Category Archives: Cross-Curricular

STEM Tuesday Wild and Wacky Science — In the Classroom

This month’s STEM Tuesday Theme: Wild and Wacky Science has the potential to lead readers in all directions! What a fun Book List the STEM Tuesday Team found for us this month.

Here are a few ways to use this month’s books in the classroom, extending learning beyond simply reading. Enjoy these suggestions, and as always, we welcome your additional suggestions in the comments below!

Follow a Friend on Facebook! 

After reading Unstoppable: True Stories of Amazing Bionic Animals by Nancy Furstinger, you’ll want to adopt one of these furry heroes! Since convincing parents to get new pets of any kind can be a monumental task, it might be easier for your class to befriend a furrrball on Facebook. Here are links to the Facebook pages of several of Furstinger’s friends.

Chris P Bacon, Pig on Wheels @CPBaconWheels

Brutus the Rottweiler @betterpawsforbrutus

Molly the Three-Legged Pony @mollythe3leggedpony

Vincent the Cat @walkingvincentcat

Albie, Felix, and Fawn, Woodstock Farm Sanctuary @woodstockfarm

 Chart Your Allergies! 

First, read Itch! Everything You Didn’t Want to Know About What Makes You Scratch by Anita Sanchez.

Then, practice data-collecting, chart-making, graphing, and data analysis skills by doing a classroom allergy assessment.  Start by asking students to create their own survey. What questions will you need to ask to find out who is allergic to what? Create the survey together, complete the surveys, and gather the data. Next, chart or graph (or both!) the results for a visual and numeric display of what gets under your skin. Who’s is inclined to itch when the cat comes in? Do menacing mosquitoes munch on many or just a few of the members of your class?

Dig Deeper!  Get the DNA 411!

In Forgotten Bones, Uncovering of a Slave Cemetery, Lois Miner Huey takes readers on a fascinating journey that begins with the discovery of and leads to an amazing amount of information about the thirteen slaves buried on what was once the Schuyler Family Farm near Albany, New York.

Much of what the scientists on the scene and in the lab near Albany were able to determine about the slaves was came the DNA samples from seven of the adult skeletons.  But what do you really know about DNA? Plan ahead for National DNA Day, April 25th, by checking out this website for several great DNA-related activities to do with kids. 

Make a Book Trailer.  Some of this month’s book picks have cool book trailers available on You Tube.  Watch these one-minute advertisements for wild and wacky nonfiction and make your own book trailer. There’s a lot to be said about getting the most out of just sixty seconds of screen time! Can you make a trailer that is certain to send readers running to the library to check out the book you’ve read? Here’s a link to a helpful tutorial to show How to Make a Book Trailer in iMovie.

   

This week’s STEM Tuesday post was prepared by

Michelle Houts delights in the wild and wacky side of finding fun facts for young readers. She writes both fiction and nonfiction and often finds the nonfiction harder to believe than the fiction. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @mhoutswrites and on the web at www.michellehouts.com.

Video

iNK: A Great Resource for Nonfiction in Your Curriculum

I grew up in the generation where many nonfiction books were dry and text-heavy. The content was to-the-point, and there were few photographs or illustrations. The purpose of even checking out a nonfiction book at the library was solely for school research projects.

Fast forward thirty-plus years. Nonfiction has changed. It’s fun. It’s fresh. It tells a story. Kids who “don’t like” nonfiction might not even know they’re reading it (kind of like giving a child something healthy to eat and they don’t notice!) So now we have kids reading these books for pleasure. But how can you utilize all of these great nonfiction books as part of your instruction? How can you even find out about them?

While web surfing the other day, I came across the site iNK and was intrigued. I had to find out more. What I found out is that the person behind this resource is Vicki Cobb. Those in the world of education know this name well: she wrote such books as Bet You Can’t! and Science Experiments You Can Eat. And she was one of the pioneers in the change in nonfiction. I tracked her down and had the opportunity to chat with her to learn more about iNK and The Nonfiction Minute.

iNK stands for Interesting Nonfiction for Kids and is a nonfiction database for teachers and librarians. The books that are part of the database are all written by award-winning, nonfiction children’s authors: Lawrence Pringle, April Pulley Sayre, Steve Jenkins, and Steve Swinburne, to name a few.

Vicki made an interesting point about how authors’ books are shelved. Fiction authors’ books are clustered together on the shelves of libraries and bookstores since fiction is catalogued by the author’s last name. On the other hand, nonfiction authors’ books are scattered throughout the stacks, catalogued by the subject’s call number. If a reader enjoys a particular author, they can’t just grab all of the books from that section of the shelf.

iNK introduces teachers and librarians to award-winning nonfiction authors and their body of work. iNK also allows teachers and librarians to work with some of the authors through the writers-in-residence program Authors on Call. A teacher or librarian can sign up for a professional development program titled Class ACTS Program. This program is customized for the teacher or teachers’ needs and includes written communication and videoconferencing with an author. See http://inkthinktank.org/images/INKBOOKLET.pdf  and http://www.nonfictionminute.org/authors-on-call.html for more details.

Vicki Cobb also heads The Nonfiction Minute, which is a blog featuring posts by nonfiction children’s authors. In addition to interesting nonfiction posts, you can listen to the authors read their posts! There are so many fun articles with high-interest photos. Teachers and librarians can also do a search by topic or scroll through the category list. These posts are great to share with students and show how nonfiction has voice.

Last, a new book is out by these award-winning nonfiction authors titled 30 People Who Changed the World: Fascinating Bit-Sized Essays from Award-Winning Writers (edited by Jean Reynolds). It includes biographies on people in a variety of fields, people such as Julius Caesar, Rosa Parks, and Roald Amundsen. And coming in March: 30 Animals That Share Our World. The book demonstrates voice through nonfiction, a topic that has more recently been studied with students.

And if you’re a big fan of Vicki Cobb, check out her posts on her new blog: www.vickicobbsblog.com.

So if you’re looking to add a component to your science, social studies, reading, math, or writing curriculum (wait, that’s just about everything!), check out The Nonfiction Minute and iNK.

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STEM Tuesday Wild and Wacky Science — Books List

This month’s theme of Wild and Wacky Science! is pretty broad, so we’ve included a wide variety of books that include humor, gross facts, bones, poop, unusual explorations, and some far-out science. It’s a great list for introducing science to reluctant readers and a wonderful gateway to many STEM topics. As always, we welcome your suggestions in the comments section below.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgHow Rude! Real Bugs Who Won’t Mind Their Manners by Heather Montgomery
Hilarious, informative, and gross, this title features a great mix of science and humor. Where else can you find bugs that throw their poop?

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgPoison: Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions, and Murdreous Medicines by Sarah Albee
The author of Poop Happened has a new title out that combines history and science. Poison brings to light medical mishaps and mysterious deaths.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgSuperman Science: The Real-World Science Behind Superman’s Powers by Agnieszka Biskup and Tammy Enz
Investigate the science of Superman in this Capstone Young Readers series that delves into flight, sight, and strength. A perfect way to combine STEM and super heroes.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgForgotten Bones: Uncovering a Slave Cemetery by Lois Huey
Archeologist/author Lois Huey tells the story of the discovery of a slave cemetery. Readers will uncover the science of archeology and the tools they use to solve mysteries buried beneath the soil.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgTwo Truths and a Lie by Ammi-Joan Maquette and Laurie Ann Thompson
From It’s Alive! to Histories and Mysteries, readers of this series will find unbelievable facts and some fake stories to tease their interest.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgThe Secret of Scorpion-Eating Meerkats…And More!  by Ana Maria Rodriguez
Meerkats, hyenas, capuchin monkeys, and horses come to life in this curious title as readers explore their adaptations for survival.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgUnstoppable: True Stories of Amazing Bionic Animals by Nancy Furstinger
If a human can benefit from having a prosthetic leg or arm, why can’t a dog or another animal? This book introduces readers into the medical marvels that have been created for animals and how the quest for solutions also inspires help for humans.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgTracking Trash:  Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns and Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Patricia Newman.
These books describe how trash moves through the Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgocean and what happens when it gets there. Two great reads for budding marine biologists.

 

 

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

The Big Book of GROSS Stuff by Bart King
This book, published in 2010, is one to pull off the shelf of your local library. Readers who love grossology will enjoy practical knowledge about boogers, belches, diseases, sneezes, and demon cheeses. Remember to take the Gross Quiz!

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgItch! Everything You Didn’t Want To Know About What Makes You Scratch by Anita Sanchez
This book releases March 13th and describes all the icky, pinchy, and slimy things that make you itch. Watch for it!

 

And two great fiction pairings this month:

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgHow to Outswim a Shark without a Snorkel by Jess Keating
Sharks, crocodiles, and humor are combined in this terrific middle grade zoology-inspired title.

 

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgHow to Avoid Extinction by Paul Acampora
Death, food, and dinosaur fossils help make this book a memorable read.

 

 

STEM Tuesday book lists prepared by:

Nancy Castaldo has written books about our planet for over 20 years including her 2016 title, THE STORY OF SEEDS: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less To Eat Around The World, which earned the 2017 Green Earth Book Award and other honors. Nancy’s research has taken her all over the world from the Galapagos to Russia. She enjoys sharing her adventures, research, and writing tips with readers. Nancy also serves as the Regional Advisor of the Eastern NY SCBWI region. Her 2018 title is BACK FROM THE BRINK: Saving Animals from Extinction. www.nancycastaldo.com

Patricia Newman writes middle-grade nonfiction that inspires kids to seek connections between science, literacy, and the environment. The recipient of the Green Earth Book Award and a finalist for the AAAS/Subaru Science Books and Films Award, her books have received starred reviews, been honored as Junior Library Guild Selections, and included on Bank Street College’s Best Books lists. During author visits, she demonstrates how her writing skills give a voice to our beleaguered environment. Visit her at www.patriciamnewman.com.

Check back every Tuesday of every month:

  • Week 1:  STEM Tuesday Themed Book Lists
  • Week 2:  STEM Tuesday in the Classroom
  • Week 3:  STEM Tuesday Crafts and Resources
  • Week 4:  STEM Tuesday Author Interviews and Giveaways