STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


Rocket Shoes Fiction Inspires STEAM Activities

Generally we feature nonfiction books here at STEM Friday, but that doesn’t mean a good fiction picture book can’t be used to promote STEM.

Take Rocket Shoes by Sharon Skinner and illustrated by Ward Jenkins.

José works hard to buy a pair of special rocket shoes. They are a blast. His neighbor thinks they are too dangerous, however, and talks the mayor into banning them. When the same neighbor gets into trouble during a snow storm, will José break the rules and put on his shoes to save the day?

This book has it all. It features diverse characters, text full of action verbs and catchy rhymes, just the right touch of humor, plus readers learn about conflict resolution in a lighthearted way (not at all pedantic). What more could you ask for?

How about plenty of potential to tie-in STEAM activities?  Check out Wrapped in Foil blog for suggestions for just a few of the many STEAM activities that could be inspired by the book. It is sure to fire up a child’s imagination.

Rocket Shoes is such a fun book that it will fly off the bookshelf. Share a copy with a young reader today!

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Chaos Theory and Fractals for Young Adults

Looking for a way to keep teenagers engaged in STEM?  Chaos Theory Uncovered: How Chaos and Fractals Shape Our World by E L Strauss might be just the ticket. It reveals how math can be used to help us understand and make predictions about large, complex events in a beautiful way.

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When you first open the book the computer-generated illustrations might just give you chills, particularly the swirling brightly-colored lines against a black background that are visual representations of chaos. The images of fractals are stunning as well, particularly the Mandelbrot set. Magic happens when art meets math.

Strauss helps the reader tiptoe into the topic by starting out with the history of how chaos theory came into being. In this case it started when a meteorologist noticed a problem when he ran simulations on a computer and delved into why the anomaly happened. He eventually proposed a model to explain it that would lead to the so-called “butterfly effect” and the foundations of chaos theory.

The concepts that follow build on each other each other in a logical progression that increases the reader’s understanding while keeping him or her engaged. The clear organization makes the text easy to follow even though the vocabulary is challenging.

The best part about the book is it is not watered down for kids. To get the most out of it, the reader should probably have a working understanding of at least algebra, and an inkling of beginning calculus would be helpful.

Chaos Theory Uncovered: How Chaos and Fractals Shape Our World is sure to help young adults and adults to understand complex math. It might also help some to discover an astonishing new passion. Create your own butterfly effect by picking up a copy today.

Stop by Growing with Science blog to see related activities and information.

 

STEM Friday

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Understanding Credit

UnderstandingCredit

Understanding Credit (Searchlight Books–How Do We Use Money?)
by Carla Mooney (Author)

Booktalk: It is easy to spend money when you have a credit card or a loan. But it is also easy to spend or borrow more than you can afford. How can you use credit responsibly? How can you avoid going into debt? Read this book to understand how credit works.

Snippet: A credit card lets you use debt to pay for something. When you use a credit card, you borrow money from a credit card company. You must pay back this money. Credit card companies also charge interest. Interest increases over time. The longer you take to pay back the money, the more you must pay.

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It’s back to school shopping time–a teachable moment for a lesson on spending and credit! Try the Take the Spending Challenge and play a game to see how paying with cash or credit affects how much you owe.

Carla is one of my former students!

STEM Friday

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100 Ways to Celebrate 100 Days

100 Ways to Celebrate 100 Days
by Bruce Goldstone (Author, Illustrator)

Booktalk: It’s the 100th day of school–what can you do to celebrate?

Here are 100 different ideas for celebrating this fun and important day.

Snippet:

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