STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


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Dazzle Ships

Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion
by Chris Barton (Author) and‎ Victo Ngai (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Desperate to protect ships from German torpedo attacks, British lieutenant-commander Norman Wilkinson proposed what became known as dazzle. These stunning patterns and colors were meant to confuse the enemy about a ship’s speed and direction. By the end of the war, more than four thousand ships had been painted with these mesmerizing designs.

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

Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

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The Elephant Whisperer

The Elephant Whisperer

by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence

256 pages; ages 10-14

Henry Holt & Co, 2017

I love nonfiction that reads like an adventure novel! Lawrence Anthony ran the Thula Thula reserve – 5,000 acres of undeveloped bush in the heart of Zululand, South Africa. It was home to white rhinos, cape buffalo, giraffes, zebras, lynx, antelope, and other animals, but no elephants. Anthony never thought to have elephants, until he hears of a small group of elephants being given away.

They’re “troublesome”, he’s warned. But he decides to take a chance on them and reinforces the fencing. They get out – many times – and Anthony decides he’ll have to sleep with them to let them know that they are safe and this is their home.

In between the adventures of tracking down escaped elephants and capturing poachers, Anthony tells about elephant social groups. He describes each of the animals in the herd, their personalities, and a whole lot about animal behavior. One thing he emphasizes: elephants are smart. They are tenacious problem-solvers.

Eventually the herd starts visiting his house – especially after he’s been away and is returning to the reserve. When they have babies, the females bring them to the house and “introduce” the babies to the human who is now an adopted member of the herd. Woven throughout the book is Anthony’s life on the reserve – including some tips for gardening in elephant territory.

“These elephants taught me that all life-forms are imporant to one another in our common quests for survival and happiness,” writes Anthony. “… there is more to life than just yourself, your own family, or your own kind.”

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Vicki Cobb’s How Could We Harness a Hurricane?

At Growing with Science blog we are featuring a 2018 Best STEM Book K-12 (National Science Teachers Association and the Children’s Book Council): How Could We Harness a Hurricane? by Vicki Cobb.

Hurricanes have certainly been in the news. This middle grade title is for kids who are looking for a deeper understanding of extreme weather. It not only explains what a hurricane is, but also offers discussions about whether we can stop hurricanes from forming, whether we can harness their energy, and whether we should we even try to “mess with Mother Nature.”

What I love about it is that it’s filled with hands-on experiments for those kids who learn by doing. For example, there’s an experiment to show how hot water flows through cold water, and a way to try Torricelli’s experiment.

How Could We Harness a Hurricane? investigates some difficult questions. It is perfect for older kids who want to seriously learn about hurricanes.

Be sure to visit Growing With Science for suggestions for activities and resources to accompany the book.

 


My Mummy is an Engineer

My Mummy is an Engineer
by Kerrine Bryan (Author),‎ Jason Bryan (Author),‎ and Marissa Peguinho (Illustrator)

Booktalk: A young girl introduces readers to the many aspects of her mother’s job as an engineer.

Snippet:

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

Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


How to Be an Elephant

How to Be an Elephant, by Katherine Roy

48 pages; ages 7 – 11. Roaring Brook Press, 2017

With flapping ears and whiffling trunks, the herd quickly relays the news. After 22 months of growing, a new baby is on her way.

There are so many things this young elephant needs to learn. She’ll learn about the importance of family. She’ll learn that her feet were made for walking. She’ll learn about all the ways to use her trunk and how to communicate with distant families.

What I like about this book: It’s info-packed, but so fun to read. Katherine Roy puts us right in the midst of a herd, so we get an intimate look at how young elephants grow up and the education they receive. I enjoyed learning more about the social groups of elephants, headed by a matriarch who protects them and leads them to water and food. Also the comparisons of young elephants to other youngsters who learn through play. Elephant children play games like “chase the enemy” with egrets, baboons, and other smaller neighbors; our children play tag and king of the hill. We need books like this to help our children understand how all life is connected, and how some species, like elephants, are keystone species for their ecosystems

More books about elephants, links, and elephant-related math and science over at Archimedes Notebook.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Polar Vortex and Climate Change

Polar Vortex and Climate Change
by Tamra B. Orr (Author)

Booktalk: This book relays the factual details of the 2014 Polar Vortex and climate change through three different perspectives. The narrative provides multiple accounts of the event, and readers learn details through the point of view of a college student, New Yorker, and coal miner. The text offers opportunities to compare and contrast various perspectives while gathering and analyzing information about a modern event.

Snippet:

See inside this book.

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

Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


Scuba Diving Spiders and More

There are so many cool animals living on our planet, and so many ways to introduce their stories to children. Here are a couple released last fall that I really enjoyed.

The Secret of the Scuba Diving Spider … and more! by Ana Maria Rodriguez

48 pages; ages 8 – 11. Enslow, 2017

Roger Seymour and Stefan Hetz, animal biologists, are scouting Germany’s northern countryside for the one-of-a-kind diving bell spider, the only spider that lives underwater.

It’s not an easy job: the spiders are only as long as one to three grains of rice; they’re hard to find in the water; and they are becoming rare because of habitat loss and pollution.  But the scientists find their spiders and we learn how the spiders build their diving bells.

What I like about this book: It’s got more than diving bell spiders. There are whistling caterpillars – they whistle warning calls to their buddies- as well as bats that jam signals from other bats, and zombie ladybugs. Yes! Zombie Ladybugs! And cockroaches because if you’re talking extreme bugs, you can’t leave the roaches out.

Informative, fun, filled with unexpected surprises about weird creatures – this book’s all that plus a hands-on activity at the end. And it’s filled with photos that will engage kids and draw them into the strange lives of these critters.

How Many Hugs? by Heather Swain; illus. by Steven Henry

32 pages; ages 4-8. Feiwel & Friends, 2017

From critters with no legs to those with hundreds, Heather Swain counts hugs. Using rhyme, she answers questions every kid has asked: how many legs does a millipede have?

What I like about this book: It’s fun. It’s imaginative. And it’s filled with math, especially division. For example, if you have two arms how many hugs can you give at one time? Just one – which is half of two.  As the number of  legs/arms increases, the math gets a bit harder. But the concept remains the same: H = L/2 (the number of hugs equals the number of legs divided by two). So…. that millipede with 750 legs? I’ll leave the math to you. And there’s back matter – a spread of facts about each animal and its leggy relatives.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for some Beyond-the-Book activities.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.