Science Books

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Our post today was inspired by Clouds: A Compare and Contrast Book by Katharine Hall.

Young readers explore the concept of comparing and contrasting, while at the same time learning about different kinds of clouds and how to describe them.

Some clouds are big and fluffy;
others are thin and wispy.

The simple picture book book is illustrated with a series of two-page spreads filled with gorgeous color photographs of different types of clouds, like the one on the cover.

The real treasure, however, is the "For Creative Minds" in the back matter. This section has four pages of interactive activities to reinforce learning. Examples include experiments with evaporation, a cloud match exercise, and information about how clouds are connected to weather prediction.

Because evaporation is the source of water that ends up in clouds, let's try some evaporation experiments of our own.

Water Evaporation

Evaporation is a chemical process that involves a change of state from liquid to gas.

1. Observation opportunity for youngest scientists

To study evaporation, you will need water, sponges or paint brushes, and a sidewalk or other flat surface on a sunny, hot day. Simply paint the water onto a flat surface and watch it evaporate. Try different surfaces, different amounts of water, different patterns of application, etc. Use sidewalk chalk to draw around a large wet patch and then revisit the site to emphasize how the wet area has been reduced over time.

If the children ask, explain that the liquid water is turning into a gas or vapor as it disappears and is rising up into the air.

2. Simple evaporation experiment for young scientists

Can you prevent evaporation with plastic wrap?

Gather:

  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Plastic wrap
  • Timing device (optional)
  • Level, flat, hard surface like sidewalk or driveway
  • Rocks to hold down plastic wrap (optional)

Create two similar-sized and similar-shaped wet areas by pouring a measured amount of water onto a flat, level surface (1/4 cup of water works well). Note:  If the surface is sloped, the water will tend to roll off and form irregular shapes.

Cover one of the spots with plastic wrap and hold down with rocks, if necessary.

evap-expt-beforeWait a few minutes (time will vary with temperature, sunlight, and humidity).

Return and assess which spot has evaporated the most.

evap-expt-after-3Why?

3. Evaporation challenge for middle-grade scientists

Gather:

  • Shallow plates or bowls
  • Bottles or jars, preferably with narrow necks
  • Measuring cup(s)
  • Timing device(s)
  • Thermometer(s)
  • Cotton balls or tissues
  • Markers
  • Paper
  • Scales to weigh bowls and jars

Challenge the children to come up with questions about evaporation and then generate a hypothesis. Using the materials provided, design and carry out an experiment to test their hypothesis.

Some suggestions:

  • Measure the rate of evaporation of 1/4 cup of water in a shallow plate or bowl versus in a narrow-necked jar (For example:  weigh the bowls and jars with water before and after evaporation).
  • Measure the rate of evaporation in a shallow dish in the sun versus in a shady location (mark the levels before and after evaporation with a marker).
  • Measure the rate of evaporation of 1/4 cup of water open in a shallow dish versus 1/4 cup of water soaked into tissue or cotton balls in a shallow dish.
  • Take the temperature with the thermometer on a sunny surface. Then place a wet tissue or cotton ball over the base of the thermometer. How does the temperature change over time?

Discuss their results.

Older engineers will likely enjoy the evaporation-powered engine we discussed in the STEAM festival post about engineering.

 Further resources:

The book publisher, Arbordale Publishing, offers a number of resources, including a free 17 page Teaching Activities Guide to accompany Clouds (see right sidebar).

Weather-books-for-kidsWe have a growing list of weather-related children's books at Science Books for Kids.

Children interested in weather? They might enjoy this wind map of the U.S. How would the amount of wind effect evaporation?

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Disclosures: The book was from our local library. Also, I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click through the linked titles or ads and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

For the final day of our week long STEAM festival, we are highlighting math. Sarah at Share It! Science is looking for the golden ratio in the garden. Here at Growing with Science we are going to celebrate STEM Friday by featuring some new math books and related activities.

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The expert team of Hilary Koll and Steve Mills have developed a unique series of math books illustrated by Vladimir Aleksic. Each feature gritty, real world applications of math with problems to solve embedded within the story. The challenges vary in difficulty and math skills needed.

In Solve a Crime (You Do the Math) Alex, an undercover police detective, shows how math can help catch a criminal. For example, on one page the reader is asked to use co-ordinates to map the evidence and then look on a grid to calculate the distance between certain items. These problems will require a pencil and piece of paper to do the work.

The graphic-style illustrations are bold and serious, adding to the true-to-life feel. Want to see how it looks? You can check out a sample of some of the pages at Google Books.

Related activities:
Math Mavens Mysteries has a Time for Crime math mystery to get students warmed up, complete with audio clips (index to all math mysteries with level of difficulty).

Age Range: 6 - 8 years
Publisher: QEB Publishing (April 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 160992732X
ISBN-13: 978-1609927325

Fly a Jet Fighter (You Do the Math) follows pilot Katie as she handles data, interprets tables, and reads dials and scales. The goal is to create a squadron of jet fighter aces and complete the mission.

An additional activity to accompany this book might be a making a paper plane (Instructions for nine different models).

Age Range: 6 - 8 years
Publisher: QEB Publishing (April 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1609927311
ISBN-13: 978-1609927318

Launch a Rocket into Space (You Do the Math) follows each stage of the  space mission to make sure the rocket blasts clear of the atmosphere and returns safely. It features astronaut Michael who helps the reader compete the math exercises and learn about everything from fractions to timelines. A few problems will require a protractor to measure angles.

Once again, here's a preview from Google Books:

Each of the books has a glossary and the answers for all the questions are in the back matter.

Although recommended for ages 6-8, these books could also be useful for older children who are struggling with math concepts or don't quite see how the math they are learning might be useful.

The books in the You Do the Math series would be perfect for homeschoolers and after school math clubs because they can be entirely child-directed reading.

Age Range: 6 - 8 years
Publisher: QEB Publishing (June 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 160992729X
ISBN-13: 978-1609927295

Related:

Making Room for Math at Science Buddies has instructions for tons of math activities.

Don't forget to visit our growing list of math books for children (from counting books to high school level) at Science Books for Kids.

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Disclosures: The books were provided by Quarto Publishing Group USA for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click through the linked titles or ads and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.

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STEAM-festival-button-latest

Our activity schedule is as follows:

June 22: Science
Growing with Science: Science activities for Kids
Share it! Science: Are You a Scientist?

June 23: Technology
Growing with Science: Technology for Kids
Share it! Science: Exploring Kid's Opportunities in Technology

June 24: Engineering
Growing with Science: Engineering Activities for Kids
Share it! Science: Rube Goldberg Machines- an Engineering Challenge

June 25: Art with a STEM focus
Growing with Science: Art Activities for Kids with a STEM Focus
Share it! Science: Family STEAM Night- Where Art Meets Science!

Today:  Math
Growing with Science: this post
Share It! Science: Golden Ratio in the Garden

We would love to hear your questions or suggestions for STEAM-related projects to share with others. Let's heat up the summer with STEAM!

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Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

Share It! Science and Growing with Science are pleased to announce we are teaming up for a week long Children's Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) Festival. Please join us for information and project ideas to help your family explore STEAM-related activities for the summer and beyond.

Today we are highlighting art with a STEM focus. Sarah at Share It! Science has an awesome description of activities for a Family STEAM Night: Where Art Meets Science. Here at Growing with Science we are going to investigate string theory using art.

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Whether art should be included with STEM (making the acronym STEAM) is not universally accepted. STEM advocates argue that the STEM acronym was conceived to promote the subjects that needed an extra push. STEAM backers say including art might draw some reluctant students to STEM through the back door, as well as create more well-rounded citizens.

The fact is, many scientists are interested in art and if they are not actively using art for their careers, probably have art-related hobbies. At the same time, many artists are using STEM to create innovative new techniques. The two have never been mutually exclusive and the  boundaries may be blurrier than ever.

Some obvious places art and STEM overlap:

  • Scientific illustration
  • The maker movement
  • Archeology
  • Architecture
  • Industrial design
  • Web design

Art also helps students explore abstract constructs in more concrete ways. Let's look at an example.

Exploring String Theory

String theory (or superstring theory) is the complex and abstract idea from quantum mechanics that ridiculously tiny strands of energy or "strings" vibrate to create all the particles and forces in the universe(s). And, by the way, they are vibrating in 11 dimensions.

Got that? If not, Brian Greene has a TED talk called Making Sense of String Theory that might help.

String Theory for Kids

Who better to explain string theory to kids than another kid? Shaun-Michael Diem-Lane, who was eleven when he made this video, has obviously been thinking about string theory a lot. Watch how he uses concrete examples and art to make his explanation easier to understand.

 

(Note: There might be a wee bit of confusion between energy and matter in the video).

Creating String Theory Art

Painting with rubber bands is one way to think about the energy and chaos of string theory.

1. Rubber band paint brush

Gather:

  • Rubber bands of different sizes
  • Pencil or paint brush to serve as a handle.
  • Acrylic paint
  • Small, shallow bowls or plates to hold paint
  • Paper

(Affiliate link)

Using a pencil or paint brush as a handle, gather a few rubber bands into a bundle. Hold them against the pencil and fasten using another rubber band wrapped around, creating a "mop" of rubber bands. Help of an adult may be required for this step.

rubber-band-paint-brush-07

Pour the paint into a shallow bowl or plate. Dip the rubber bands in the acrylic paint and then apply to paper. Experiment with different techniques, such as dragging the rubber bands across the paper, hopping the paint brush with the rubber bands down, etc. Then try different colors.

2. Rubber band launching device

Ever launch a rubber band using your finger?

Figure out a device to launch rubber bands at paper taped or fixed to a wall. Dip different-sized rubber bands in different colors of acrylic paint and launch them at the paper for a random effect.

sting-theory-rubberband-art02

Having trouble thinking up ideas? Mars Needs Rubber is a physics experiment that evaluates one rubber band launching method (direct .pdf link)

Other STEM and Art Resources to give you some ideas:

 

Did you like our merging of science and art? Would you like to see more posts like this? Just let us know. 

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Disclosures: The book above was from our local library. Also, I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click through the linked titles or ads and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.

___________________________________
STEAM-festival-button-latest

Our activity schedule is as follows:

June 22: Science
Growing with Science: Science activities for Kids
Share it! Science: Are You a Scientist?

June 23: Technology
Growing with Science: Technology for Kids
Share it! Science: Exploring Kid's Opportunities in Technology

June 24: Engineering
Growing with Science: Engineering Activities for Kids
Share it! Science: Rube Goldberg Machines- an Engineering Challenge

June 25: Art with a STEM focus
Growing with Science: this post
Share it! Science: Family STEAM Night- Where Art Meets Science!

June 26:  Math
Growing with Science: New math books for kids
Share It! Science: The Golden Ratio in the Garden

We would love to hear your questions or suggestions for STEAM-related projects to share with others. Let's heat up the summer with STEAM!