STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


Marie Curie for Kids

For Women’s History Month we have an amazing new middle grade book, Marie Curie for Kids: Her Life and Scientific Discoveries, with 21 Activities and Experiments by Amy M. O’Quinn.


Right up front I have to say that I love Chicago Review Press books. They combine two of my favorite elements:  an in-depth biography and hands-on activities to reinforce learning. Those are a powerful combination on their own. Add that the title is about an outstanding woman scientist, and it is a must have.

Marie Curie was indeed a groundbreaking scientist. Some of her accomplishments include:

  • Studied radioactivity (she coined the term)
  • First woman to win a Nobel Prize
  • First person to win two Nobel Prizes
  • Only person to win Novel Prizes in two fields:  chemistry and physics

Author Amy M. O’Quinn delves deeply into Marie Curie’s life using many primary-source materials. I have read other biographies of Marie Curie, but this one has details I had not seen before. The author’s passion for her topic comes through clearly in her writing.

The 21 hands-on activities range from learning about Poland (Marie Curie’s birthplace) to chemistry and physics experiments, such as:

  • Build an atomic model
  • Make a compass with magnets
  • Explore Charles’s Law using soap clouds

Although Marie Curie for Kids is written for middle grade children, it has the depth to make it a wonderful resource for educators as well. Pick up a copy for Women’s History Month, STEM Friday, or just for fun and inspire a young reader today!

Find out more and see some related resources at Growing With Science blog.


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

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Discovering a Woman Scientist for Women’s History Month

Quick, do you know who America’s first female astronomer was? If not, Maria Mitchell, a beginning reader biography by Anna Butzer, will help you find out. It is just the right title to pull out for Women’s History Month.


Read it to learn all the pertinent details about pioneering female scientist Maria Mitchell, who was trained as an astronomer by her father. The author reveals that while Maria Mitchell was working as a librarian, she spent her nights searching the skies with a telescope. Eventually she discovered a comet that no one else had seen and it was named in her honor.

See the rest of the review at Wrapped in Foil blog.


STEM Friday

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

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STEM Friday Celebrates Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month and this year the theme is “Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination:
  Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” a perfect theme for a STEM Friday round-up. Today we are going to look at some children’s book biographies of remarkable women who have made significant impacts in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Historically women have been under-represented in STEM fields. Reading these biographies, it becomes apparent that early females interested in STEM faced discrimination. They were not allowed to hold jobs, and had their ideas and work stolen by male colleagues. They managed to persevere, however, and make significant discoveries. Their stories are inspiring.

Are women in STEM also under-represented in children’s biographies?  In preparation for this post, I did a search at Amazon. First, I selected “science” as a keyword. I selected all the titles in children’s books, and then narrowed to biographies. Ranking the results by publication date, I found that between January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013 there were 54 biographies of famous men in science and technology published and 11 biographies of famous women (I didn’t count collections, only those of individuals). All the more reason to celebrate the books on this list!



Look Up! Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raul Colon (February 19, 2013), is a picture book biography of the woman who discovered how the brightness of stars had fixed patterns, information that would later be used to measure distances through space. Amazingly, at the time she did her work women weren’t even allowed to use telescopes; she made her observations from photographs. Pick up this book and share it with information about the Pan-STARRS comet this week.

Rachel Carson large

Sue at Archimedes Notebook has featured Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World By Laurie Lawlor and illustrated by Laura Beingessner. Surely Rachel Carson would approve of Sue’s most recent post about checking in with the red tails and her idea to head outside to observe the natural world.


Over at Simply Science, Shirley has shared Super Women in Science by Kelly Di Domenico. She writes that at one time men tried to use science to prove that women were less intelligent based on brain size.


Anastasia started the month with Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell (Author, Illustrator) at Booktalking, a biography of Dr. Jane Goodall.


Checking Shelf-employed, we found Lisa had reviewed Claire A. Nivola’s picture book, Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle.

Calpurnia  Girls Who Look Under Rocks

Melissa found “A Perfect Pair” of books about women scientists with the fiction title The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly  and the creative nonfiction title Girls Who Look Under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists by Jeannine Atkins at Celebrate Science.


At NC Teacher Stuff, Jeff found another perfect pair, Kinkajous by Rachel Lynette and Cane Toad by Leon Gray. I think the girls who looked under rocks would approve.

Other lists of children’s books about women in STEM:

Women in Science – Trailblazers Before the 20th Century at Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month 2012

Women in Science – Trailblazers of the 20th Century at Miss Rumphius Effect

Biographies of Women Scientists:  For Girls and Young Women at Library of Congress

Science Girls: Women with Vision at Teach with Picture Books

Looking for subject ideas for a biography about a woman in STEM? Try this fabulous list of Women in STEM from the National Women’s History Project.


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