STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

New Titles in Nomad’s Picture Book Science Series

Today we have four new titles in the Picture Book Science series by Andi Diehn and illustrated by Shululu (Hui Li). They will be coming out March 1, 2018.

Energy, Forces, Matter, and Waves will appeal to the young reader who loves to learn about words. Andi Diehn has a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing, so her approach is to make vocabulary shine. The titles start with a lively poem to introduce the topic. Next, the author shows how words can have one or more meanings in everyday usage. Finally, she exposes readers to the more specific definitions of the terminology as it is used in the physical sciences and delves into the concepts.

The creative and textured illustrations by Shululu (the pen name of artist Hui Li) add just the right amount of fun to every page.

“Try This” sidebars with instructions for simple hands-on activities are included in each book to encourage children to explore the concepts further.

Overall, this series would be perfect for children who are struggling to understand scientific vocabulary or needing a quick introduction to the physical sciences. Because these books introduce, define, and clarify concepts, they provide an important first step to scientific discovery.

For more information about each individual book, see our review at Wrapped in Foil blog. For more activities to accompany each book, see Growing with Science blog.

A Big Book of Weather

Little Kids First Big Book of Weather, by Karen de Seve

128 pages; ages 4-8. National Geographic Children’s Books, 2017

I like this book because it is so browsable. Sure, it’s divided into chapters. In fact there are seven of them, including a chapter focusing on hot weather, one focusing on windy weather, one on cold weather, and one on rainy weather. There’s a chapter devoted to clouds and one that explains how scientists study the weather (so we know what’s headed our way).

But here’s the thing: you can just flip through until something catches your eye – like the photo of an ice-encrusted car or the very cool photo that captures a raindrop splattering apart on a flower petal. Reading stuff on that page will make a kid want to dive in deeper, find out more.

There are also plenty of pop-up facts (textboxes) and questions that encourage conversations on the topic… like the last time you chased after a piece of paper blown away by the wind – or maybe it was a hat? There are games and mazes at the end of chapters and a great “parent’s” section at the back with more activities for curious kids.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook to catch another book about Meteorology and women who study the science.

STEM Friday

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

Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.

Google Cybersecurity Expert Parisa Tabriz


Google Cybersecurity Expert Parisa Tabriz
by Domenica Dipiazza (Author)

Booktalk: As a child, Tabriz loved to play games with her brothers–and she played to win. When she couldn’t outmuscle them, she tried to outsmart them. In high school, she excelled at math and science. She also liked drawing and painting. She considered a career as an artist and even as a police officer. Years later, Tabriz became an information security engineer at Google.



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

Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

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Geoengineering Earth’s Climate

Geoengineering Climate Change, by Jennifer Swanson

96 pages; ages 8-12. Twenty-First Century Books, 2017

Floods! Tornadoes! Super-hurricanes! Blizzards! Wildfires! Mudslides! These weather events and catastrophes have been increasing in the past couple decades and are related to climate change caused by a warming earth. Most scientists agree that human activity – primarily burning fossil fuels – is responsible. And of we don’t take action to prevent further warming, we’ll see even more drastic changes.

What can we do? The most obvious solution would be to stop burning fossil fuels. But some engineers propose we tackle the problem with … engineering. The propose constructing large-scale technologies to counteract climate change. Installations that would physically remove carbon from the air, or sequester carbon somehow. Some engineers propose crating artificial clouds to shade the earth, or send mirrors into space to reflect sunlight. Or shooting salt into clouds to make it rain.

Sounds farfetched, right? But scientists and agencies are already studying whether cloud-seeding is an effective way of manipulating where and when rain or snow falls. The problem: seeding clouds in one place can result in rain miles away, where it’s not needed. Still, China used cloud-seeding to maintain clear skies for the 2008 Olympics, Swanson writes.

As for carbon sequestration – why not simply plant more trees, and protect forests from clear-cutting? The amount of trees cut every year in tropical rainforests would, if left in place, absorb up to 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide. Left in place they also protect against erosion and provide habitat. There are other, less technical “engineered” solutions, too. Painting roads and rooftops white would reflect the sun’s rays. Planting more trees along roadways would shade and offer flood mitigation.

Swanson notes there are some sustainable things we can do right now to help mitigate climate change. In addition to planting trees we can insulate our homes and schools so they require less energy to heat and cool. We can conserve the energy we use by driving less, sharing rides, walking, and riding bikes. We can promote local renewable energy projects. And a big one: use less plastic. That’s because the production of plastic uses fossil fuels.

Back matter includes a great list of books for further reading and websites where you can learn more about projects around the world.

STEM Friday

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

Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.