Thursday, September 8, 2016

Learning Some Science Part 1 -- Back-to-School

Disclosure: I was sent these products free of charge. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As always I am providing links to the book for your convenience.

Today we are going to look at some books that make science (and math/computers) interesting. These books are perfect for the younger grades and teach a bit of history, science and more. The first is Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts.

This is the story of young Ada Twist. Little Ada Twist did not start to talk until age three (like Albert Einstein) and when she did start it was asking questions like why and how. She wanted to know how things work and why things did what they did. As she got older she begins to investigate things on her own and causes quite a bit of chaos in her house and at school. But Ada is a determined young lady who is not going to quit to she solves the problem and of course learns all she can in grade two! This book displays the mind of and life with an inquisitive child in a very good way. It encourages the child's curiosity instead of crushing it. It shows how allowing a child to explore can gain great knowledge and more. The Ada Twist website has a teacher's guide and activity sheets to download for free.  The teacher's guide shows ways of incorporating science and other learning with the book from answering Ada's questions (ie. why does a clock tick and tock?) to the items in the illustrations and in Ada's work in the illustrations and a soda geyser experiment. The activity sheets have a maze, puppets, the experiment and more!

I love that Ada is black and that her inquisitive nature is encouraged!! It is truly the making of a scientist!!
The next book is about a real-life Ada--Ada Byron Lovelace. The book is Ada's Ideas by Fiona Robinson. As I posted about Ada Byron Lovelace previously, she was the world's first computer programmer before there were even computers!! This book talks about Ada's ideas like wanting to create a flying horse. Her mother wanted her to be more ladylike and practical so she introduced her to mathematics which her mother loved. Ada had a hard schedule of studies and work with little time for play or for friends (beside her cat). She lived during the Industrial Revolution when the wealthy people had outings of touring the modern factories. This helped Ada work on her idea of a flying horse, but then she got the measles and was confined to bed for a few years. At age sixteen her life changed when she was introduced to many famous scientists and mathematicians including Charles Babbage. She befriended Babbage and helped him with his inventions including writing the program for his analytical machine that never got built. However she seemed to know that this machine was machine of the future that would do more than just calculations!! 
What I love about this book is that it is bringing a female mathematician's story to younger children. I hope this books and others like it will inspire more young women into fields like math, science, engineering, and computer programming. It shows them a female hero that is not a princess!! I find books about female mathematicians as well as multicultural mathematicians has always inspired kids to learn a bit more when they know there is someone who is like them that has succeeded in math or science. I hope more of these types of books will be written!!

Our last book for today is A Journey Through the Weather by John Haslam and Steve Parker. This book has a cover that unfolds into a poster.
This book goes through different kinds of weather. It explains how the various weather happens and is caused. Even though Hazel has learned a bit about the weather in school this book helped answer questions she had. It answered what hail is and how it is caused. It cleared up the differences between sleet and hail for us.
It also had a wonderful explanation of the seasons and why parts of the earth have different types of seasons. Although we have gone over this many times this explanation and pictures really helped get the concept through to Hazel. For the first time she really understood it. The book also goes into deserts and rainforests and why they occur. As well as the measurements that are taken and used in the United States for forecasting. This book has so much information about weather and is perfect for the young learner.

This is the first of our Back-to-School Science Lessons. There will be more in the next few weeks. I hope you will check out these books and our future posts!!