Next Gen Science

I Geeked Out on This Guide, Big Time - GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code is an inspirational story about a dynamic, tenacious, and accomplished woman whose entire life was guided by insatiable curiosity.  It was clear from the beginning that Grace Hopper was going to make a lasting impact on the world. As a child, she was driven to understand how and why things worked as they did. Her tolerant mother accepted her daughter’s continual dissections of alarm clocks and other household items as “Grace just being Grace”.  As an adult, Grace’s perpetual need to question the scientific status quo, coupled with her deep patriotic devotion, affected every project she was involved in, as well as the people she served along the way. Grace Hopper was one of kind, to say the very least.

As a teacher, I’ve worked with lots of kids like Grace Hopper. Brainiacs obsessed with math and science. Kids that won’t take an adult’s word for an answer. Instead, they are driven to comprehend why and how about everything and will not stop questioning until they do. (I once had a batch of students that found memorizing the numeric sequencing of pi to be entertaining! Good times, right?) Because of my experiences with Grace’s clones, I particularly enjoyed creating a guide for Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code. Ideas for projects kept on coming.

One of Grace Hopper’s most remarkable scientific contributions was developing computer code using the English language, rather than relying totally on the binary system.  In the guide, I created a lesson in which young readers could experience the tediousness and attention to detail computing with base-two, the binary numeric system. To think that Grace Hopper had to use that system to write code all the time! Yikes!  

There is also a manipulative historical timeline in this guide. Because Grace’s life was so extraordinary, readers deserved an elaborate one.  The dated timeline strip is documented with tabs describing key events in her life which coincide with others noting historic occurrences of the day, highlighted by labeled phrases derived from a lively list poem found in the introduction to the book.  I can just imagine Grace Hopper Mini-Me’s huddled around the timeline and the other projects in the guide, exploring the life and times of this astonishing woman.

I only wish I could be there with them.

WATER RUNS THROUGH THIS BOOK by Nancy Bo Flood

Reading Nancy Bo Flood’s insightful Water Runs Through This Book spun me back to a delightful memory of my classroom teaching experience I enjoyed years ago. We had scheduled an environmental agency in Dallas to present a half-day workshop session. Their mission was to teach water conservation, which sounded like a fine way to spend the better part of the morning. As it turned out, their program was unforgettable!

The group brought a game with them, an interactive one that had the kids hopping all around the room like raindrops on a rooftop. The game was chaotic and engaging and FUN! I had a blast and the kids did, too.

Flood’s book reminded me of the game we played, a game illustrating the agelessness of the water molecule. That day we learned that one molecule of water can transform from being a snowflake, to a dinosaur’s dribble, and then show up shooting itself out of a water hose! How cool is that?

An adaptation of that incredible game, and a few other activities, are included in the Project and Activity Guide created to compliment the fascinating facts featured in Water Runs Through This Book. Ultimately though, what makes this book a must-read is Flood’s blend of factual data with her signature poetic touch – a combination that will keep young readers deliciously engaged in the miraculously wondrous world of water for eternity and beyond.

Buy it. Read it Enjoy it. Fair warning, though. Keep your umbrella close by. You just might need it.

The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less to Eat Around the World by Nancy Castaldo

Nancy Castaldo’s incredible The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less to Eat Around the World (Harcourt Brace and Company) is much more than a mere non-fictional account of cross-pollination and heirloom tomatoes (although she does explain these topics in a logical and comprehensive way). Folks, this book is a call to ACTION and we’d best be heeding that call.

Did you know that, throughout history, people have risked their lives to protect seeds? I mean, like, they died for the cause. And, that seeds are being exploited through biopiracy, and that even Hitler was in on the seed wars, and that there is plenty seedy trouble brewing today? Download the guide to get a sense of rich content covered in The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and How There’s More of Less to Eat Around the World. It’s pretty darned amazing, I tell you.

This is exactly the type of text that my upper-elementary Montessori students would have loved. Our class was comprised of young activists, kids that cared about the environment, animal rights, and non-violence. I imagine that, after reading Castaldo’s fine work, we’d be joining heads to find a way to make a difference.

We’d become seed defenders.

I’m sure of it.

The Guides by deb Library is Now Open!

You are invited to take a tour of a collection of the various types of guides I’ve created over the years. Guides for YA, middle grade, picture and chapter books – you name it, I’ve made it.  Access this link and you’ll find discussion questions, games, puzzles, and projects galore for some of the best books in the business!

The experience of organizing this collection of .pdfs was much like the nostalgic feelings one gets when flipping through a stack of old family photographs. Hard to believe that I began creating guides six years ago. Yet the books and the lessons created to compliment them are still as intriguing as they were back then.

I’m grateful to have the honor of partnering with so many great authors and illustrators on such a wide variety of projects. What a joy it is to explore opportunities for readers to connect with their stories in a creative ways. Access the link and see for yourself! Check out the science experiments and reader’s theater scripts and poetry and crafty, paper folding activities and… and… and... Such fun!

So, my friends, welcome to the Guides by deb Library of Reading Guides. Stop by and browse the lists. Additional titles will be added weekly. I’ll be sure to let you know when they arrive.

In the Canyon by Liz Garton Scanlon

Want to learn how to squeeze the Grand Canyon into a water bottle? Download the Discussion & Activity Guide for Liz Garton Scanlon’s latest picture book, In the Canyon, to find out how.

And they said it couldn’t be done.

You’ll find loads of other fun activities in the guide, too. Plenty of great information, projects, and games inspired by a young girl’s hike and the fascinating discoveries she makes along the way. From petroglyphs to condors, big-horned sheep to the tiny ground squirrel, and so much more!

Buy the book, download the guide and enjoy!

School Visit Presentation Packet - Survival Strategies for the Almost Brave

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If you’re an author or illustrator seeking to find a niche in the school visit market, having a well-planned, standards-aligned Presentation Packet as part of your media kit is a must. Documents such as this one created for debut author Jen White communicate to educators that you honor their need to offer quality academic content while having a great time doing so! You're letting the gatekeepers know that, not only will you bring your enthusiasm for reading, writing, and hanging out with kids to the school visit, you’re providing a wealth of great, value-packed, follow-up fodder, too.  

 Click on image to download Presentation Packet.

Click on image to download Presentation Packet.

The Presentation Packet created for Jen’s fantastic Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015) is divided into three sections; the inspiration for each is based on this heart-warming, expertly-crafted survival story.  The lessons are designed to pull the child into the story experience through consideration of their own survival strategies in strangely unfamiliar habitats.  Being that Jen features a number of very cool animal habitat videos during her school visit, specifically created graphic organizers and various writing prompts complimenting her presentation are included in the packet – ready for downloading action!

In short, any educator who desires to enrich their students’ classroom experience should consider inviting Jen White to present her program. Not only has she written a memorable story that will remain in the hearts of readers long after they turn the final page, she’s prepared to creatively support the curriculum by demonstrating the use of figurative language, nuances in word meanings, word relationships, a discussion of the notion of natural selection and much more!

SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS: A STORY OF SLEEP by Eileen Meyers

Below is a video showing how to make a Hibernating Bear Craft which is part of a CCSS-Aligned Discussion & Activity guide created for Eileen Meyer’s SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS: A STORY OF SLEEP.  The book guide can be downloaded at the author’s website at www.eileenmeyerbooks.com or right here!!!!

Synopsis: Fourteen animals, including the cuddly koala, the hairy anteater, and the wise owl, are featured in this lyrical bedtime story about the unusual ways that animals sleep. Natural history notes explain how each animal sleeps, from the magnificent frigate bird, which naps while flying hundreds of feet above the sea, to the walrus, which sleeps with its tusks anchored in floating ice. Whimsical watercolors of dozing animals will help any weary child fall to sleep with a smile.

Book Title: SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS: A STORY OF SLEEP

Written by: Eileen Meyer

Website: www.eileenmeyerbooks.com   

Illustrated by: Laurie Caple

Website: www.lauriecaple.com      

Published by: Mountain Press Publishing Company

ISBN: 978-0670012855