STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


Weird Nature

Weird Nature
by Virginia Loh-Hagan (Author)

Booktalk: Take a look at the world’s weirdest nature stories–from fire rainbows to ghost trees. These stories are too strange to be made up! (The ghost trees are on the book cover above. The snippet below has dragon blood trees!)

Snippet:

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

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

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Books starring Koalas!

Koala, by Claire Saxby; illus. by Julie Vivas

32 pages; ages 4-8. Candlewick Press, 2017

In a high tree fork, a gray ball unfurls. Tall as a toddler, a sleepy young koala sniffs at leaves.

He’s hungry and it’s dinnertime. Climb, koala! Because up there – that’s where the yummy leaves are. Koala wants to snuggle with mom, but it’s time for him to find his own way. It’s time to find his own sleeping branch – even his own tree.

This is a wonderful story of growing up, leaving home, and learning to be independent. Koala faces challenges, but he finds a place of his own. I also like the different sizes of text on the page. Large, simple text is easier for younger readers, while more dense text meant for older readers provides more details about how koalas live and behave.

Climb, Koala! (NGK Readers series), by Jennifer Szymanski

24 pages; ages 2-5. National Geographic Children’s Books, 2017

Climb, koala! Koalas can climb high.

What I like about this book is the text – it’s in large font, and each page is illustrated with photos that complement the text. So when kids are reading about claws, they get a close-up look at the sharp koala claws. There’s a “Vocabulary tree” at the beginning – a word classification which divides featured words into things the koalas have (claws, fur) and what they do (climb, eat). There’s a matching game on the last page, too.

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 © 2017 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Penguins!

Penguins!
by David Salomon (Author / Photographer)

Booktalk: Did you know that penguins have feathers but don’t fly? Or that their eggs are guarded by the daddy penguin? Or that they dive in the ocean for their food? Discover these facts and more, along with brilliant photographs of chinstrap penguins in Antarctica, in this captivating nonfiction leveled reader.

Snippet:
It is spring
in Antarctica.
(Say: ant-ARK-tih-kuh.)

 

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

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


Beauty and the Beak

Beauty and the Beak: how science, technology, and a 3-D printed beak rescued a Bald Eagle. by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp

48 pages; ages 5-12; Persnickety Press, 2017

In a huge nest of twigs, high above an icy cold Alaskan river, a Bald Eagle chick cracked open her egg.

At first she’s covered in down. But soon her wings become longer and stronger. Bit by bit her feathers grow in. She’s a teen, taking test flights, and then off on her own. She hunts, eats, and soon is ready to fly back to the land where she was born. But one day she is shot in the face. A bullet shatters her beak, tears her eye, and leaves her bleeding.

“Beauty” is rescued and taken to a wildlife center where she can heal. But she can’t eat or drink because her beak hasn’t grown back. Then Janie, a raptor rehabilitator, takes Beauty to a raptor center in Idaho. She works with an engineer to try something crazy: create a prosthetic beak for the eagle – and make it with a 3-D printer! But would it work? It did, and Beauty learned to eat and drink again on her own.

What I like about this book: This is a true story of how engineering and technology come to the rescue! That would be enough, but there are 16 pages of back matter packed with details about Beauty’s beak and other prosthetic devices, as well as tons of facts about Bald Eagles.

I also like that this book comes out in the tenth anniversary year of the Bald Eagle being taken off the Endangered Species List. Even though they are no longer “endangered”, Bald Eagles still face many risks – especially from human activity. People shoot them, or the eagles collide with cars, trains, or power lines.

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 © 2017 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


The World Is Not a Rectangle

The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid
by Jeanette Winter (Author, Illustrator)

Booktalk: Zaha Hadid grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, and dreamed of designing her own cities. After studying architecture in London, she opened her own studio and started designing buildings. But as a Muslim woman, Hadid faced many obstacles. Determined to succeed, she worked hard for many years, and achieved her goals–and now you can see the buildings Hadid has designed all over the world.

Snippet:

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

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


Celebrating Biographies about Science Guys

Alexander Graham Bell Answers the Call, by Mary Ann Fraser

32 pages; ages 6-9. Charlesbridge, 2017

From the beginning, the world all around spoke to Alexander Graham Bell. And he listened.

He listened to the hustle and bustle of traffic on the streets, and the sound of the wind blowing through wheat. And because his father was a speech therapist and worked at home, Alec listened to the sounds and chants of the students. Which may have influenced his work as a teacher for the deaf, and his desire to invent a way for people to communicate over long distances.

What I like about this book: I love that the end papers show the history of the telephone and the informative charts Mary Fraser drops into the text (one shows how the ear works). And I like how she shows him growing up within a family where hearing and deafness were part of their lives. Fraser shows Alec discovering vibrations and then putting his discovery to use to communicate with his mom. What I like most of all is that the invention of the telephone took time and met with failures along the way. But Alec didn’t give up.

Newton’s Rainbow, by Kathryn Lasky; illus. by Kevin Hawkes

48 pages; ages 4-8. Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2017

On Christmas Day over three hundred years ago, in a village in England, a baby was born too early.

He was so tiny that no one expected him to live. But he did, and he was immensely curious. While a student, he boarded with the village apothecary. The shelves in the shop were crammed full of jars with fluids and powders, spiderwebs, and leeches. This is where he learned chemistry.

One day he was in a jumping competition. Being small, he waited for an extra-strong gust of wind to give him the boost he needed to get the longest jump. So he began his study of physics. He carved sundials, made models, and spent his days thinking – even when he was supposed to do farm work!

What I like about this book: It takes us right inside of Newton’s life and times. Kathryn Lasky tells us straight out what’s true and what’s “story”. There was an apple, she says, and it did indeed fall – but probably not on Newton’s noggin. She helps us see his thought process as he experiments with light and gravity.

Head over to Sally’s Bookshelf for some hands-on scientific beyond-the-book activities.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2017 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Super Women, six scientists who changed the world

Super Women, Six scientists who changed the world

by Laurie Lawlor

64 pages; ages 8-12

Holiday House, 2017

“Imagine being a highly trained astronomer who’s forbidden to look through a state-of-the-art telescope,” writes Laurie Lawler. Or that you’re an accomplished underwater cartographer not allowed on a research vessel, or a chemist not allowed to work in a research lab.

Not because you don’t have the skills – but only because you’re a woman. We’re not talking about women in science hundreds of years ago, but within our lifetime. Absurd, right? And yet, Lawlor has compiled half a dozen stories of real scientists who had to fight against gender discrimination to do their research. Her tales include:

  •     Eugenie  Clark, known as the “shark lady” – an oceanographer who dives into the sea to study sharks and other creatures living in the deep. Her research helped people understand that sharks can learn. Scientist, explorer, Clark authored more than 175 scholarly and popular science articles and been a champion of ocean conservation.
  •     Gertrude Elion shares the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine with George Hitchings and Sir James Black. Her research contributes to drug treatment for cancers. But when she graduated in 1937 with high honors in chemistry, she was turned away from research labs because hiring a woman would be “too distracting”.
  •     Katherine Coleman Johnson served as a human “computer”, one of a team of mathematicians who helped send Alan B. Shepard, Jr. into orbit around Earth. As an African American woman and mathematician, she faced many obstacles working in the brand new space agency, whose technical staff was mostly white and male. In 2015, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  •     Marie Tharp mapped underwater mountains, valleys, ridges, and plains. She was one of the first scientists to notice evidence for plate tectonics. Other researchers discounted her thoughts as “wacky ideas” and “girl talk”, but eventually she convinced them. She worked with another researcher to create the world ocean floor map.
  •     Florence Hawley Ellis wanted to be an archeologist, but men joked that she’d never find workers willing to follow her into the field. In addition to digging up artifacts, she collected information from Pueblo and Navajo elders about customs, stories, social organizations and more. She also noticed historical evidence of droughts and ongoing perils of climate change in the Southwest.
  •     Eleanor Margaret Burbidge is an astronomer who hunts deep-space objects. She viewed the first image of a quasar that was billions of light years from Earth. But in the early years of her career, institutes denied women access to telescopes because the living quarters were meant to be places where male astronomers wouldn’t be bothered by wives or family. She finagled a way to live off campus and use the telescope and has contributed greatly to the field of astronomy.

The book is filled with photos, and complemented with a glossary where you can quickly look up “quasar”.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2017 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.