STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


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Top Awards for STEM Titles

Top Awards for STEM Titles

By Melissa Stewart

While I was presenting at the SCBWI summer conference in Los Angeles, I couldn’t help but ask my audience a question I’ve been thinking about for a long time: Why don’t STEM titles seem to win the BIG awards in children’s literature as often as social studies titles? One person in the audience was so intrigued by my question that she asked me to lunch. Needless to say, we had quite a discussion.

When I tossed out that question on the spur of the moment, I didn’t have any data to back me up. (I know what you’re thinking. What kind of scientists am I?) But recently, I’ve looked back over past winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, and Sibert and tallied the nonfiction winners.

The Newbery was created in 1922, and the Caldecott was created in 1938. I reviewed the medalists and honor winners since 1995. The Silbert was created in 2001, so I tallied the winners since its inception.

Here are the results:

Newbery
Medal
Caldecott
Medal
Sibert
Medal
Total
biography 0 2 6 8
history 0 1 5 6
STEM 0 0 1 1
Newbery   Honor CaldecottHonor SibertHonor Total
biography 3 10 16 29
history 7 0 9 16
STEM 1 3 7 11

I have to admit that when I’ve read through these lists in the past, I came away with the impression that history titles had STEM beat hands down. But a closer look shows that history is only the clear leader among Newberys. Biographies are the big winners overall with a total score of 37 (8 medalists, 29 honors) overall. While history (22 overall) and STEM (12 overall) trail behind.

Then I took a closer look at the people featured in the biographies. It turns out that 23 are key historical figures and 8 are scientists. The rest are artists or musicians.

So why don’t STEM boosk win their fair share of accolades? What do you think?

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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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STEM Friday: The Invention of Time!

Did you know there’s a clock in Boulder, Colorado that can keep the time to within 1 second in 3.7 billion years?! It’s considered the most accurate clock in the world. It’s an optical clock, and what that means is that instead of using the vibration of atoms or molecules, like our current atomic clocks use, it uses light to keep time.

That’s pretty cool. But how did this method of keeping time evolve? And why is it even important to be this accurate?

When a child (or an adult for that matter!) asks, what is time, the explanation isn’t an easy one. Yes, time is a way to keep track of our lives—the school year, the season, the age of our dog (in human and doggy years)…it seems like time has always existed. Well, it has, but what time is today—seconds, minutes, days, etc.—isn’t what time was millions of years ago, when telling time didn’t exist as we know it. It’s easy to forget that the act of telling time is one of the greatest inventions of mankind!

It’s easy to forget that things like minutes and months are an invention in the first place! So that’s why we’re featuring, Timekeeping: Explore the History and Science of Telling Time with 15 Projects for today’s STEM Friday post. Because understanding timekeeping involves knowledge of all of these things: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Timekeeping, a book for kids ages 9-12,explores how humans have measured the passage of time since, well, since the beginning of “time,” when the sun told the time, and days were kept with a shadow clock. Nights were kept by the phases of the moon. It teaches kids about the process of mathematically calculating calendars, and about all of the phases our current Gregorian calendar has gone through to be the twelve-month, 365-day calendar that it is now. They’ll learn how to make a sundial and a clepsydra, a clock devised by the Egyptians that uses dripping water to track time. They’ll also learn cool facts like why Daylight Savings Time exists, and that another name for it is “War Time,” because it was originally implemented to save fuel during WWI.

The projects, facts, and much more make reading this book no waste of time!

Today’s post is part of STEM Friday, a weekly round-up of children’s science, engineering, math and technology books.

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.

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 Nomad Press. All Rights Reserved.


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The Wing Wing Brothers Math Spectacular!

The Wing Wing Brothers Math Spectacular!

written and illustrated by Ethan Long

2012 (Holiday House)

Source: Orange County Public Library

 

The Wing Wing Brothers are not a new chicken snack franchise, but instead a group of winged brothers who are no bird brains. These Fibonacci-like fowl put on an unprecedented math show for children of all ages. Walter, Wendell, Willy, Wilmer, and Woody put on a stage show in three acts. Act One features plate spinning to help youngsters with pesky greater than, less than, and equal equations. The end of the act is a smashing success that is unequaled. Act Two has a plethora of pie juggling and throwing to show students how addition and subtraction work. Willy is the superstar of this act with a surprise finish sure to please. The final act brings more addition and subtraction prestidigitation. What could be better for this than the magic box disappearing act? You can do quite a bit of addition and subtraction with this device. The ending of the show will leave audience members aghast.

 

Any time that you can add humor to a sometimes difficult subject like mathematics, it is greatly appreciated by teachers and parents. After reading this book, I could see students developing their own skits that illustrate addition and subtraction equations. The Wing Wing brothers will help young math students better understand the acts of putting together and taking apart in mathematics.

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.


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STEM Friday Tales of Animal Tails

Animal Tails by Beth Fielding

36 pages, ages 4-8

Early Light Books, 2011

There are almost as many kinds of tails as there are animals: scaly tails, curly tails, wagging tails, striped tails, tails that sting, tails that warn and even talking tails. Think rattlesnake.

Beth Fielding gives us a visual tour of animal diversity – but this time, instead of tongues and eyes, she’s got us checking out the back ends of animals. Each photo-packed spread focuses on one animal and the special role its tail plays in survival. With kangaroos, it’s balance: those super-long tails help kangaroos balance their weight when they’re jumping. Squirrels use their tails as umbrellas, folding them over their heads and back. When it stops raining they just shake the water off like you’d shake off a wet raincoat. And when it snows, squirrels use their tails to keep warm.

Fielding writes about lizard tails, chameleon tails, cat tails and bird tails – which act like rudders when they’re flying and air brakes when they want to slow down. She even has a section on caterpillar tails – useful for tricking predators into thinking the tail end is the head end.

On each page there’s a nifty fact, something to think about, or an experiment to try. Why are whale tails so effective? Put on a pair of snorkel fins and find out.

At the end there’s six pages of “Tail Talk”- more tales about tails, and even a bit about how animals use their tails to communicate. A dog’ll let you know its happy by wagging a tail – but did you know pigs wag their tails, too? Cats, on the other hand, only wag their tails when they are annoyed or ready to attack. Could this explain the age old animosity between cats and dogs?

Check out more tail tales over at Archimedes Notebook, and take a look at what other people are posting here today.

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 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.