STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


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STEM FRIDAY: Build It

Wecome to STEM Friday, hosted by SimplyScience. Add your links in the comments to participate and read about all the great STEM books we’re reviewing. Today I have the one Roberta presented last week–that’s because it’s so good!

Build It

Invent New Structures and Contraptions

By Tanny Enz

Capstone, Fact Finders, 2012

ISBN # 9781429676359

Grades 3-6

Nonfiction

“The world is full of wonderful, puzzling, everyday problems waiting to be solved. Inventing contraptions to solve those problems is what engineers do. But you don’t need to be an engineer to invent like one. Ask how you can solve them.”

Author and engineer Enz explains her interest in engineering and conveys her excitement about the subject. With the emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) today, it’s great to find a book that addresses engineering for readers under twelve. This book does just that!

Build It focuses on how engineers go about solving problems using six steps of inventing. It explains the process of problem solving from an engineering point of view and then goes on to show readers how to solve specific problems that might occur in their world. The two to three pages dedicated to each problem list the steps and show a photo of what each step involves to create the new invention. The projects range from building a newspaper fort to making a pet watering dish. The projects are presented in the problem solving process and the photos are numbers for ease of following the directions.  New vocabulary is defined on the page and in a glossary.

Each project also includes a sidebar telling about a success that came from a failed project, like how cereal flakes were discovered by the Kellogg brothers. The variety of projects will suit most readers and can be made with easily found materials. A few of the projects have steps that will require a minimum of adult help, but most of them can be done by the readers of this age. Back matter includes a glossary, read more, internet sites, and an index.

It’s good to see engineering defined and explained in a book for both girls and boys. It’s an excellent summer reading book but extends to the school year, as projects could be done in classes with groups. The relationship of math, science, and technology is evident and practical. What a great way to interest readers in STEM!

Activity

Try one of the activities from the book. Identify the problems and success you have. Then identify a problem you’d like to solve and use the 6 steps to help you solve it. Analyze what worked or didn’t work and show someone your ideas.

This excellent site has definitions, activities, and explanations about engineering.

This site has additional activities for kids.

National Science Standards: Defining and Delimiting an Engineering Problem; Developing; Possible Solutions; Optimizing the Design Solution

Book provided by Capstone Press

Here are today’s STEM titles.

Marina’s Tween Materials Blog  has The Hundred-Dollar Robber

Sue at Archimedes Notebook has A Luna Moth’s Life and Luna Moths.

Pam at Nomad Press has Robotics.

Roberta at Growing With Science has Night Life of the Yucca and many other books in honor of National Moth Week.

Amanda at tamarck writes has The Other Way to Listen.

Anastasia at Booktalking has Cool Chemistry Activities for Girls.

 

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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.)

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STEM Friday: Wild Rescue

Stem Friday: Wild Rescue
posted by Beth Brezenoff of Capstone Connect

Poacher Panic

Ben and Zoe aren’t your typical middle schoolers. Instead of spending their days at school and hanging out with their friends, these twins travel all around the world working for their uncle’s elite environmental organization, WILD and saving animals in danger and protect the environment. No matter how dangerous the mission, no matter what’s at stake, Ben and Zoe will do whatever it takes to rescue at-risk animals. And they don’t work alone: their uncle, the leader of the WILD organization, creates amazing gadgets to help them in their work. There are eight books in the Wild Rescue series, sure to charm science-minded kids!

“. . . gadgets and some clever investigating help Zoe and Ben to save the day. . . . Chances are, animal lovers will enjoy these books.”—School Library Journal



Join STEM Friday!

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

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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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Toads and Tessellations

Toads and Tessellations
written by Sharon Morrisette; illustrated by Philomena O’Neill
2012 (Charlesbridge)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Tessellation – A pattern of shapes that covers a surface with no overlaps or gaps.

Enzo wants to be a magician like his father, the Great Mago. Unfortunately, he is not very good at casting spells. Instead of creating a pot of soup for his village, Enzo’s spell brings a pot overflowing with soap. His father keeps encouraging him to study and tells him to find his own kind of magic. Enzo also likes to study math and in particular admires Galileo and Johannes Kepler. It is this love of math that will serve him well when the shoemaker’s little sister pays a visit to his home. She explains that her brother has received an unusual request. He needs to make 12 pairs of shoes out of one piece of leather. Who has made such a request? The castle housekeeper, who is desperately looking for Enzo’s father to work his magic and help the shoemaker produce the shoes for 12 princesses. Since Enzo’s father is out of town, it is up to him to discover a way to create the shoes from the leather. With his spell casting skills being spotty at best, it will be tessellations that save the day for the shoemaker and Enzo.

Toads and Tessellations could serve as a read-aloud introduction for a unit on tessellations. Sprinkled throughout the book are 27 tessellations for readers to find. Enzo can also serve as an example of determination as he never gives up and works hard to find solutions to the problems that face him.

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 Jeff Barger All Rights Reserved.