STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


A Book of Bridges

A Book of Bridges: Here To There and Me To You
by Cheryl Keely (Author) and Celia Krampien (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Bridges are some of the most fascinating structures in our landscape, and they come in all forms. From towering suspension bridges to humble stone crossings, this book visits them all with bouncy text and expository sidebars.

Snippet:
They can be wooden-covered,

golden-gated,

or in London, falling down.

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

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


The Science of Science Fiction

The Science of Science Fiction

by Matthew Brenden Wood; illus by Tom Casteel

128 pages; ages 12 – 15

Nomad Press, 2016

I grew up on Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Heinlein and Star Trek. In the intervening years I have seen: flip phones (Star Trek communicators), voice-activated software, jet packs, robots, and more.

So I loved the timeline at the beginning of this book – a date where an idea was introduced in a sci-fi story, followed by a date when that technology was first used. For example, in 1870 Jules Verne wrote about Captain Nemo piloting an electric sub in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In 1954 the first nuclear sub, appropriately named USS Nautilus, was launched.

Topics in this book include cloning ancient creatures (Jurassic Park, anyone?) robots, androids, artificial intelligence, life on Mars, aliens, faster-than-light travel, and time travel. Text is augmented with cartoons, short sidebars, fast facts, and questions.

What I really like are the hands-on investigations. You can extract your own DNA, calculate the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe, and play around with centripetal force. My favorite, though, is measuring the speed of light using a microwave, a bar of chocolate, a ruler, and a calculator. Who can resist an experiment that involves chocolate?

Review copy provided by publisher.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2017 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Tetris

Tetris: The Games People Play
by Box Brown (Author / Illustrator)

Booktalk: Alexey Pajitnov had big ideas about games. In 1984, he created Tetris in his spare time while developing software for the Soviet government. Once Tetris emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, it was an instant hit. Nintendo, Atari, Sega game developers big and small all wanted Tetris. A bidding war was sparked, followed by clandestine trips to Moscow, backroom deals, innumerable miscommunications, and outright theft.

Snippet:



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

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


Beastly Brains

Beastly Brains

by Nancy Castaldo

160 pages; ages 12 & up

HMH, 2017

Do animals think? Solve problems? Do math? Understand the concept of fairness?

You bet, says Nancy Castaldo, and she offers up a wealth of examples shoeing how animals think, talk, and feel. In one chapter she describes and experiment in which scientists gave monkeys tokens that they could use to buy treats. The monkeys quickly learned to take advantage of “sales” (when they could get more than the usual item for the same cost). They also stole tokens from others.

Other scientists wanted to know whether dogs feel jealousy. So they tested pairs of dogs. One was asked to “shake” without any reward. Then another dog joined them and when it “shook” paws it was given a treat. Do you think the first dog kept giving her paw when asked to “shake”? No! She went on strike! Unfair!

Castaldo has filled this volume with stories that will amuse you, make you think, and maybe even inspire you to test your own pet’s intelligence. There is a wonderful section at the back (“Inquiring Minds Want to Know”) that outlines how you can do your own animal intelligence studies. There are also tons of other resources: places where your pets can get involved in studies, organizations that advocate for animals, videos and books, plus a glossary and source notes.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2017 Sue Heavenrich All Rights Reserved.


Gertrude B. Elion and Pharmacology

Gertrude B. Elion and Pharmacology
by Ellen Labrecque (Author)

Booktalk: A new book in the 21st Century Junior Library: Women Innovators series, this biography introduces young readers to a Nobel Prize winning scientist.

Snippet:

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

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.


Mapping My Day

For Pi Day coming up next week, let’s take a look at the new nonfiction picture book Mapping My Day by Julie Dillemuth and illustrated by Laura Wood.

mappin-my-day

Mapping My Day introduces basic map concepts and vocabulary through a day in the life of a young girl named Flora. To start the day she wakes up to a lesson about cardinal directions, races to the bathroom while learning about map scale, and goes outside to use a treasure map full of landmarks. Wait until you hear what she does after breakfast.

The back matter includes a “Note to Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals” with explanations of why mapping skills are so important and an extensive section explaining map concepts with suggestions for numerous activities. Activity pages are included.

We often underestimate the ability of young children to learn how to read and understand maps. That’s why a resource like Mapping My Day is so important. It helps educators teach mapping skills in an engaging and age-appropriate way.

~~~

What does mapping have to do with math and Pi Day? Although often associated with geography, mapping is a way to present visual information that is useful in many STEM fields. Think of genome maps for genetics. Or, how about all the coordinates you learn about in geometry? Mapping is everywhere.

For more information and related activities, see our post at Growing With Science blog.

stemfriday.tiny

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

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


Finding Wonders

Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science
by Jeannine Atkins (Author)

Booktalk: A novel in verse about three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists.

Maria Merian was sure that caterpillars were not wicked things born from mud, as most people of her time believed. Through careful observation she discovered the truth about metamorphosis and documented her findings in gorgeous paintings of the life cycles of insects.

More than a century later, Mary Anning helped her father collect stone sea creatures from the cliffs in southwest England. To him they were merely a source of income, but to Mary they held a stronger fascination. Intrepid and patient, she eventually discovered fossils that would change people’s vision of the past.

Across the ocean, Maria Mitchell helped her mapmaker father in the whaling village of Nantucket. At night they explored the starry sky through his telescope. Maria longed to discover a new comet–and after years of studying the night sky, she finally did.

Snippet:
Rules:

If people catch you with creeping things or wild herbs,
they’ll think they’re for potions or poisons, Sara warns.

Maria tucks the pastry into a basket. She hates
how growing up means more rules instead of fewer.
She’s supposed to walk slower instead of faster,
look around less instead of more.


March is Women’s History Month

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

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.