STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


Hawk Rising

Hawk Rising, by Maria Gianferrari; illus. by Brian Floca

40 pages; ages 4-8. Roaring Brook Press, 2018

Father Hawk stretches wide his wings. You stretch your arms as Mars rises red in the sky.

Dawn is breaking and hungry chicks are waiting for their breakfast. Father Hawk is on the hunt! But catching food is harder than we’d think – and there are other dangers facing hawks.

What I like about this book: The alternating viewpoint between the child (“you”) and the hawk. The reality of being a predator in a hawk-eat-rodent world. I love Brian Floca’s muted watercolor illustrations. I love the suspense: will the hawk nestlings get a meal?

And, of course I like that there is back matter. More details on the lives of red-tailed hawks: where they live, how they fly, what they eat (just about anything!) and tips on spotting a red-tailed hawk. Maria also includes suggestions for further reading as well as websites for learning more.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for another book review about desert animals and some STEAM activities.

STEM Friday

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

Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.

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Ecosystems Everywhere

My new Focus on STEM column: Ecosystems Everywhere is in the September Quick Tips for Schools and Libraries newsletter.

Snippet:
Here’s a fun science fact for September. At 9:15 a.m. on September 30, 2004, in the ocean waters off the coast of the Ogasawara Islands, the giant squid, Architeuthis, was captured on camera for the very first time.

Click here to read Ecosystems Everywhere with eight #kidlit ecosystems books as well as Next Generation Science Standards Ecosystem activities for the classroom and library.

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

Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

 


Belle’s Journey

Belle’s Journey, An Osprey Takes Flight, by Rob Bierregaard; illustrated by Kate Garchinsky

122 pages; ages 7 – 10. Charlesbridge, 2018

The story of Belle begins with her parents, who return to their nest on Martha’s Vineyard in March (brrrr!), and the two scientists who are scouting for active nests. By the middle of July, the young ospreys are nearly as big as their parents and they’re stretching their wings. One day, while the birds are out hunting, Dr. B and his fellow researcher climb up and put a fish in the nest as bait. Then they cover the nest with wire mesh to trap the birds.

Success! They capture Belle, fit the backpack straps over her wings and sew the harness so the radio transmitter won’t fall off in flight. The transmitter will send signals so the scientists can track her migration.

So here’s the thing about a young osprey’s first migratory flight: they don’t have maps. Their parents have already gone, so there’s no flock to join. They may run into danger, such as hurricanes, eagles, or people who shoot at them. And the journey is long – three to four thousand miles.

What I like about this book: The story is written from Belle’s point of view. We see her adventures during migration through her eyes. Chapters about the scientists are written from a different point of view. I like the back matter that gives more information about ospreys, migration, and what to do if you find injured birds. There are also lots of resources.

And I love the illustrations! Full color spreads are soft and inviting. Sepia-colored vignettes give us quick glimpses into the lives of Belle and the children following her journey. There’s even a series of sketches illustrating how an osprey captures fish.

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for more about ospreys and some cool links.

STEM Friday

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

Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth

An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth
by Karlin Gray (Author) and Steliyana Doneva (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Feeling quite ordinary, a plain gray moth sadly compares itself to its more exotic kin, such as the Luna Moth, the Spider Moth, and the Hummingbird Moth. And the little moth feels even worse when a young girl sees it and says “Eww!” But things change when her brother explains that this particular type of moth is his favorite kind of insect. Maybe an ordinary moth is really extraordinary after all. Back matter includes fascinating moth facts, along with a special activity.

Snippet:

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

Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


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Spooked!

Spooked! How a Radio Broadcast and the War of the Worlds Sparked the 1938 Invasion of America, by Gail Jarrow

144 pages; ages 10 – 12. Calkins Creek, 2018

Mischief night is October 30, the night before Halloween. It’s the night when older kids and teens head out to soap windows, TP trees, and other mischief. But on October 30, 1938, a radio theater company unwittingly perpetrated mischief on a national audience. They performed an updated production of H.G. Wells’s science fiction novel, The War of the Worlds.

The novel portrays a martian attack on Earth – unrealistic, right? And yet, people tuning in late heard breathless announcers read alerts of an invasion. Because they hadn’t heard the disclaimer at the beginning of the show, that this was an act of fiction, some people panicked. They piled in their cars and fled their homes. Others jammed phone lines, calling relatives for one last conversation. And some drove to the invasion site, hoping to get a look at the alien invaders.

How could people be so taken in by a radio show? It was the depths of the depression, Gail Jarrow writes. Hitler is rising to power, and his invasions of European countries have Americans anxious. So if a person turned on the radio after the introduction, they might believe that the “program interruptions” they heard were legitimate alerts about invasions on American soil.

Gail’s book connects history with science, technology, engineering, and math. Right now, she days, we live in a world where the technology – social media and the Internet – is way ahead of human behavior and culture. Back in 1938, that’s what was going on with radio. People got their entertainment and news from the radio. As she studied this event in history, she kept seeing parallels in the way people responded to a radio broadcast and the way people respond to social media now.

The biggest issue Gail saw is confirmation bias – that we tend to believe “news” that conforms to our ideology or politics. Not only is this a hazard when reading news presented on our social media, but it can also sway scientists, says Gail.

Hop over to Archimedes Notebook for an interview with Gail, and some beyond-the-book resources.

STEM Friday

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

Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus!

It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus!
by Jody Jensen Shaffer (Author) and Claire Messer (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Today is the very first day of school! Busy Bus is excited, but he also has some first-day jitters. Will the children like him? Will he be homesick? What if he gets lost?! Luckily, bus driver Ben knows just what to do to make sure that the school year gets off to a great start. The bus driver’s work to get the bus ready (checking the tires, air, horn, etc.) adds a a STEM focus to this #backtoschool book.

Snippet:

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

Copyright © 2018 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


Spring After Spring ~ a story about Rachel Carson

I love reading stories about real people – especially when those people use science to solve problems. Here’s a new book about Rachel Carson: Spring After Spring, How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement, by Stephanie Roth Sisson (40 pages; ages 4-8. Roaring Brook Press, 2018).

It was dawn when the chorus began. cheerily! fee bee! jurit jeroo! Rachel didn’t want to miss a note.

Rachel Carson grew up surrounded by the sounds of nature. She paid attention to them season after season. So when spring sounded a little too quiet, she knew something was wrong. What was happening to the birds and insects who filled the air with song?

What I like LOVE about this book: I love that in the first few pages Stephanie R. Sisson has put the calls of birds and other creatures into speech bubbles. It’s fun, and helps me hear the symphony of music Rachel heard around her. There’s also a vertical illustration, so you have to hold the book a different way – which makes me take a closer look at the illustration and where the story is going.

I like the way Sisson portrays Rachel Carson – as a scientist who studied sea creatures but, when she noticed something was wrong, she used all her science skills to figure out what the problem was. She observed closely. She listened carefully. And she learned as much as she could by reading reports and articles – and then pulled the facts together into a narrative that explained how chemicals used to control insect pests were getting into the food chain and killing birds and other animals. The chemicals were making egg shells so thin that eagle eggs broke in the nest. And then Rachel did a brave thing. She wrote about it. She went to Congress and talked about it. Most of all, she inspired people to take better care of the earth.

I also like that there’s back matter. (but frequent readers already knew that!)

Head over to Archimedes Notebook for a review of Who Says Women Can’t be Computer Programmers? The Story of Ada Lovelace plus some hands-on activities.

STEM Friday

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

Copyright © 2018 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.