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For STEM Friday this week we have a new picture book about ants, Just Like Us! Ants by Bridget Heos and illustrated by David Clark.

Although the cartoon illustrations may make it look like this isn't a serious book, don't be fooled. It covers all the facts and concepts you would expect in a nonfiction book in a way that will attract the most reluctant of readers. To make it even more enjoyable the author compares what ants can do to what humans do, putting ants in perspective.

Just Like Us! Ants is not simply a rehash of previous children's books about ants, either. The author reveals recent scientific discoveries, such as how bigheaded ant larvae process food for the colony or how fire ants build rafts to float on water.

Check out this video from BBC that shows fire ant rafts and some of the dangers they encounter while in the water.

(By the way, the winged ant they discuss once the colony makes landfall is not actually the colony's queen. She is a sister ant that will fly off to start her own colony in the near future. Some ant biologists call the female winged ants "princesses.")

Back to the book, it you are looking for a fun and informative introduction to the world of ants, then Just Like Us! Ants is for you.

Ant-Themed Hands-On Activities:

Want to learn more about ants? Check out our growing list of ant books for kids.

Age Range: 4 - 7 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 3, 2017)
ISBN-10: 054457043X
ISBN-13: 978-0544570436

Another review at Wild About Ants

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. 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.

2

The ocean has been in the news, which is why we are excited about this new middle grade book. From Josh and Bethanie Hestermann (the team that brought us Zoology for Kids),  we have Marine Science for Kids: Exploring and Protecting Our Watery World, Includes Cool Careers and 21 Activities with a foreword by Stephanie Arne.

This is one of the fantastic Chicago Review Press books that combine great information with fun hands-on activities to reinforce learning. Throw in beautiful color photographs of awesome animals and mini-biographies of marine science professionals, and you have a treasure trove for middle grade readers.

The book starts with a time line of some important historical events in the field of marine science, with references to discoveries made and boundaries pushed by the likes of Jacques Cousteau, Marie Tharp, and Sylvia Earle.

Then right off the bat, the reader learns what marine science is. Did you know marine scientists study not only saltwater creatures in oceans, but also those found in rivers and lakes?

Now the reader can hop to the chapter that covers their favorite habitat, such as the coast or deep ocean, or they can read from cover to cover. There's so much to discover.

Activities from the book include:

  1. Building a water molecule
  2. Making an edible coral reef
  3. Exploring marine camouflage
  4. Constructing a water-propelled squid
  5. Testing methods for cleaning up an oil spill, etc.

With a glossary, resource list, and selected bibliography, this book is a useful reference for planning lessons beyond the book, as well.

Marine Science for Kids is a must have for budding marine scientists, but will also entrance young readers interested in animals or the environment. It is a fabulous reference for educators, too.

Activity Inspired by Marine Science for Kids:

Hurricanes are violent forms of weather on land, but what happens underwater?

Many things happen as winds churn the ocean water and rain falls. These changes can harm the organisms living there.

Hurricanes cause major changes underwater:

  • Strong water currents and waves
  • Rapid mixing of temperatures and salinity - top water is cooler and more salty than it usually is, lower layers are warmer and less salty.
  • Reduced amounts of dissolved oxygen in the surface water
  • More suspended particles, silt
  • Movement of sand

Usually the larger fish that are strong swimmers, such as sharks, can swim away. But slower or sessile creatures take a pounding. Some are killed.

Activity:

Watch the following video of a coral reef underwater during a hurricane. Make notes of the things you see. Then compare to the ReefCam today. What changes do you notice?

References:

What Happens Underwater University of Miami Rosenstiel School

Other Marine Science Activities (from this blog):

  1. Humpback whales (with three activities)
  2. Jellyfish (with craft activity)
  3. Learn about Steller Sea Lions
  4. Sea Horses and Other Fish
  5. Shore Birds
  6. Tide Pool Invertebrates
  7. Fish (with three activities)

For a bunch of ocean-themed lesson plans, try the Ocean Portal.

 

Looking for more? Try our growing list of children's books about marine science at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (June 1, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1613735367
ISBN-13: 978-1613735367

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.

1

To finish up our celebration of National Moth Week, let's take a look at the fun hands-on activity book for kids, Butterfly Papercrafts: 21 Indoor Projects for Outdoor Learning by Sal Levinson and illustrated by Danielle Levinson.

This book introduces children to both art and science in an integrated way. Topics covered include butterfly life cycles, butterfly gardening, puddling behavior, migration, camouflage and more. To explore these topics, children make finger puppets, flip books, paper airplanes, and even a butterfly-shaped kite.

The layout consists of a series of two-page spreads with instructions and information about a given butterfly-related topic on the left page and the reproducible template for the craft to make on the right hand page. Also included are black and white photographs of completed projects or activity suggestions. What a wonderful way to learn about butterflies and moths!

Although the emphasis in this book is on butterflies, many of the details are the same for both and there is a section about comparing butterflies and moths on pages 28 and 29, including a template for a double-sided moth. Although the book has other fun suggestions for how to use the moth template, it also could be folded and then taped or glued to a large craft stick to make a realistic moth puppet (Children with emerging fine motor skills will need assistance with cutting it out).

By the way, the moth isn't identified in the text, but it looks like a Polyphemus moth (see below). Kids can use their imaginations to design their own moth colors, too.

(Public domain image of a Polyphemus moth from Wikimedia)

Sal Levinson is a trained entomologist and it shows. The information in the book is detailed and accurate. Sal's daughter Danielle has a degree in design and she used her talents to create some fabulous paper crafts. Like the example of the moth above, she based her designs on real insects, not cartoons.

Butterfly Papercrafts would be a great resource to have on hand for STEAM festivals, units on insects, to accompany a trip to a butterfly house, or for a rainy day craft project at home. A must have for children who love butterflies.

Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 7, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1508695377
ISBN-13: 978-1508695370

For more ideas about things to do with the patterns/templates in the book, try our butterflies Pinterest page.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the author 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.