STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


Our Food: A Healthy Serving of Science and Poems

ourfood

Our Food: A Healthy Serving of Science and Poems
by Grace Lin (Author), Ranida T. McKneally (Author), and Grace Zong (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Cheerful haiku poems and a simple Q&A format make this book a nutritious treat and get kids talking about the science of food, the five food groups, and what a healthy meal looks like with questions like “Why are so many vegetables green?”, “What’s the difference between brown bread and white bread?”, and “Why do beans make you gassy?”

Snippet:
Why do beans make you gassy?

Beans are coated with a type of sugar that your body can’t easily break down. Your body needs help from bacteria, living things so small you need a microscope to see them.

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

Copyright © 2016 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

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Secret Coders: Paths & Portals

secretcoderspathsportals

Secret Coders: Paths & Portals
by Gene Luen Yang (Author) and Mike Holmes (Illustrator)

Booktalk: There’s something lurking beneath the surface of Stately Academy―literally. In a secret underground classroom Hopper, Eni, and Josh discover that the campus was once home to the Bee School, an institute where teachers, students, and robots worked together to unravel the mysteries of coding. Hopper and her friends are eager to follow in this tradition and become top-rate coders. But why are Principal Dean and the rugby team suddenly so interested in their extracurricular activities?

Snippet:
9781626723405-secretcoderspathsportals_zoom

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

Copyright © 2016 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


Early readers from National Geographic

ngk-peek-otterNational Geographic Kids has a series of readers that range from pre-reader to fluent reader. Here’s a trio of titles that my kids would have loved when they were beginning to read

Peek Otter, by Shira Evans is full of active language: “Peek, otter!”, “Run to the river,” and “Jump!”. Each page or spread is a photo, with simple sentences in large type. Granted, some of the words are above pre-reader level. But once the child hears the story a couple of times, she/he will be able to read some words and fill in the rest of the story. And that’s what pre-reading is all about, right?

Evans also wrote Dive, Dolphin! another pre-reader. Like Otters, it is filled with action words. Both books relay information about how the animals hunt, what sort of food they eat, and their family life.

ngk-dive-dolphinAt the beginning of each book there’s a “Vocabulary Tree” with categories of words. For example: where they live (ocean); what they have (flipper, tail); and my favorite, what they do (active verbs). So an early reader could learn words like dive, jump, play, leap, flip, peek … and then act them out.

At the back of each book is an activity – a matching game or story sequencing challenge.

Bears, by Elizabeth Carney is written for “fluent readers”, children who are reading on their own and are ready for “more challenging vocabulary and varied sentence structures”.  Each page features awesome photos, but this level has twice as many pages as the pre-readers – 48 instead of 24. And there are many more words on the page.

The format is more structured as well, with a table of contents, material divided into brief chapters, photographs with captions, and sidebars. There’s also a glossary and an index. Like the other readers, Bears ends with an activity – though in this case it’s a quiz.

ngk-bearsWhile there’s tons of great information about bears, my favorite section was about animals that have “bear” in their name but aren’t bears. For example, Tardigrades, called “water bears” and “Bearcats” which are neither bear nor cat.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2016 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Baby Loves Quarks!

babylovesquarks

Baby Loves Quarks! (Board book)
by Ruth Spiro (Author) and Irene Chan (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this book explores the basics of particle physics and chemistry – quarks, protons, neutrons, atoms and molecules – and ties it all to baby’s world. Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!

Snippet:

baby-loves-quarks-spread

Ruth is one of my former students!

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

Copyright © 2016 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


Dining with Dinosaurs

dining-with-dinosDining with Dinosaurs: a tasty guide to Mesozoic munching

by Hannah Bonner

48 pages; ages 7-10

National Geographic Kids, 2016

If you are starving for dinosaur knowledge, this book serves up a full-course meal of mouthwatering Mesozoic food facts. Starting with who ate who. Or whom. It’s a basic intro to the “vores” – carnivores eating herbivores who are eating plants which are gobbling down photons at an alarming rate.

We meet the meat eaters – carnivores of all sizes from mega-huge to eagle-sized. There are omnivores that eat anything they can get their hands on, insectivores who eat bugs, and fish-chomping piscivores. There were even dinovores –  dinos that ate dinos – and scavengers that ate anything dead, including dinos past their expiration date.

Then we meet the herbivores, plant-eaters of all sizes, makes and models from tiny crickets with huge appetites to the extra-large Diplodocus who nibbled leaves from the tops of the trees.

Along the way, Hannah (she’s the author) and her Microraptor paleo pal introduce us to scientists who explain tough questions about dinosaur poop, teeth, and more. They even interview a Mesozoic plant about its diet.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for some additional fun and games.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2016 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Nuclear Physicist Chien-Shiung Wu

nuclearphysicistchienshiungwu

Nuclear Physicist Chien-Shiung Wu (Stem Trailblazer Bios)
by Valerie Bodden (Author)

Booktalk: Growing up in China, Chien-Shiung Wu enjoyed learning about science. As an adult, she earned her PhD in physics and made a discovery that changed the field forever.

Wu came to the United States to study physics. Soon she was a sought-after physics professor. As an expert in the field, she left teaching to work on secret government programs. She even helped disprove a major law of physics. But how did she get there? Find out how Wu’s persistence drove her contributions in the field of physics.

Snippet: After reading hundreds of pages of research, the scientists found that the law of conservation of parity had never been proved through experiments.

Wu did not think the law was likely to be disproved. But without experimental results, they might never know if the law held up. So Wu spent months designing an experiment to test it. She created much of the equipment for the experiment herself.

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

Copyright © 2016 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


Two books for animal lovers

My kids loved frogs. And otters, crickets, turtles … they always wanted to know what made animals work. Here are two books that help answer some of those questions.

see-thru-frogsSee-Thru Frogs (see-thru books series)

by Sherry Gerstein

28 pages; ages 7-10

Millbrook Press, 2016

The cool thing about frogs is that you find them anywhere: in ponds, in the wooded areas behind a park, even in sewers under city streets. In this book, kids learn how frogs breathe, swim, and leap.

What I like about this book: The “see-thru” pages help illustrate the insides of frogs – their skeleton and internal organs. You can see that we share similar bones with frogs (backbone, humerus) – but their food bones are much longer and they don’t have neck bones so they can’t turn their heads like we can.

There are tips on distinguishing frogs from toads, an overview of the class Amphibia, and a spread celebrating the diversity of frogs.

animal-legsAnimal Legs

by Mary Holland

32 pages; ages 4-8

Arbordale Publishing, 2016

Legs and feet come in many shapes, numbers, and sizes. They are used to paddle, jump, cling, dig, warn others, catch food and even taste food! The way an animal’s legs and feet look can tell you a lot about how it lives.

Mary Holland is a naturalist who observes animals closely and takes wonderful photographs. In this book she focuses her attention on legs.

What I like about this book: The close-up photos of caterpillar legs, spiny mantid legs, butterfly and frog feet, grouse and mole toes. Every page is packed with details about webbing, spines, flaps, toenails. Some animals walk on their toes; others walk on their toenails. We walk on our whole foot.

I also like the back-matter: extra information for curious minds and a matching game.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for hands-on beyond-the-book activities.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2016 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.