STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


Exploring Bird Science with Bird-acious by Melissa Stewart

Melissa Stewart is an award-winning children’s book author who specializes in nonfiction and particularly science. Today we’re highlighting her book, Bird-acious.

bird-acious

This book deserves a second look because it is a fun and educational introduction to birds for young readers. It contains big color photographs and interesting facts. It covers everything from feathers and flying to beaks and eating. There’s even a two-page spread that features photographs of cool bird tongues and describes what the various structures are used for.

But Bird-acious offers even more. In the cover image above, do you see the brown mass in the yellow oval to the right, just under the title? That is an actual owl pellet for kids to dissect. A bird book with its own hands-on activity included, how cool is that?

Want to find out what an owl pellet is? Check out the complete review at Growing with Science blog.

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

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Animal Planet’s Strange Animals

We seem to have an animal theme going on today at STEM Friday. I’m featuring a Cybils finalist in the elementary/juvenile nonfiction categoryAnimal Planet Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals by Charles Ghigna.

animal-planet-strange-animals

Kids go wild over these kinds of books. With over 200 photographs of weird animals and text by award-winning poet and children’s author Charles Ghigna, how can you go wrong?

First up are the Strange animals. Some of the animals include the blobfish, which was once voted the world’s ugliest animal (see video below); the red-lipped batfish, which turns out can’t swim very well; and the lowland streaked tenrec, a tiny animal which looks like it got tangled up with the spines of a porcupine. After all the weird creatures in that section, it’s hard to imagine what they found for the Unusual, Gross, and Cool animal categories that follow.

Budding zoologists will definitely dare take a look at Animal Planet Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals. In fact, even the most reluctant reader will want to explore it. Check out a copy today!

Hop, leap or fly over to Growing with Science blog for a review, suggested activity, and a video about that really strange blobfish.

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2016 Roberta Gibson at Growing with Science All Rights Reserved.

 


Easy Plastic Bottle Science Activities

Today we are featuring a middle grade title Cool Plastic Bottle and Milk Jug Science (Recycled Science) by Tammy Enz.

milk-jug-science

Tammy Enz has come up with nine intriguing science activities that reuse plastic containers. It’s a win-win scenario because plastic containers provide inexpensive containers for science projects, and finding new purposes for water bottles or milk jugs keeps them out of the landfill.

The instructions for the activities are short and clear. There’s a list of materials you’ll need, step-by-step instructions how to put it together, photographs showing the set up, and a brief explanation of what’s happening. Activities range from making a cloud in a bottle in a few minutes to a longer term composting worm farm.

Cool Plastic Bottle and Milk Jug Science is perfect for a busy educator who needs a science activity fast. The best part is the materials are inexpensive and generally readily available. If you are doing science with kids, it’s a great book to have on hand.

If you are looking for activities to accompany the book, stop by Growing With Science blog.

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2016 Roberta Gibson at Growing with Science All Rights Reserved.

 


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Hopping Ahead of Climate Change with Snowshoe Hares

Many people have heard about the plight of polar bears, having to swim farther and farther to find food because of the melting sea ice in the Arctic. Our featured middle grade nonfiction title Hopping Ahead of Climate Change by Sneed B. Collard III, chronicles Professor Scott Mills’s studies on the effects of climate change on a smaller, cuter animal: the snowshoe hare.

 

hopping-ahead-of-climate-change

Snowshoe hairs turn white in the winter and brown in the summer. How is climate change a threat to them? As with other animals that change color with the seasons, the hares are triggered to molt their hair by changes in day length rather than temperature. That means when the nights start to get longer, the hares change to white, regardless of whether it has started to snow or not. Recently, the snows have been coming later and later in the season where snowshoe hares live. As you might imagine, a stark white hare is probably more vulnerable to predators on bare ground than on snowy ground. Professor Mills and his students test that hypothesis.

Pick up Hopping Ahead of Climate Change for students interested in environmental issues, animals, or science. You will be glad you did.

And while you’re at it, be sure to stop by Growing with Science blog for more information about the book and related science activities.

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2016 Roberta Gibson at Growing with Science All Rights Reserved.

 


Crow Smarts: Can Birds Be Smarter Than a Second Grader?

We are featuring the new middle grade book Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird by Pamela S. Turner and photographs by Andy Comins today at Growing With Science blog.

crow-smarts

Crow Smarts chronicles Dr. Gavin Hunt’s intriguing research into tool use and learning by New Caledonian crows.

Why New Caledonian crows? It turns out they have a lot going for them. They are pretty smart. Not only can they use sticks as tools to pry their food- in this case large beetle larvae – out of wood, but also they can fashion new tools by shaping and modifying twigs and stems. As more sophisticated experiments have shown, they have a remarkable ability to solve problems (see some of the videos below). They also have bigger eyes than other species of crows and their eyes are closer to the front of their head, which means they have better depth perception.

Although the special crows are fascinating enough, author Pamela Turner’s discussion of Dr. Hunt’s research is written with just the right touch of humor to keep young readers fully engaged. For example, she notes one of the crows is named “Crow we never got around to naming.” Many of her observations are highly entertaining.

Andy Comins’s amazing birds-eye-view photographs (see the one on the cover above) help us see the crows as individuals. It isn’t easy to photograph active birds in the wild, and he makes us feel like we are right there studying the birds, too.

Whether you have read all of books in the Scientists in the Field series or none of them, you are going to want to pick up this one. Perfect for anyone interested in learning, animal behavior, birds, tool use, or science in general.

Be sure to stop by Growing with Science for bird science activity suggestions to accompany the book.

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2016 Roberta Gibson at Growing with Science All Rights Reserved.

 


About Marine Mammals

Swim on over to Growing with Science blog where we are highlighting the newest edition to the About… series by Cathryn Sill and John Sill:  About Marine Mammals: A Guide for Children.

about marine mammals

The Sills are a talented couple who have been collaborating on books in the award-winning About… series and the About Habitats series. If you have seen their work before, you know what to expect. John Sill’s gorgeous watercolor illustrations catch the readers’ eyes. Then they turn to Cathryn Sill’s clear, uncomplicated language. In remarkably few words she explains the scene and draws readers into it.

The “Afterward” in the back matter contains more detailed information about each of the previous scenes with a paragraph about each next to thumbnails of the illustrations. For example, did you know polar bears can be considered to be marine mammals? They swim between blocks of floating ice looking for other marine mammals such as seals.

Planning a trip to the beach? About Marine Mammals would be a perfect book to get children inspired about ocean creatures before the trip, learn more about what they see during the trip, and reinforce memories and learning after the trip. Not traveling? It would also be a wonderful way to take a trip to distant, cool places in your imagination.

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2016 Roberta Gibson at Growing with Science All Rights Reserved.

 

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Conrad Storad’s Latest: The Bat Book

Last Friday I had the honor of attending a workshop by children’s author Conrad Storad. Interesting fact:  In a short time he will surpass his goal of reading his books to over 1,000,000 children. Yes, that’s 1 million children. Amazing!

In his newest picture book, The Bat Book illustrated by Nate Jensen and Tristan Jensen,  Storad uses a story within a story format to engage young readers. In the book Little Boy Bat, the main character who lives under the famous Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, decides to write a book to help humans learn bats are not frightening. The result is both enlightening and fun.

 

The Bat Book

 

Children will probably be interested to know that Tristan Jensen was 8 years old when he did some of the illustrations for the book. His contributions are on pages 13-22, with some more detailed insets created by his dad.

Storad also throws lots of scientific information about bats into the mix and the backmatter is stuffed. There’s two pages of “Facts to drive you batty,” information on “Researching Bats,” “How to Help Bats,” all about Little Boy Bat (what kind of bat he is, etc.), notes from the author and illustrator about how they created the book, and “How to Draw a Bat” activity.

The Bat Book is full of passion about bats and that enthusiasm is sure to spill over to the reader. Don’t be “scared” to pick a copy up today.

Fly on over to Growing With Science Blog for more information and links to related activities.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2015 Roberta Gibson at Growing with Science All Rights Reserved.