Tag Archives: STEM Friday

With the advent of the Global Positioning System (GPS ), people of all ages are forgetting how to use or create maps. This is an issue because maps aren't just for finding our way to Grandma's house. Not only are they useful for organizing information visually, but they are also a relevant way to develop the spatial relations skills that are so useful in many careers.

We often underestimate the ability of young children to learn how to read and understand maps. That's why a resource like the new nonfiction picture book Mapping My Day by Julie Dillemuth and illustrated by Laura Wood is such an asset for educators.

Mapping My Day introduces basic map concepts and vocabulary through a day in the life of a young girl named Flora. 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. And that's all before 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 to encourage children to try out their mapping skills are included.

Mapping My Day explores an important topic that is often ignored. Educators will find it to be a valuable resource.

Related:

  1. Download the activity pages from the back matter for free at the Magination Press website (publishing arm of the American Psychological Association)
  2. Learn NC has an extensive discussion about Map skills and higher-order thinking for educators
  3. Read a book and do an activity for Pi Day from a previous post at Growing with Science

Pi Day is coming up on Tuesday March 14 (3/14). It's a fun way to celebrate the mathematical constant π and all things math.

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.

Explore more children's math books for Pi Day and every day at Science Books for Kids.

list-math-books-for-pi-day

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: Magination Press; 1 edition (March 13, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1433823330
ISBN-13: 978-1433823336

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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

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Just in time for Women's History Month we have a 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

The back matter is also packed with information, including other resources to explore, a glossary, selected bibliography, and index.

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!

Related:

  1. For more hands-on chemistry activities, try our previous posts:

2. See our growing list of children's books about women scientists at Science Books for Kids.
childrens-books-women-scientists

Age Range: 9 - 12 years
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (November 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1613733208
ISBN-13: 978-1613733202

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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

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Coming up on next week, we are going to announce a giveaway opportunity for some great bird books as well as a PBS Kids Look and Learn Birds kit.  For STEM Friday, let's preview one of the books in the giveaway, Bird-acious (Science with Stuff) by Melissa Stewart.

First of all, the book itself is a fun and educational introduction to birds for young readers. It contains big color photographs and interesting facts. It covers everything from feathers and flying to beaks and eating. There's even a two-page spread that features photographs of cool bird tongues and describes what the various structures are used for.

But this book offers even more. In the cover image above, do you see the brown mass in the yellow oval to the right, just under the title? That is an actual owl pellet for kids to dissect. A bird book with its own hands-on activity included, how cool is that?

Some of you may be asking, "What is an owl pellet?" It turns out that owls can not digest the fur and bones of the animals they eat, and instead of passing through their bodies, the remains are regurgitated back up in the form of an owl pellet, or as it's labelled here, "owl puke."

Where do they come from? Collectors go to old barns and other areas where owls live and pick up the pellets. To get rid of any bacteria, the pellets are baked at high temperatures for four hours.

What are they used for? Students can dissect the pellets looking for small bones. This allows them both to discover what the owls have been eating and also to find out more about skeletons as they identify the bones they find.

For example, in this sample the owl pellet contained three mandibles (jaws) of mice. The orange curved parts towards the bottom are the large front incisors rodents are known for. The mandibles on the left and center also still have a row of smaller grinding teeth. Sometimes those fall out of the bone like the one on the right, but can still be found elsewhere in the sample.

Not sure how to do this? Don't worry, the book has four pages of instructions in the back, including a labelled photograph of rodent skeletal parts found in owl pellets. All you'll need to supply are tweezers, toothpicks, or some similar tool to pull apart the pellet; papers or trays to lay the bones on; and a place for the children to wash their hands with warm, soapy water afterwards.

Bird-acious is a unique way to teach children about birds and what they eat. After they've completed the project, young readers are likely to come back to the book again and again.

Think you might be interested in a chance to win this book? Stop by our giveaway next week.

Age Range: 8 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks; Nov edition (December 10, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1935703900
ISBN-13: 978-1935703907

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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