STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


Two Books That Offer Different Ways to Cover Plant Science

Educational standards suggest introducing plant science concepts in Kindergarten, or even in preschool. Today at Wrapped in Foil Blog we are featuring two children’s books for that level that approach the same material in different, but complimentary ways.

The first is All About Roots (All About Plants) by Claire Throp.

all-about-roots

All About Roots is an informational beginning reader that presents the concepts in a logical and straightforward way. It uses carefully-controlled vocabulary and short sentences. The illustrations are high quality color photographs, most of which focus on different kinds of roots. Readers will learn that roots support the plant, and help the plant take in water and nutrients. They will also learn what roots look like and what common foods come from roots.

The other books in the All About Plants series also emphasize plant structures and their functions:  All About Flowers, All About Leaves, All about Stems, and All About Seeds.

In contrast, Plants Feed Me by Lizzy Rockwell covers many of the same concepts, but with a very different feel and look.

 

Plants-feed-me

The first thing the reader notices about this book is the brightly colored-pencil-and-gouache illustrations, starting with the cover. The second is that the illustrations are filled with a lively selection of smiling children with a diversity of looks. The presence of children throughout the book draw readers in by making them feel like they are part of the action.

Another factor that draws readers in is the story is told in the first person by a young boy. The very first line is: “I am a plant eater.” The use of the first person is unusual for informational books like this, but it works well. The main thrust of this book is that plants provide us with food.

Plants Feed Me is a nonfiction book that is likely to appeal to a wide variety of young readers. It is a must have for a beginning unit on plants and it would pair well with All About Roots.

For plant-science related activities, try our Children’s Garden Week at Growing with Science

STEM Friday

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

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STEM Books for Gardening with Children

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

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-fruit
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's Sprouting in My Trash
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:

Weeds find a Way

Weed Find a Way is popular this week, with Sue’s review at Archimedes Notebook, as well as ours at Growing With Science.

Rotten-pumpkin

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).

plant-a-pocket-prairie

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.

STEM Friday

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

Site Meter Copyright © 2014 Roberta Gibson at Growing with Science All Rights Reserved.