STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

A Breathtaking View…of Science at Its Most Spellbinding

2 Comments

Full disclosure: As a child, I was bored out of my mind by science. And math. And the computer classes I took in high school as my sole available alternative to Advanced Home Ec. Throughout the years of my primary and secondary education, these subjects didn’t simply go over my head: They never made me want to jump up and catch them.

Those early, uninspiring experiences with STEM subjects shaped my default attitude as an adult…until quite recently, when I picked up Tales from the Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest with Pete Athans (Millbrook Press, ©2013).


Written by Sandra K. Athans (the sister of mountaineering legend Pete, aka “Mr. Everest”) for kids ages 9 and up, this book doesn’t read like a science text. It reads like an epic adventure story. Because it is. The inside scoop on Mount Everest offers everything a reader could want: action, suspense, deadly peril, incredible courage, and an unbeatable view…all intertwined with the magic of STEM.

When scaling Mount Everest, climbers need extensive scientific knowledge (and a solid grasp of math, engineering, and technology, for that matter) if they expect to…

  • recognize and treat frostbite before it turns someone’s face black. (By that point, it’s pretty easy to recognize.)
  • recognize and treat hyperthermia. That’s right: hyper. As in too much. Too much heat, on Mount Everest. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Guess you don’t know enough science yet.
  • handle a variety of high-altitude illnesses with punchy acronyms.
  • assemble a makeshift kitchen to melt ice for drinking water. Suddenly that solar oven I built in sixth grade takes on new significance.
  • pilot a paraglider safely.
  • make an informed decision about whether yetis exist.

And let’s not forget that everything on this list is a matter of life and death. (Minus the yeti issue…probably….) Boring? Not so much. As I discovered far too late in life, science can be an adventure, and the greatest adventures are often deeply related to science.

So if I, cynical anti-STEM crone that I am, can be captivated and blown away by this book, then there’s hope for every kid who thinks science is boring. There’s a chance that, if the right book comes along, she’ll be inspired to jump up and climb a mountain.

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 Lerner Publishing Group All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “A Breathtaking View…of Science at Its Most Spellbinding

  1. This book does look great! I heard the author speak at the recent Central NY conference- she was funny, interesting, and a powerful presenter!
    I’ve reviewed the book The Wolves are Back this week over on my blog, Tamarack Writes. http://tamarackwrites.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-wolves-are-back.html

  2. I remember her talk, too – she managed to talk about climbing & writing & finding one’s way on Everest or through a manuscript. Over at Archimedes Notebook I’ve got a video of what happens when you wring a washcloth out in space.
    http://archimedesnotebook.blogspot.com/2013/05/surface-tension-on-earth-in-space.html