Share it! Science : August 2017

Friday, August 25, 2017

Favorite Picture Books from the 2017 Green Earth Book Awards

We've been enjoying reading some of the picture books recognized by the Nature Generation's Green Earth Book Awards for 2017. Although we haven't read through all of this year's picks, we have thoroughly enjoyed the following 8 picture books. Each would be excellent to read in the elementary classroom or at home, whether during science class or any time you need a good read-aloud.

I love that the chosen books are full of stories of actionable projects and show not only how the environment is being impacted, but also how children and adults can be creative problem solvers when faced with a challenge. I think you and your children or students will not only enjoy these stories, but also be inspired to go out and enjoy nature and learn more about our Earth.

Green Earth Award 2017 Environmental Picture Books

This post contains affiliate links, please see disclosures for more information. 

The Green Earth Book Awards


The Green Earth Book Awards have been given annually, since 2005, to great reads in the categories of children's and young adult books. The books we are featuring here are from the picture-book category, in which visual and verbal narratives help tell the story for young readers. There are many more books on the list of this year's award winners and notable mentions. You can find the entire list of the 2017 Green Earth Book Award winners here.


2017 Green Earth Book Award Winners

Our Favorite Green Earth Award Picture Books 

Follow the Moon Home




Follow the Moon Home by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Meilo So, was the Green Earth Book Award winner in the 2017 picture book category and was also our favorite of the picture books we read at home. I particularly loved Follow the Moon Home because it showed how kids have the power to work toward a solution to a problem. It tells the story of a class of students who work with their teacher to find a solution to the problem of baby sea turtles not making it to the sea upon hatching.

To work toward a solution to this actionable problem, the class makes posters, they spread the word throughout their neighborhood, and are leaders at their town meeting.  Rather than present a real-life issue in a scary and hopeless way, the story illustrates positive, realistic action by kids. The story is followed up by non-fiction information about turtles and more resources for kids at the end of the book.

We also loved that our library loaned the book out as a puppet set with this awesome Folkmanis sea turtle puppet! It added an element of play to the story.


Green City



I also really enjoyed Green City by Allan Drummond, which was an honor winner. Again, it is the story of a true, actionable problem. Green City the true story of a community in Kansas that suffered destruction by a tornado. When faced with rebuilding their town, they chose to rebuild it as sustainably as possible.

The story really looks at the process of problem solving, and how a group of people can turn a tragic event into an opportunity for improvement. Green City is written as a narrative story, but includes factual sidebars as well. The book could be read using both the narrative and the factual pieces, or one or the other. Green City would be most engaging for upper elementary-aged children.

Award Winning Green Picture Books

Prairie Dog Song




Prairie Dog Song by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore features really cool mixed media collage illustrations and the story is told in song (to the tune of "The Green Grass Grows All Around") but could also be read as a rhyme.

There is factual information on some pages that can be read in addition to the story. Prairie Dog Song tells the story of the importance of the interrelationships in an ecosystem, from the grass to prairie dogs. The song explains the factual process of plants and animals vanishing and scientists understanding the cause and consequences, then learning how to bring them back. The fact that Prairie Dog Song is written in song makes it accessible to a wider range of ages.


Finding Wild

 


Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd Illustrated by Abigail Halpin was incredibly engaging with extremely fluid and appealing images that almost danced across the page. The book captures the joy, peace, danger, and excitement of the wild world, and how you can find it even in the most paved over places. With concise, interesting phrasing, Finding Wild would be a great read-aloud to younger children, but will also appeal to older ones.

Mr. King's Machine



Mr. King's Machine by Genevieve Cote has cute illustrations and is immediately appealing to young children. Mr. King builds a machine to catch the caterpillar that is munching his favorite flowers, but ends up coming to realize that his machine is doing more harm than good. In the end he re-designs his machine to be a flower seed spreader instead. Mr. King's Machine is a kid-friendly way to look how our actions affect everything else and that there are many different ways to solve a problem.


Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep



Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins was instantly of interest to me as I love books illustrated by Steve Jenkins. (You'll want to check out Living Color and Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World as other great examples of his work.)

This text is written in simple, yet factual, rhyme that can be read to the very young. Despite the fact it is simple, it inspires interesting questions. After reading, my four-year-old niece wanted to know "How does a squirrel fly?", which led to a great discussion about how a flying squirrel glides and how bats are the only furry animals that really can fly. If you have young children who love animals, they will enjoy Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep.

Mr. McGinty's Monarchs




Mr. McGinty's Monarchs by Linda Vander Heyden and illustrated by Eileen Ryan Ewen, is a lovely story about a man who saves a bunch of monarch caterpillars. Again, a great story with an actionable problem. Mr. McGinty collects up the monarch caterpillars after the milkweed has been cut down and he brings them to schools where the students learn about them and raise them.

The bright, colorful illustrations are appealing and so is the engaging story. The end of Mr. McGinty's Monarchs includes kid-friendly factual information about monarchs and migration. Mr. McGinty's Monarchs would be a great companion to these activities about monarchs and monarch migration.

Circle



Circle by Jeannie Baker is the story of the migration and a year in the life of a godwit shorebird, which migrates further than any animal. The illustrations are made life like with the use of mixed media, including natural items.

Reading this story is a great way to learn and teach about migration, or read before students create and illustrate pictures of life cycles. Circle includes more factual information at the end. This would be a great choice for an upper elementary classroom.



Friday, August 18, 2017

30+ Science, STEM and NGSS Teaching Resources to Use This Year!

If you're not already back to school, you will be soon. I've polled STEM and science educator colleagues to generate this list of vetted resources that you need to check out this year! You'll definitely find something useful whether you are a classroom teacher, homeschooler or afterschool care provider.

Maybe you're looking specifically for resources that will help you align your teaching to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), or are trying to implement more STEM into the classroom. You'll find those ideas and the help you need here, as well as 2017's best apps for STEM and the National Science Teacher's Association's (NSTA) picks for best trade books. Read on for resources you'll put to use all year long!


 This post contains affiliate links, please see disclosures for more information.

Resources for Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) Aligned Lessons


Working on aligning your curriculum to the NGSS? I was so excited to get these great suggestions because part of my work is consulting on NGSS alignment. I'm super excited about these excellent resources!

NGSS Pathfinder This is a fun way to find an NGSS aligned lesson. You select the core idea you are focused on, choose the science and engineering practices you wish to meet, then one or more crosscutting concepts you need to cover, and voila- it pops out some lesson ideas!

Phenomena for NGSS  Using phenomena to engage students in their learning. Tons of stuff here!

Lesson Plans and Classroom Resources from the National Science Teacher's Association, NSTA is always an excellent resource. 

JogNog a collection of NGSS Vocabulary Quizzes, free for educators! 

STEMScopes is NGSS aligned curriculum for K-12. This site includes free content.


Resources in the STEM Disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math


DeSTEMber Month-long Virtual STEM curriculum from Girlstart. This is an awesome annual project, definitely worth a click!

HowToSTEM tons of STEM resources here. Check out the 15 min STEM activities for quick ways to get kids thinking!

For ideas that are easy to put into practice you'll want to take a look at the STEM Activities for Kids blog. 

If you are looking for STEM at the preschool and early elementary level, The STEM Laboratory, and Preschool Powol Packets are two great resources for new ideas.



If you are on Twitter, you'll want to check out this great list of the 50 Essential Twitter Feeds for STEM Educators. I followed a bunch!

Here is a massive (70+) list of the best science education web sites that you'll definitely want to visit.

Nova Education has great videos, and free teacher content. You'll also want to subscribe to their newsletter for monthly STEM ideas.

Hey! You can use Share it! Science as a resource too! Subscribe to our e-mail list to receive our weekly blog posts on science, STEM and STEAM activities and resources. Enter your e-mail below to sign up. (Just remember to check your SPAM folder if you don't receive an e-mail confirmation. Confirming your e-mail address is a crucial step, otherwise you won't receive any mail from us!)
  

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Science, Engineering, Technology and Math


70+ best science education web resources here on Share it! Science.

Be sure to check out our back to school science resources list from last year too!

Teaching Chemistry??
You'll find a wealth of Middle School chemistry lessons and activities from the American Chemical Society here.You'll also want to check out Adventures in Chemistry, featuring fun experiments, games and classroom resources.

Engineering!
The Teach Engineering site offers engineering curriculum for K-12 educators. If you are in the elementary classroom, you'll want to explore the curriculum available at Engineering is Elementary.

Inspire your students with some engineering for kids, by kids with resources from PBS's Design Squad.

Need help connecting classroom learning with real life STEM? Check out the great collection of resources on Get Caught Engineering.

You'll find some great engineering activities that are easy to put into practice at the From Engineer to Stay at Home Mom blog.

Want to get started coding? 
Maybe you don't have experience but need to teach it, or just want to learn yourself. Check out my post on teaching kids of all ages how to code for tons of ideas.

Check out Code.org for lots of resources as well as these free computer science clubs from Google. 

All sorts of fun coding and algorithm activities, like coding with LEGO and other games at JDaniel4's Mom Blog. 

Marvelous math resources

Check out Illuminations for great math lessons and interactives.

Time and time again teacher's cite Phet simulations as a great resource. Check out all of the math simulations here. (They are also great for science simulations, it's on our best science education sites post!)

I also really like Teach Beside Me for their fun, creative math games.

Add some art! Make it STEAM 

If you are looking for STEAM, STEAM Kids: 50+ Science/Technology/Engineering/Art/Math Hands-On Activities for Kids is a must-have resource. 

For the early childhood crowd, check out Preschool STEAM. They are about to launch an interesting paid service called Preschool Activity Lab that looks interesting!



Science Podcasts


Check out a new one called All This Science for 5 minute science explanations.

Brains On! and Tumble are two science podcasts geared for kids.

NSTA's 2017 Outstanding Trade Books for K-12


Each year, the National Science Association puts out their top picks for trade books (in other words, the books that you normally buy, versus curriculum books). This is an AWESOME list, especially if you teach elementary. You can find NSTA's Outstanding Trade Books of 2017 list here. Check out some of the interesting titles in the Amazon widget below.
 


Friday, August 11, 2017

Affordable STEM Inspired Clothing for Kids (and adults, too!)

I haven't met a kid who wasn't interested in one of the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, math) in one way or another. Why not fuel that interest with some fun STEM inspired clothing?

Whether you are shopping for back to school, a birthday gift or just because, you'll find something here that your favorite kid (or adult!) will love. I've been excited to find more and more clothing featuring things like dinos and space available for girls as well as boys. It's also nice to find clothes for boys that aren't only about sports!

Here is a collection of affordable, fun clothing featuring everything from animals, to atoms, to computer code. Inspire and empower your children through their wardrobe, or give a fun gift to your favorite science teacher with these picks.

Affordable Cool STEM and Science Clothes for Kids

This post contains affiliate links, please see disclosures for details. 

Cool STEM Shirts from Target


Affordable Science STEM clothes from Target

I really like some of the items in the "Cat and Jack" line available at Target. They have cool graphics as well as science facts. The prices are very affordable (often under $10) and they are guaranteed for returns up to a year, as long as you have your receipt.

Great message "stay curious" with facts about Marie Curie on the back of this tee

Science STEM t-shirts for Girls

Or this one with a fun astronaut graphic on the front and planets down the sleeve.

Cool science STEM Astronaut shirts

Moon phases, brain power and "future chemist" are favorites of ours, too.

Cool Science STEM Moon Phase Shirt for Kids
Brain Power Science STEM Kids Clothes
Future Chemist Kids Shirt

They also have cool science shirts for toddlers too. We love this shark fact shirt that a friend gifted our daughter. This sea turtle shirt is great too!

Toddler Shark Fact Shirt

http://goto.target.com/c/341936/81938/2092?subId1=sea-turtles&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.target.com%2Fp%2Ftoddler-boys-graphic-t-shirt-cat-jack-153-heather-gray%2F-%2FA-52020845%23lnk%3Dsametab%26preselect%3D51808081




Svaha STEM Clothing for Kids and Adults 


Svaha apparel has really fun, unique, clothing that empowers kids who love science and the other STEM disciplines. They also have a great line of Ms. Frizzle-worthy dresses for women!

From computer coding and solar eclipse dresses, to science experiment, rocket ship and geometric shape butterflies, Svaha has a wide selection of fun kids clothing that I would have gone ga-ga for as a child. You will also want to check out their clearance section to grab some great deals. Click on the images below for more info.

http://shrsl.com/jcwr

Solar Eclipse Kids Dress

Science Experiment Girls Shirt

Physics Shirt for Kids

Rocket Science Dress for Kids

Geometric Butterflies Shirt

I love the dresses for adults. I wish I had known about Svaha when I was in the classroom! You'll also find accessories and unisex science t-shirts for the grown-up crowd.   

http://shrsl.com/jcx1

http://shrsl.com/jcx1



Fun STEM Clothing on Etsy


One more place I like to look for cool kid's clothes is Etsy. The products are unique and I know that I am supporting small businesses in the process. There are many shops that create fun STEM clothes including td the science mom, "Children's Apparel that Promotes STEM Education".  You'll find great handmade clothing here and fun onesies like this one.

Future Scientist Onesie

I also like this cute "Lab Partners" shirt from Cognitive Surplus.

Lab Partners Kids Science Shirt Etsy


One of my favorite shops for promoting STEM for girls is This Girl's Tees. Unique t-shirts for girls who like math, coding and science.

Girls Math STEM Shirt
This Girls Asks Why Science T-Shirt Etsy
http://tidd.ly/6c1f9dac


If your kids love STEM, you'll want to check out this great list of hands-on science books, and the STEAM Kids activity book, with a STEAM (STEM plus Art) activity for every week of the year!


Affordable Cool STEM and Science Clothing for Kids