STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

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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Author: Roberta Gibson

My debut picture book, HOW TO BUILD AN INSECT came out April 6, 2021. Trained as a scientist, I blog about science and nature at Growing With Science and about children's books at Wrapped in Foil.

7 thoughts on “STEM Friday: Science in Action

  1. At SimplyScience, I have Citizen Scientists by Loree Griffin Burns.

  2. Here is my “STEM Fiction Book Review” of Theodore Taylor’s “The Bomb.”

    • Theodore Taylor was an interesting writer. Kudos for “thinking outside the box” on this one.

  3. Sorry to be late to the STEM Friday Party…. over at Archimedes Notebook we’re Mapping Streams.

    • Your steam looks lovely, Sue. Your mapping activity is so appropriate because of the droughts this year.