STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

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STEM Friday: It’s Electric!

Explore Electricity! with 25 Great Projects
by Carmella Van Vleet

Zap! Electricity i9781619301801s all around us. You wake up, you turn on the light, turn up the thermostat, open the refrigerator to get your orange juice, put some bread in the toaster for breakfast, and then lightening cracks outside. Everywhere we turn, our world is affected by the power of electricity.

In Carmella Van Vleet’s new book from Nomad Press, Explore Electricity! with 25 Great Projects, kids 6-9 will learn how humans discovered electricity and harnessed it for their own use. Circuitry, how currents work, electromagnetism, how motors work, alternative electricity – all of these topics are accompanied by glossary words, bits of fun information, safety tips, and hands-on projects that are easy and fun to do.

Did you know a frog helped invent the battery? An Italian teacher was using metal tools to dissect a frog when the dead frog actually moved! Another teacher, Alessandro Volta, heard about the moving dead frog and eventually proved that an electric charge had passed between the metal tools. He discovered that chemical reactions between molecules could cause electrons to move, and if the electrons passed through a conductor (like frog juice!) they could produce an electric charge. A battery was born!


With Explore Electricity!, kids can create their own circuit, make a lemon battery, experiment with static electricity, and lots of other fun projects. Have fun discovering the power of the world around you!

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


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.
  • 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!)

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Happy STEM Friday to all!
Andi from Nomad


Cybils: Honoring Some of the Best STEM Books of 2013

Yay! The Cybils award winners were announced today.


Quite a few strong STEM books were nominated in the Elementary/Middle-Grade Nonfiction category last year and four made it to the finalist round.

The three runner-ups were:


The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham is a rare treat. This picture book biography explores the life of mathematician Paul Erdös, with the important messages that math can be exciting and interesting and that it is okay to be different from everyone else. Heiligman’s passion for her topic shines through.

Also reviewed by:


Volcano Rising by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Susan Swan

Previously reviewed here at STEM Friday


How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge places dinosaurs next to common objects to give children something concrete to which to compare. Children will probably be surprised how small some of the dinosaurs were. Towards the back of the book there is a double fold out section that explains more about each dinosaur. Unless you are a dinosaur expert, you might want to look at that section first because it contains pronunciation guides to some of the tongue-twister names you’ll need to learn.

Previous reviews:


And the winner is:

Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate

LeBlanc uses a conversational style and fun cartoon illustrations sure to attract some new interest in birdwatching.

Previously reviewed by:

For more information, see today’s host, Growing with Science.

Are you sharing a review of a STEM book on your blog? Have you reviewed one of the above titles? Feel free to leave a link in the comments.

STEM Friday

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

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1 Cookie, 2 Chairs, 3 Pears

1 Cookie, 2 Chairs, 3 Pears: Numbers Everywhere by Jane Brocket. (Lerner, 2014)

This is a simple counting book from one to twenty, that features bright photographs of everyday items.  It’s eye-catching, simple and attractive – showcasing the many ways that each number can be represented,

7  Can you count how many eggs in the bowl?
How many fruits in a row?
How many socks in a box?
That’s right, seven.

The focus here is simple.  There are an infinite amount of ways in which any number may be represented, and numbers may be found everywhere!

For you teachers, here are the reading levels:

Reading Level: 2
Interest Level: PreK-2
Ages: 4-8
Guided Reading: I
Lexile Level: 430

City kids are typically taught the sights and sounds of the farm, just as farm kids are taught the sights and sounds of the city.  A child’s exposure to the world writ large should not be limited by where she lives or what her family can afford. Do expect, however, that some kids will know the familiar refrigerator magnets, fallen leaves and school clock in 1 Cookie, 2 Chairs, 3 Pears, but will not have an immediate connection with embroidered tablecloths, wax oil crayons, fresh cherries, or perfectly decorated confections. Still, it’s a simple, refreshing and visually appealing book. Take a look for yourself.  The publisher offers a “Look Inside
It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

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by Christy Hale
ages 2 and up
Lee & Low Books, 2012

“If they can dream it, they can build it,” says architect and engineer Madhu Thangavelu. This is the essence of Dreaming Up, a unique picture book that intuitively connects children’s natural impulse to create and build to an understanding and appreciation of innovative works of architecture. Illustrations of children at play using stacking cups, wooden blocks, Popsicle sticks, Legos, snowballs, sofa cushions, and more are paired with lively concrete poems and shown opposite notable works of architecture from around the world that look as if they were inspired by the children’s simpler creations.

DREAMING UP int spreads hi res 8

DREAMING UP int spreads hi res 16

The book is further enhanced—especially for older readers—with backmatter that includes descriptions of the buildings depicted and architect biographies, portraits, and quotes.

Dreaming Up sparks learning activities on many levels. Here are just a few of the possibilities: look for shapes in the illustrations and photographs; provide building materials for children to build their own structures; learn more about the buildings pictured and the architects who designed them; meet and talk to a practicing architect; explore careers in construction, building, engineering, and architecture.

Come be inspired to play—dream—build—discover!

STEM Friday

It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

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How Many Jelly Beans?

How many jelly beans?
How many jelly beans?

MATHEMATICS (K-2) How Many Jelly Beans? by Andrea Menotti GRL J ATOS 1.5

Help K-5 students answer this essential question (and meet the Common Core State Standards) with the Teaching STEM lesson plans for this mentor text.

Essential Question: What would a million of something look like?

Unit Summary: Students will examine the essential question, “What would a million of something look like?” They will explore numbers of increasing size through the enlarging number of jelly beans pictured in the book. They will color sets of five jelly beans and practice skip counting by five as they complete each row on the graphic organizer.

The Library Activity begins on page 182. The Collaborative Teacher Activity is on page 184.

Extension Activities (sample)

1. Give each student ten jelly beans or ten bite-sized candies. Have them write story problems and the number sentences using subtraction as they eat them.

2. Bring in a package of beans or peas. Ask the students how many beans are in the package. Then give a handful to each person until they are all distributed. Ask them to count their beans and write it down. Then have the students make piles of tens and re-count the beans. Ask which way is easier. Count the beans by 10s for everyone in the class to get the total number of beans. Then take a set amount of beans and write number sentences. You can do this with numbers up to 20 to review addition and subtraction or make larger numbers. Group the students and have them work together with more beans.

3. After reading the book, have the students write a short description of the main idea of the book. Use the phrase, “I am a mathematician. I know that _________.”

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Carnival of Children’s Literature Groundhog Day Edition

Happy Groundhog Day! Last week the WordPress bot shut down the new Carnival of Children’s Literature blog before all of the posts were sent out, so on Sunday (the real Groundhog Day) I started the 2014 carnival all over again…on Pinterest! Well, I wanted the books we shared in the carnival to get pinned there, so now we’ll do it ourselves!

I added links on Pinterest to the blogs that came through before the bot shut us down. If your link did not go through, please email me so I can add it.


In February we will take the next step and make a GROUP BOARD:

What’s a group board?

A group board is a board that you, and others you invite, can all pin to.


I will set up the February Carnival of Children’s Literature on Wednesday, February 26th.

To add you to the group board, I need to know your Pinterest email address. (If you are NOT on Pinterest yet, this will give you time to join.)

I will make a call for addresses on February 26th. That will give us February 27th and 28th to add our links. (February is a short month!)


Anastasia Suen, Carnival of Children’s Literature Manager

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