STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Whoosh!: A Watery World of Wonderful Creatures


Whoosh!: A Watery World of Wonderful Creatures
by Marilyn Baillie (Author) and Susan Mitchell (Illustrator)

Booktalk: A wonderful, whimsical exploration of various animals in the water and the ways in which children can, and do, mimic them! Each spread features an animal in a watery scene opposite a child mimicking the animal’s activity in some way. From splashing like a dolphin to fishing like a heron, from snoozing like an alligator to hiding like a clownfish, the echoing images bring to life the real ways that animals behave — and reveal how there’s a little bit of animal in all of us. The book closes with a “Guess What?” section that provides brief and quirky facts about the animals featured throughout.

I’m a river otter pup. My mom pulls me into the chilly water for my first swimming lesson. Patiently, she teaches me to paddle and dive. Look at me float!



Jump in the WATER and Join the Fun!
Read the rebus at the back of the book and try all of the ways to get up and move, such as scuttling like a crab or waddling like a penguin.

STEM Friday

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

Check out my new #kidlit #bookaday blog Writing Lessons for #6traits #mentortexts M-F.

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Two Books That Offer Different Ways to Cover Plant Science

Educational standards suggest introducing plant science concepts in Kindergarten, or even in preschool. Today at Wrapped in Foil Blog we are featuring two children’s books for that level that approach the same material in different, but complimentary ways.

The first is All About Roots (All About Plants) by Claire Throp.


All About Roots is an informational beginning reader that presents the concepts in a logical and straightforward way. It uses carefully-controlled vocabulary and short sentences. The illustrations are high quality color photographs, most of which focus on different kinds of roots. Readers will learn that roots support the plant, and help the plant take in water and nutrients. They will also learn what roots look like and what common foods come from roots.

The other books in the All About Plants series also emphasize plant structures and their functions:  All About Flowers, All About Leaves, All about Stems, and All About Seeds.

In contrast, Plants Feed Me by Lizzy Rockwell covers many of the same concepts, but with a very different feel and look.



The first thing the reader notices about this book is the brightly colored-pencil-and-gouache illustrations, starting with the cover. The second is that the illustrations are filled with a lively selection of smiling children with a diversity of looks. The presence of children throughout the book draw readers in by making them feel like they are part of the action.

Another factor that draws readers in is the story is told in the first person by a young boy. The very first line is: “I am a plant eater.” The use of the first person is unusual for informational books like this, but it works well. The main thrust of this book is that plants provide us with food.

Plants Feed Me is a nonfiction book that is likely to appeal to a wide variety of young readers. It is a must have for a beginning unit on plants and it would pair well with All About Roots.

For plant-science related activities, try our Children’s Garden Week at Growing with Science

STEM Friday

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

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Bee Dance

Bee Dance by Rick Chrustowski
(Henry Holt, 2015)


Suitable for sharing with a story time group, Bee Dance is presented as a conversational entreaty to bees,

Waggle faster, honeybee!

Buzz louder!

Your dance points the way to the prairie.”

Bee Dance is lyrical nonfiction with large, bright, cut-paper illustrations.  An author’s note contains additional facts and the author’s source material.

See a slide show of images from Bee Dance on the publisher’s website.

You can watch an actual “waggle dance” below.

Bee Dance was also reviewed on this site by Archimedes Notebook.  I thought it was worth mentioning again.

LEGO Space: Building the Future


LEGO Space: Building the Future
by Peter Reid (Author) and Tim Goddard (Author)

Booktalk: Spaceships, orbital outposts, and new worlds come to life in this unique vision of the future, built completely from LEGO bricks. A selection of step-by-step building instructions will have you constructing your own cosmic creations to play with at home. Marvel at interstellar battlecruisers, space pirates, charming robots, and other stunning builds from an amazing future!






STEM Friday

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

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Leaflets Three, Let It Be!

Leaflets Three, Let It Be!
written by Anita Sanchez; illustrated by Robin Brickman
2015 (Boyds Mills Press)
Source: Orange County Public Library

Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate having poison ivy. I remember having just graduated from college and interviewing for jobs while having red splotches on my arms and legs. So I’m not inclined to be sympathetic to this vile vine. But if I take the point of view of a woodland creature, I might think differently. Guess who provides a meal for rabbits and bears that are hungry after a tough winter? Poison ivy. Only humans are allergic. Protection for baby cardinals who are hungrily waiting in the nest? Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood poison ivy. Nectar that is used by bees to make tasty honey? Believe it or not, p.i. The leaves provide food for beetles, caterpillars and other insects. Tiny berries are a feast for birds. The big picture for Leaflets Three, Let It Be! is that poison ivy has been getting bad publicity from hacks like me. It is a valuable food and survival source for many animals. Sounds like a great nonfiction point of view lesson! Opinion papers could abound with this book. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the terrific cut paper illustrations from Robin Brickman. I’m delighted that I was able to meet her last month at the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference.

From now on, I will be more favorable toward poor ol’ poison ivy. I’ll just try hard not to embrace it. Check out more nonsense from Jeff at NC Teacher Stuff

Bark Scorpion


Bark Scorpion (Desert Animals Searchin’ for Shade)
by Meish Goldish (Author)

Booktalk: The sun shines on the hot desert sand. Meanwhile, a small animal with lobster-like pincers and a long tail hides under some tree bark. After the sun sets and the air cools, the creature—an Arizona bark scorpion—leaves its hideout and starts to hunt for prey.

It is a hot, dry afternoon in the desert.

A bark scorpion rests in a tree.

It hides under the tree bark to keep out of the burning sun.

During the day, the temperature can climb to 120°F (49°C).

Yet the scorpion stays cool in the shade of the bark.

See this page inside the book.

STEM + the Arts = STEAM

STEAM DIY Activity

Watch the ‘Bark scorpions’ invade Indio news video and test your front door. What will you do if you are bitten? Make an action plan and post it on the refrigerator.

STEM Friday

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

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Science on the Go

NG Quiz Whiz 5Summer is a time for exploration, whether you’re heading to the beach or going camping or exploring the local park. Here’s a trio of books from National Geographic Kids that are sized just right for taking along.

Quiz Whiz 5: 1,000 super fun mind-bending totally awesome trivia questions
by National Geographic Kids
176 pages; ages 8-12 (or older)

Tired of playing “I-Spy”, the roadside Alphabet Game, twenty questions? Then you need to tuck this into your travel bag for the next road trip. It’s got more than 1,000 brain-tickling questions, jokes, and trivia that relate to just about any topic.

Going to the beach? Challenge kids with questions about sharks and shells and ships. There’s sports trivia, movies and lots of animal questions. And there are answers at the back… so everyone can learn something new.

Check out more books for “on the go” science over at Archimedes Notebook.