Gardening and STEM go hand in hand, so today we have a round up of new picture books to get you inspired to garden with children.
At Wrapped in Foil we have two books about plant biology and one about composting:
Flowers (Plant Parts series) by Melanie Waldron is the perfect introduction to flowers in the garden. This informational book covers what a flower is, the parts of a flower, how flowers make seeds, and become fruit, etc. It also discusses how flowers attract insect pollinators. Two hands-on activities are included with clear and well-organized instructions to help reinforce learning.
Seeds and Fruits is also by Melanie Waldron and is part of the same series as Flowers. It covers variation in seeds and fruits, what seeds and fruit are for, the parts of a flowering plant, how seeds are made, what’s inside a seed, what seeds need to germinate, different types of fruit, methods plants use to disperse seeds, and how humans interact with seeds and fruits. This book contains an activity of finding seeds in fruit and an experiment to investigate germination of bean seeds under different conditions.
These books in the Plant Parts series would work well with a school garden as well as in the classroom for a unit on plants.
What is a garden without soil and what is soil without compost to make it healthy? What’s Sprouting in My Trash?: A Book about Composting by Esther Porter is a visually-interesting quick overview of composting for children. The huge color photographs cover each two-page spread. Unlike Rotten Pumpkin (see below), other than an earthworm or two there isn’t anything that might dissuade a reader. In fact, the compost looks colorful and attractive with relatively fresh flowers and fruit in each view.
Over at Growing with Science’s posts for Children’s Gardening Week you can find full reviews and loads of related activities for three additional garden-related picture books:
Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices by David M. Schwartz and with photographs by Dwight Kuhn is another book on the composting theme, but it is not for the highly squeamish. If the thought of fly vomit makes you quiver, then you might not find the book as delightful as I did. Photographer Kuhn spares nothing as he follows the decomposition meltdown of a carved Halloween pumpkin. He takes you down and dirty with close-ups of molds, slime molds and yeasts, as well as other organisms, to show how nutrients get recycled and organic matter added to the soil. (Review and activities at Growing with Science).
We end with a book we are so excited about that we are reviewing it before it is even published. Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Betsy Bowen may focus on the prairies of Minnesota, but it carries a message that is important anywhere in the world. Bowen encourages planting of locally-adapted plants in pocket wildlife gardens. Due out April 15, 2014. Get the full scoop at Growing with Science.
Hope this list encourages you to plan for some STEM activities in the garden this year.
It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
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