Books and Science are in Bloom!

Plants are growing, bees are buzzing, rain is falling… spring is in the air and so is science. What makes a plant grow? What is the life cycle of a honeybee? How does the water cycle work? Each day is a chance for us to share the world of science and technology with the children in our lives. 

In April, North Carolina highlights science with the annual North Carolina Science Festival to remind us all "that science is fun."  Not only is science fun, but celebrating science reminds us that science is everywhere and part of our lives every day. Local schools are supporting STEM education (Science, Technology, Education and Math) and local libraries are sharing in this as well, bringing fun and educational programs to young and old alike. It is never too early to begin sharing the worlds of science and technology. The experiences we have each day and the books we share help us bring science and technology to life and help prepare children for school and for their futures. Careers in STEM jobs are on the rise and the earlier we can start to excite children about the possibilities of science, technology, engineering and math, the more promise that the future holds for us all.

So, this April, take a moment to celebrate science. Ask an essential question, look for answers to the mysteries around us and to the curiosities we share.

Sorting Through Spring
Have you ever wondered how to teach children how to sort and classify things?  Sorting through Spring by Lizann Flatt (part of the Math in Nature series) explores the world of math as it effects animals and plants.  Join earthworms and flowers as they make patterns, ponder ratios with hummingbirds, make charts by counting frog fingers, graph mosquitos, and learn how the day slowly changes to night.  A great book for instilling early math concepts.  Each page has an activity for you to expand upon and the end of the book features "Nature Notes" which share interesting facts about all of the plants and animals in this colorful non- fiction concept book in picture book format for children in preschool and early elementary school.

Friends and would-be friends will love to explore math concepts with the colorful and entertaining Pirate, Viking and Scientist by Jared Chapman.  In this charming picture book for preschoolers and early elementary school children, Scientist is friends with Viking and Pirate, but Viking and Pirate do not like each other… not at all.  Can Scientist help these two become friends?  Will birthday cake work?  What about party games?  Scientist tries experiment after experiment, but nothing is working!  It's time to analyze the situation and what better way than using the scientific method to help show Viking and Pirate what they do have in common.  A fun read for your critically thinking young scientist.

From big to small, we know all about the animals around us… but how many of us really know about the little creatures existing in and on all of us?  Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies is a non-fiction look at the world of these eyeless, branchless things that are not animals or plants.  Filled with detailed and fun illustrations ranging from microbes in our soil to microbes in our stomachs, this book is a chance to finally see these creatures that are too small to see.  Like snowflakes, no two microbes are alike and each does amazing things like turning rocks into soil and milk into yogurt.   A great book for early elementary age children to grow with as they explore how one microbe becomes a million microbes in the blink of an eye.

For the truly science minded, a great series of books "STEM Jobs You'll Love," designed for older elementary age school children, shows what our interests can become in the worlds of music, movies, sports and more.  STEM Jobs with the Environment explores the ways in which our questions about pollution, climate change and environmental awareness can lead to a career like that of a Sustainability Director.   Or perhaps you love nature and exploring in your garden or hiking a trail?  Interests like this can lead to a career as a Forest Restoration Project Manager.  This book and all of those in the series show us that the possibilities are endless for the questions children have, the concerns they share and the adults they can become.

Science is everywhere and fields relating to STEM continue to grow.  Children are naturals for asking questions about their world and it is up to us to help them find these answers through bringing science and math concepts to life and putting the world in their hands.  Celebrate science everyday… not only will your children learn, you might just learn something new as well.  Plant the seeds of science and watch your STEM grow and bloom.