Science

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.

A CCSS/STEM Activity Guide for THE INVENTOR'S SECRET: WHAT THOMAS EDISON TOLD HENRY FORD

 Click on image to purchase book.

Click on image to purchase book.

It is a shame that this great book won't hit the market until September, 2015. I'm just dying to show you the projects, games, and experiments included in the guide.  I must have been channeling my inner Edison, because ideas for activities never stopped coming. This was one of those guides I had to force myself to quit creating projects for! Wait till September and you'll see what I mean.

Not to worry, though. Access the you tube video below to get a sense of the energy, inspiration, and  just plain fun that this great book offers to young readers. 

Title: The Inventor's Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford

Author: Suzanne Slade

Illustrator: Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Synopsis:  Both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford started off as insatiably curious tinkerers. That curiosity led them to become inventors—with very different results. As Edison invented hit after commercial hit, gaining fame and fortune, Henry struggled to make a single invention (an affordable car) work. Witnessing Thomas's glorious career from afar, a frustrated Henry wondered about the secret to his success.

This little-known story is a fresh, kid-friendly way to show how Thomas Edison and Henry Ford grew up to be the most famous inventors in the world—and best friends, too.

How to Make a Robotic Hand in 10 Easy Steps

Simple Saturday has returned - new and improved!

Check out this video inspired by Kersten Hamilton's most awesome Gadgets and Gears series. The robotic hand activity featured in the video below is part of the guide created for her newest book in the series, Ire of Iron Claw,  which will hit the market in July.  In the meantime, start reading the book that started all the buzz, The Mesmer Menace. While you're at it, check out the cool educator's guide that was created to compliment that book!

Y'all, this series is PERFECT for the bright child who owns a love of language, suspense, drama, and science! Just thinking about it makes me want to do a little hand jive!

Plastic Ahoy: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (Non-fiction)

 Click on image to access Educator's Guide.

Click on image to access Educator's Guide.

Author: Patricia Newman

Photographer: Annie Crawley

Genre: Science, Non-fiction

Publisher: Lerner Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-4677-1283-5

Click to download the Next Generation Science and Common Core Standards Aligned Educator's Guide created for Grades 3-6

Overview: Plastic: it's used to make everything from drink bottles and bags to toys and toothbrushes. But what happens when it ends up where it doesn't belong—like in the Pacific Ocean? How does it affect ocean life? Is it dangerous? And exactly how much is out there? 

A team of researchers went on a scientific expedition to find out. They explored the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where millions of pieces of plastic have collected. The plastic has drifted there from rivers, beaches, and ocean traffic all over the world. Most of it has broken down into tiny pieces the size of confetti.

For nearly three weeks at sea, researchers gathered bits of plastic and ocean organisms. These samples helped them learn more about the effects of plastic in the ocean. Follow along on the expedition to find out how scientists studied the Garbage Patch—and what alarming discoveries they made. (Lerner Books)