STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


Two New National Geographic Books About Dogs

In time for National Puppy Day (March 23) and to celebrate the Year of the Dog, National Geographic is publishing not one, but two great nonfiction children’s books about dogs.

It’s a Puppy’s Life by photographer Seth Casteel is a picture book with an irresistible combination of adorable photographs of puppies and romping, bouncy partially-rhyming text.

As we would expect from National Geographic, the photographs are fantastic, funny and cute. We see puppies playing, sniffing, making a mess, and sleeping.

Where’s the science? In the back matter are 32 thumbnails of the photographs used in the book with captions that identify each by breed. The puppies range from basset hounds to Yorkshire terriers, allowing readers to explore the concept of inheritance and variation of traits, a Next Generation Science standard.

Even the most reluctant reader is going to enjoy It’s a Puppy’s Life. It is an obvious choice for anyone who is a dog enthusiast, plus would be a great choice to share for National Puppy Day, March 23.

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The second book is the middle grade title Dog Days of HistoryThe Incredible Story of Our Best Friends by Sarah Albee.

 

In this title, Albee starts out with a discussion of where dogs come from. The scientific name for dogs is Canis lupus familiaris, which indicates it is a subspecies of wolf (Canis lupus). In fact, dogs share most of their DNA with wolves, but show incredible variation in appearances.

The remainder of the book progresses in chronological order, with chapters exploring the relations of people and dogs in the ancient world, middle ages, etc., through modern times. Albee features famous dogs through history, like Lewis and Clark’s dog, Seaman. The final chapter wraps up with the role of dogs in modern culture and a glimpse of the future of dogs.

It’s a great reference for dog lovers that they will return to again and again.

See Growing with Science blog for the rest of the review, plus suggested science activities to accompany the books.

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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.


Explore Light Pollution Issues With Dark Matters

At Growing With Science today we are featuring a timely new book for middle grades, Dark Matters:  Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution by Joan Marie Galat.

 

Set up a bit differently than most nonfiction, each chapter in Dark Matters starts with Joan’s reminisces about her childhood experiences with night and lights. The personal stories draw in young readers and help give perspective to the more technical informational sections that follow. They also remind the reader that our environment is changing from one generation to the next. Young children may never have seen the Milky Way because light pollution is so prevalent.

After establishing what light pollution is, Galat reveals how excessive artificial lights at night can harm not only nocturnal animals such as bats and fireflies, but also day-active animals, such as birds. In some places birds end up singing all night because they are confused by excessive lights. In other places migrating birds crash into tall building at night, plunging to their deaths in vast numbers. Throughout the book she reveals many examples of how our environment is being harmed by excessive artificial light.

Dark Matters explores an important topic that is relatively new and hasn’t received much attention. Check out a copy today.

Be sure to visit Growing with Science for a the full review, book trailer, related activities, and links to more information.

Some recent related posts at STEM Friday:

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

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Ultimate Space Atlas

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Ultimate Space Atlas

By Carolyn DeCristofano

National Geographic Kids, 2017

National Geographic Kids Ultimate Space Atlas is a picture book-sized, softcover atlas.  It’s small and light enough to take with you on car trips, vacations, etc.  That’s the beauty of an atlas.  The reader can invest as much or as little time as she wants—scan the Cool Facts, enjoy the images, or read more in-depth passages about constellations, lunar phases, favorite planets or the possibility of life in space.

Immediately following the Table of Contents is the very helpful section “How to Use This Atlas.” Despite this being the digital age, using an atlas is a useful exercise in learning how to group, classify, and present information.  The same skills that are used in creating an atlas, are those used in creating research papers, PowerPoint presentations, essays, and more. An atlas helps a child to process the questions:

  • What information do I have?
  • What portion of that information do I want to share?
  • What is my purpose in sharing it?
  • What is the best way for me to present it?

But enough of librarian geekery, the point is that the atlas is organized into tabbed sections, Sky-High, Observing Space, Inner Solar System, Outer Solar System, Our Galaxy and Beyond, and Mapping Space.  Each section contains similar insets against a background of images – natural photographs, colorized images, and artistic impressions. The lack of glossy pages takes away a bit of space’s luster, but space is magnificent even in matte finish. A few pages of fun activities round out the atlas and would suffice to keep a child occupied while waiting for dinner at a restaurant.

Ultimate Space Atlas includes:

  • Table of contents
  • How to Use section
  • Glossary
  • Index
  • Seven tabbed chapters
  • Credits

Read more of this this review and see all of my reviews at Shelf-employed.

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 Copyright © 2017 L.Taylor at Shelf-employed. All Rights Reserved.

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


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Marie Curie for Kids

For Women’s History Month we have an amazing new middle grade book, Marie Curie for Kids: Her Life and Scientific Discoveries, with 21 Activities and Experiments by Amy M. O’Quinn.

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Right up front I have to say that I love Chicago Review Press books. They combine two of my favorite elements:  an in-depth biography and hands-on activities to reinforce learning. Those are a powerful combination on their own. Add that the title is about an outstanding woman scientist, and it is a must have.

Marie Curie was indeed a groundbreaking scientist. Some of her accomplishments include:

  • Studied radioactivity (she coined the term)
  • First woman to win a Nobel Prize
  • First person to win two Nobel Prizes
  • Only person to win Novel Prizes in two fields:  chemistry and physics

Author Amy M. O’Quinn delves deeply into Marie Curie’s life using many primary-source materials. I have read other biographies of Marie Curie, but this one has details I had not seen before. The author’s passion for her topic comes through clearly in her writing.

The 21 hands-on activities range from learning about Poland (Marie Curie’s birthplace) to chemistry and physics experiments, such as:

  • Build an atomic model
  • Make a compass with magnets
  • Explore Charles’s Law using soap clouds

Although Marie Curie for Kids is written for middle grade children, it has the depth to make it a wonderful resource for educators as well. Pick up a copy for Women’s History Month, STEM Friday, or just for fun and inspire a young reader today!

Find out more and see some related resources at Growing With Science blog.

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

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The Astronaut Instruction Manual

The Astronaut Instruction Manual: Practical Skills for Future Space Explorers

by Mike Mongo, read by Mike Mongo with foreword by Alyssa Carson

Listening Library, 2017

47 minutes

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The Astronaut Instruction Manual began as a book on Inkshares, basically a “Kickstarter” for self-published books.  Largely do to its author’s subject knowledge and enthusiasm, it became a popular seller, hence the recent release of the audiobook version.  According to the Hollywood Reporter, there is also a television series in the works.

Mike Mongo narrates his own book with an infectious enthusiasm for guaranteed to draw you in to this practical and inspirational look at the future of space travel.

My complete review of The Astronaut Instruction Manual may be found in AudioFile Magazine, in print and online at this link [http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/121233/the-astronaut-instruction-manual-by-mike-mongo/].

(See all of my reviews at Shelf-employed)

 Copyright © 2017 L.Taylor at Shelf-employed. All Rights Reserved.

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


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.

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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)

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