests? How can she make up for their greediness?

Ant offers to bake lion a special cake by way of recompense. Lion is delighted, but the other animals present do not wish to be outwitted by an ant, the smallest creature present. Soon each one is promising to bake twice as many cakes as the last animal to profess their baking skills. 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32…. Can a king have too many cakes?

A book about fractions, multiplication, and division as well as good manners, greed and CAKE, this is a wonderfully exciting, funny book for introducing and consolidating some at-time challenging mathematical concepts. The maths and the morals are approached with humour, and the beautiful, bold, fantastical illustrations (256 peanut butter pound cakes, anyone?) ensure that this is a STEM book that kids will read with a giggle, “accidentally” learning as they enjoy the trick of the cake slicing and the outrageousness of the cake baking.

A cake inspired by The Lion's Share

The Lion’s Share: A Tale of Halving cake and Eating it, Too
by Matthew McElligott
Walker Books (2009, 1st paperback edition July 2012)
0802797687 (HBk) / 0802723608 (PBk)
Source: Own copy

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STEM Friday: Rourke Educational Media Shares Animal Habitats

STEM Friday: Rourke Educational Media Shares Animal Habitats

 

Posted by Precious McKenzie of http://blog.rourkepublishing.com/2012/05/17/stem-friday-animal-habitats/

 

As you can probably tell from my recent posts, my neck of the woods has warmed up considerably. Flowers are blooming, animals are out and active. It is a fascinating time of year. I’ve been busy observing a robin family build a nest in the pine tree next to my deck (an exhausting task, that nest building!). I’ve also had a duck and a drake take up residence in my front yard (an odd choice for a hangout since my dogs would love nothing better than duck for breakfast).  With beautiful warm weather, it’s time to get outside and check out the amazing, natural world. So, we’ll stick with the nature theme again for this week’s STEM Friday.

Julie Lundgren’s book, Animal Habitats, is part of Rourke Educational Media’s My Science Library series for grades 1-2.  Animal Habitats begins by defining the concept of habitat in clear, succint text. Close-up photos of a bear in the forest and an octopus in the sea visually support the definition of habitat.  Then the author covers topics such as food, water, and shelter for living things, all supported with a wide variety of full color examples. The photos in this book are truly stunning, giving kids an up close and personal experience. My personal favorite is the prairie dog spread. One word: adorable!

Animal Habitats also has an environmental focus. Human impact on habitats, such as oil spills and deforestation, are discussed in a straightforward, objective manner. This is particularly helpful in generating classroom discussions on the topic. An added bonus for curriculum minded teachers, all the content correlates to NSTA’s Science Standards of Life Science.

If you are planning a field trip to a nature education center, share the book Animal Habitats with your students first. The content will enrich their field experience and teach them how to better observe the wonderful natural world around them.

 

 

Animal Habitats  Cover

Happy exploring,

Precious McKenzie

Senior Editor

 

For ordering information, visit http://rourkepublishing.com/books/1807.

For free Teacher Notes, visit the Teacher’s Corner at http://rourkeclassroom.com/teachers_corner.

 

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Why I Write STEM Books for Kids

Why I Write STEM Books for Kids
by Melissa Stewart

It was 1996. My first children’s book had just been accepted for publication, and I was headed to East Africa to do research for a second book. Life was good—or so it seemed.

As friends and family heard about my success, I received a flood of phone calls. They congratulated me, of course. But they also asked some unexpected questions.

“So now are you going to write a real book? You know, one for adults.”

“It’s nonfiction? That’s great. But wouldn’t you rather write fiction?”

These questions confused me. They made me wonder and worry. Was I headed down the wrong path? Was writing for children a waste of time? Was nonfiction less important than fiction?

Luckily, my journey halfway around the world gave me the perspective—and the answers—I needed.

One night around a campfire at the edge of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, Ann Prewitt, an anthropologist and educator from the American Museum of Natural History, said she was fascinated by aha moments—seemingly small experiences that change the course of a person’s life. She asked the circle of scientists if they could recall such events from their own lives.

When my turn came, I described exploring a wooded area in western Massachusetts with my dad and brother when I was eight years old. As we hiked, my dad asked lots of questions:

“Why do stone walls run through the middle of the woods?”

“Why do sassafras trees have three kinds of leaves?”

“Why don’t chipmunks build their nests in trees like squirrels?”

He wanted us to think about our surroundings, and he knew a guessing game would be more engaging than a lecture.

As we reached the top of a hill, my dad stopped and scanned the landscape. Then he asked if we noticed anything unusual about that area of the woods.

My brother and I looked around.

We looked at each other.

We shook our heads.

But then, suddenly, the answer came to me. “All the trees seem kind of small,” I said.

My dad nodded. He explained that there had been a fire in the area about twenty-five years earlier. All the trees had burned and many animals had died, but over time, the forest had recovered.

Why was that an aha moment for me? Because I instantly understood the power of nature. I also realized that a field, a forest, any natural place has stories to tell, and I could discover those stories just by looking.

As the firelight flickered across the African savanna and I described my childhood insights, heads nodded all around me. I was among a new group of friends, kindred spirits who understood my fascination with the natural world.

They knew why I didn’t write fiction.

They knew why children were my primary audience.

And suddenly, so did I. It was another aha moment.

Now, 16 years later, I’ve written more than 150 children’s books about science and nature. Some people still ask me why I’ve never written a book for adults. Others want to know if I’ll ever write a novel. But these questions no longer bother me.

I know that my personal mission, the purpose of my writing, is to give today’s children their own aha moments in the natural world—the same gift my dad gave me on that special walk through the Massachusetts woods.

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STEM Friday: Zeke Meeks vs the Stinkin’ Science Fair

STEM Friday: Zeke Meeks vs the Stinkin’ Science Fair
Posted by Beth Brezenoff of Capstone Connect

Zeke Meeks vs the Stinkin' Science Fair

Zeke Meeks vs the Stinkin’ Science Fair
by D. L. Green
ISBN 9781404868038
Picture Window Books, 2012

In honor of our first Capstone Fiction post on STEM Friday, I wanted to give you a taste of one of the fun ways we’re addressing STEM through fiction. Meet one of our favorite new characters, Zeke Meeks! In this book, he’s taking part in a science fair at school. The book is filled with fun, basic science experiments that readers will love. Plus, there’s an experiment in the back of the book, and you can download an activity kit from CapstoneKids that includes details on an ice-cream-making experiment.

Funny, realistic, and packed with humor, Zeke will be a huge hit among second-to-fourth graders. (And many adults.)

Enjoy!

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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