STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Smart Crows

crow-smartsCrow Smarts: inside the brain of the world’s brightest bird (Scientists in the Field series)

by Pamela S. Turner; photos by Andy Comins

80 pages; ages 10 – 12

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

“Is a crow smarter than a second grader?” That’s the question this book opens with – and the question Roberta posed a couple weeks ago on this same blog. The answer:  a resounding “yes”. Thing is, you might not recognize crow intelligence unless you know what you’re looking for. They don’t write essays or take multiple choice tests. What they do is solve problems.

In this book, author Pamela Turner spends time with scientists studying New Caledonian crows. In the wild, these birds fashion tools to spear their food. One chapter focuses on how a juvenile crow learns tool-making from his parents and by trial-and-error. She devotes an entire chapter to tool-making and another to the challenges that scientists presented to the birds including problems that required multiple steps to solve.

What I love about this book – about Turner’s nonfiction in general – is that it is fun to read! She takes you into the jungle with the scientists, and shares the logic crows use to puzzle out solutions. There are maps and sidebars and an “ask the author” section at the end.

I wanted to “ask the author” a whole lot of questions – and she happily answered them. You can read my interview with her over at Archimedes Notebook – where, next week, you’ll find a bunch of hands-on science activities for bird brains.

STEM Friday

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

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Author: Sue Heavenrich

I write about science and environmental issues for children and their families.

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