STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

STEM and Wildflowers

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Welcome to the November 23, 2012 edition of STEM Friday.  Thank you to everyone who participated

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Today we are featuring a picture book biography,  Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein.

We are fast approaching the the centennial of Lady Bird Johnson’s birth, December 22, 2012, and it seemed like a perfect time to investigate her life and also learn more about wildflowers.

You may wonder how a picture book about a former first lady who loved wildflowers could be used as a jumping off point for STEM. Here are just a few ideas (go to Growing With Science blog for links and more information):

Science:

  • Plant life cycles
  • Plant identification
  • Ecology issues, such as how introduced and invasive plants change an area
  • Food webs
  • Weather and climate, and how that effects plants

Technology:

  • Use a computer program to design a wildflower garden
  • Make two weather stations and compare the weather in a wildflower garden versus a parking lot

Engineering:

Wildflower seeds come in many different sizes and shapes. Investigate how wildflower seeds are planted, harvested, processed, and packaged for sale. Can you think of a machine to do this in a better way?

Math:

  • Look for patterns in a wildflower garden
  • Search for Fibonacci’s numbers in flowers
  • Calculate the perimeter and area of a garden

Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers is a beautiful book about an inspiring lady. Hopefully, it will encourage some young scientists and engineers, as well.

Related Activity:  Check either Kathi Appelt‘s (click on the icon next to the “brand new” image) or Joy Fisher Hein‘s websites for a fun activity kit (in .pdf) to download that accompanies the book. The kit includes a word search, card matching game and many ideas for hands-on learning.

From our participants:

Shirley at Simply Science has another picture book that celebrates wild plants:  Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith and illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin. She also has suggestions for science activities.

Sally’s Bookshelf is featuring Even an Octopus Needs a Home by Irene Kelly, a picture book that celebrates animals’ homes.

Sue at Archimedes Notebook has suggested an activity for this season, looking at trees without leaves.

Wrapped In Foil blog has a review of a fictional picture book with wildflowers that would be a good pairing with Miss Lady Bird’s Flowers:  the classic Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.

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Author: Roberta

Trained as a scientist, I blog about science and nature at Growing With Science, and about children's books at Wrapped in Foil.

3 thoughts on “STEM and Wildflowers

  1. Sally’s Bookshelf reviews “Even an Octopus Needs a Home” by Irene Kelly. http://sallysbookshelf.blogspot.com/2012/11/even-octopus-needs-home.html

  2. Today’s Sci/Why post is about rambling rocks and a rambling geologist. http://sci-why.blogspot.ca/2012/11/clues-in-rocks.html