3 Books for Science in the Garden

It’s been Children’s Garden Week over at Growing with Science, so I thought I’d round up some nonfiction STEM books that could be used in the garden.

children's-garden-week

Flowers (Plant Parts) by Melanie Waldron is the perfect introduction to flowers in the garden. This informational book covers what a flower is, the parts of a flower, how flowers make seeds, and become fruit, etc. It also discusses how flowers attract insect pollinators.

flowers

The layout of this book is delightful. It is filled with bright, colorful photographs and neatly-labelled illustrations. Interesting sidebars highlight facts. It is very clean and crisp-looking.

Two hands-on activities are included with clear and well-organized instructions to help reinforce learning.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Grade Level: 2 – 4
Lexile Measure: 780L (What’s this?)
Series: Plant Parts
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Raintree Perspectives (January 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1410954269
ISBN-13: 978-1410954268

Seeds and Fruits (Raintree Perspectives: Plant Parts) is also by Melanie Waldron and is part of the same series as Flowers. It covers variation in seeds and fruits, what seeds and fruit are for, the parts of a flowering plant, how seeds are made, what’s inside a seed, what seeds need to germinate, different types of fruit, methods plants use to disperse seeds, and how humans interact with seeds and fruits.

seeds-and-fruit

Understandably, there is some overlap with the previous book. This book contains an activity of finding seeds in fruit and an experiment to investigate germination of bean seeds under different conditions.

These books in the Plant Parts series would work well with a school garden as well as in the classroom for a unit on plants.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Series: Raintree Perspectives: Plant Parts
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Raintree Perspectives(June 5, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1406274801
ISBN-13: 978-1406274806

What is a garden without soil and what is soil without compost to make it healthy? What’s Sprouting in My Trash?: A Book about Composting (A+ Books: Earth Matters) by Esther Porter is a visually-interesting quick overview of composting for children.

 

What's Sprouting in My Trash

The huge color photographs cover each two-page spread. Other than an earthworm or two, there isn’t anything that might dissuade a reader, or make him or her uncomfortable. In fact, the compost looks colorful and attractive with relatively fresh flowers and fruit in each view.

The back of the book has an activity about composting in a jar. Did you know you could make compost in a jar? I didn’t, so after a bit of searching I found a way to make the activity into an experiment by adding different materials to jars, as explained in this video:

As I understand it, the purpose of the experiment in the video is to see how long it takes for each type of additive to break down. If you decide to do this experiment, be sure to use garden soil rather than potting soil. Potting soil is likely to lack some of the microorganisms needed to speed up decomposition. Let us know what happens if you try it.

What’s Sprouting in My Trash?: A Book about Composting is a fun read-aloud and would likely inspire further investigations into composting.

Series: A+ Books: Earth Matters
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620657457
ISBN-13: 978-1620657454

Disclosures: These book were 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 not 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.

Brilliant Birds

Brilliant Birds (Read Me!: Extreme Animals) by Isabel Thomas is a beginning reader with a bright pink cover that is sure to catch a child’s eye. It also cries out to be picked up with the flamboyant “Read Me!” in the upper right corner. With that enticement, who can say no?

brilliant-birds
Part of the Extreme Animals series, this book looks at unusual birds, such as regal eagles, helicopter hummingbirds, noisy Kakapos, and cunning crows. Illustrated with big, bright color photographs and with plenty of high-interest facts in the sidebars, it is likely a child will want to pick this title up again and again.

Did the pink flamingo on the book cover catch your eye? These “extreme” dancing flamingos just might put a smile on your face.

 

 

Related activity:  If your family is interested in birds, you might want to check out the Great Backyard Bird Count citizen science opportunity and suggestions for bird-related activities posted at Growing with Science.

Reading level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann-Raintree (August 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1410946843
ISBN-13: 978-1410946843

Disclosures: 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 not 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.

Rounding Up: Beginning Readers about Space

If you took your child out to watch the Quadrantid meteor shower this morning, you might have sparked an interest in space and astronomy. Here are five beginning readers to help you find out more:

space

Space (Smithsonian Little Explorer) by Martha E. H. Rustad is a quick introduction to topics ranging from the moon and planets to the Big Bang. Colorful photographs and eye-catching illustrations help keep interest and put things in perspective. See how many Earths placed on top of each other would equal the height of the sun. Fascinating!

Reading Level grades 1-2
Publisher: Capstone Press (November 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1476535515
ISBN-13: 978-1476535517

comets

Comets (Heinemann First Library: the Night Sky and Other Amazing Sights in Space) by Nick Hunter explains how these bits of dust and ice orbit the sun in our solar system. Starting with ancient records of comets, Hunter describes some of the most famous comets and how they were discovered, He concludes with an activity using balls and a playing field to help children conceptualize the vastness of space.

Reading Level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1432975196
ISBN-13: 978-1432975197

stars and constellations

As you may know, learning the names of the patterns certain stars make in the sky can help you navigate at night or find the best part of the sky to watch for meteors. Stars and Constellations (Heinemann First Library: The Night Sky: And Other Amazing Sights in Space) by Nick Hunter explores what stars are, where they come from, what makes them shine, what people thought of them in the past, and how we study stars today, starting with the nearest star, the Sun. A fun activity is provided along with advice on viewing stars.

Reading Level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 143297517X
ISBN-13: 978-1432975173

eclipses

Eclipses (Heinemann First Library: The Night Sky: And Other Amazing Sights in Space) by Nick Hunter (Author) examines both solar and lunar eclipses, as well as eclipses on other planets. The book covers what an eclipse is, what eclipses can look like, how they happen, what people thought of eclipses in the past, and how they are studied today. He concludes with an activity, along with advice on viewing eclipses.

Reading Level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432975153
ISBN-13: 978-1432975159

Northen Lights

Northern Lights (Heinemann First Library) by Nick Hunter covers some of the coolest phenomena we can see without a telescope: the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.  He explains what they are, what they look like, where they can be seen, and how they are caused. Readers also learn about the significance of solar storms, the Southern Lights, what people thought about auroras in the past, and how they are explored today. As with the other books in this series, he concludes with a fun activity.

Reading level:  Grades 1-3
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432975161
ISBN-13: 978-1432975166

Be sure to visit Science Books for Kids for a more extensive list of Space and Astronomy books for children.

Disclosures: These books were 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 not 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.

Tiger Math and Science

You never know what is going to capture a child’s interest and at the same time take them forward academically. Take tigers. Right now there is a animated cartoon series called Uncle Grandpa that features a Giant Realistic Flying Tiger. Do I recommend the show? No! However, kids that do see the show or even the ads for it, just might want to find out more about tigers. If so, here are two STEM books that will take that interest and fly with it.

taking-away-with-tigers

Taking Away with Tigers (Animal Math) by Tracey Steffora (part of Heinemann’s Animal Math or Animath series) is sure to help young readers learn how to subtract.

Illustrated with cut out photographs of live tigers in various poses, the concepts are made concrete enough to help the curious child master them.

Want to take the lesson to the next level?

Obtain some tiger figurines, toy tigers and/or plush tigers to use as manipulatives. Count and move the tigers guided by the text. Then have some fun by playing hide and seek. Take turns hiding the figurines and then “hunting” for them like real tigers.

a-tiger-grows-up

A Tiger Grows Up (Wild Animals (Picture Window Paperback)) by Anastasia Suen and illustrated by Michael L. Denman and William J. Huiett is a beautiful introduction to the tiger life cycle. I was especially taken with the bright, colorful illustrations in this book.

Did you know that tigers can’t walk when they are first born? How about that each tiger has its own pattern of stripes? Tigers even swim and catch fish. Bet you house cat won’t do that!

Although learning about life cycles is an important part of early elementary curriculum, younger children are often also interested in baby animals. A Tiger Grows Up has the potential to be re-visited over a period of years as understanding progresses.

Two STEM books with tigers, what could be better?

Related activity:  Visit your local zoo or animal park to see some real, live tigers.

See Can We Save the Tiger? book review

Taking Away with Tigers (Animal Math)

Reading Level: PreK-1
Interest Level: PreK-1
Series: Animal Math
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1432975706
ISBN-13: 978-1432975708

A Tiger Grows Up (Wild Animals (Picture Window Paperback))

Age Range: 5 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Series: Wild Animals (Picture Window Paperback)
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Picture Window Books (September 1, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1404818014
ISBN-13: 978-1404818019

Disclosures: Taking Away with Tigers was provided by the publisher for review purposes. I borrowed  A Tiger Grows Up electronically from my local public library. 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 not 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.