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Spring STEM Inspiration

Spring STEM Inspiration

Spring is in the air and here are some fantastic books to inspire Spring related STEM projects.

Spring Books

These books are great for inspiring Spring-related STEM activities including nest building and making seed inspired ‘spinning helicopters’.

Easter Books

These books are great for inspiring Easter-themed STEM activities including designing an egg parachute and building a ‘trap’ to catch the Easter Bunny.

If you have any further suggestions of books to inspire Spring-related STEM then please add them to the comments below!

The Big Blog of Seasonal STEM Books

If you’re looking for real world inspiration for your STEM activities then the seasons are a great place to start. We’ve recommended our favourite seasonal STEM books, dividing them between Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Within each category you will also find STEM books linked to seasonal events such as Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Our big blog enables you to look up books linked to the current season or plan your book order ready for the next one.

Click on each image to find out more about the book including the age recommendation, key concept and an Amazon link.

We’ll keep adding books to this blog as we come across them so do check back!

SPRING

SUMMER

AUTUMN

WINTER

Have we missed a great seasonal book? Comment below and we’ll add it on.

The Big Blog of Maths Picture Books

Picture books are a fantastic way to explore mathematical concepts. We’ve selected our favourites and matched them to the following areas of the curriculum: place value, calculation, fractions and measurement. Many of these books also link to other areas of STEM.

Click on each image to find out more about the book including the age recommendation, key concept and an Amazon link.

We’ll keep adding books to this blog as we come across them so do check back!

NUMBER: PLACE VALUE 

NUMBER: CALCULATIONS

FRACTIONS

MEASUREMENT

GEOMETRY

OTHER

Have we missed off a brilliant book? Comment below and we’ll add it on!

Autumn STEM ideas

autumn stem ideas

Autumn (or Fall for our American readers) is well and truly upon us. We love everything about Autumn, from the colourful leaves and cosy clothing to the harvest celebrations and orange pumpkins.

We’ve gathered together our five most Autumnal STEM activities and books in a handy blog post for you to share with your children or school.

STEM ACTIVITIES

sundials & shadows

Sundials and Shadows

How can a shadow help us to tell the time?

Continuing on from the ‘shadow drawing’ activity above, this activity teaches children to tell the time by exploring shadows of different lengths and positions throughout the day.

Click here to download this activity.

Oreo Moons

Oreo Moons

What are the different phases of the moon?

As the nights draw in, we begin to notice the moon in the night sky more and more. In this oreo moon activity, children will create the different phases of the moon using oreo cookies. They will use mathematical language such as half and quarter.

Click here to download this activity.

STEM BOOKS

Counting on Autumn

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Do you think maths matters to animals and plants? What if nature knew numbers like you? Explore numbers and different ways of counting in beautiful autumn scenes. Meet squirrels, bears, raccoons, geese and whales as they take you through numeration.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

A First Book of Nature

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: From beachcombing to stargazing, from watching squirrels, ducks and worms to making berry crumble or a winter bird feast, this is a remarkable book – part poetry, part scrapbook of recipes, facts and fragments – and a glorious reminder that the natural world is on our doorstep waiting to be discovered. Mark Hearld’s pictures beautifully reproduce the colours of the seasons on woodfree paper, and Nicola Davies’ lyrical words capture the simple loveliness that is everywhere, if only we can look.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

Stanley’s Stick

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Stanley’s Stick is a teaming-up of hefty talents – glorious poet John Hegley and award-winning illustrator Neal Layton. Stanley’s stick is not just a stick. With a stick in hand, Stanley’s options are endless – he flies to the moon, writes in the sand, goes fishing, plays a whistle and rides a dinosaur – and his imagination takes over and the magic begins.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

Girls Who Looked Under Rocks

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Profiles the lives and influences of six female naturalists:

  • Maria Sibylla Merian
  • Anna Botsford Comstock
  • Frances Hamerstrom
  • Rachel Carson
  • Miriam Rothschild
  • Jane Goodall

For Amazon.co.uk click here

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: “How many seeds are in a pumpkin?” Mr. Tiffin asks his class as they gather around the big, medium, and small pumpkins on his desk. Robert, the biggest kid, guesses that the largest one has a million seeds; Elinor, sounding like she knows what she’s talking about, guesses the medium one has 500 seeds; and Anna, who likes even numbers better than odd ones, guesses that the little one has 22. Charlie, the smallest boy in the class, doesn’t have a guess.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

Our top 10 space books for 7-11yrs

top 10 space books 7-11yrs

If you’re preparing to blast off into space, you’ll probably want to take a good book. The same can be said if you’re about to embark on a space topic. Luckily for you we’ve got plenty of books to recommend. The books in this list are suitable for 7-11yr olds. To see our recommendations for 4-7yr olds click here.

Ready… steady…. blast off!

10. The Astronauts Handbook

Astronaut's Handbook

SUGGESTED AGE: 7+ years

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Discover how you become an astronaut, the training you must undertake, how you travel into space and what you do when you’re up there. With a foreword from ESA astronaut Tim Peake, the first British astronaut to embark on a mission to the International Space Station. Published in association with the UK Space Agency.

For Amazon.co.uk click here             For Amazon.com click here

9. Older Than The Stars

SUGGESTED AGE: 7+ years

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: How old are you? Older than you think. In a way, we are all as old as the universe itself. In fact, every bit of every one of us was created in the Big Bang, billions of years ago. Stunning illustrations and lively verse tell the story of the cosmic connections that tie human beings to the beginning of the universe. Simple, informative prose provides additional facts.

For Amazon.co.uk click here               For Amazon.com click here

8. Margaret and the Moon

Margaret and the Moon

SUGGESTED AGE: 6-9 years

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Margaret Hamilton loved numbers as a young girl. She knew how many miles it was to the moon (and how many back). She loved studying algebra and geometry and calculus and using math to solve problems in the outside world. Soon math led her to MIT and then to helping NASA put a man on the moon! She handwrote code that would allow the spacecraft’s computer to solve any problems it might encounter. Apollo 8. Apollo 9. Apollo 10. Apollo 11. Without her code, none of those missions could have been completed.

For Amazon.co.uk click here              For Amazon.com click here

7. Pluto’s Secret

Pluto's Secret

SUGGESTED AGE: 6-10 years

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: People, children especially, have been baffled, bewildered, and even outraged by the fact that Pluto is no longer called a planet. Through whimsical artwork and an entertaining dialogue format, Pluto’s Secret explains the true story of this distant world. Providing a history of the small, icy world from its discovery and naming to its recent reclassification, this book presents a fascinating look at how scientists organise and classify our solar system as they gain new insights into how it works and what types of things exist within it. The book includes a glossary and bibliography.

For Amazon.co.uk click here              For Amazon.com click here

6. Cool Astronomy

Cool Astronomy

SUGGESTED AGE: 7+ years

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: 50 fun, simple and entertaining ways to improve your understanding of astronomy for kids of all ages! Discover how telescopes are made, learn about invisible light and study the scale of the universe in a way you’ll never forget! The follow-up to the popular Cool Science and Cool Maths, also by Portico. Inside this mega-jam-packed book are fifty fact-tastic ways to advance and improve your astronomy skills so you’ll never feel alone in the universe again! Learn amazing space-related tricks such as how to watch a solar eclipse safely and mapping stars from your own back garden, right down to expertly simplifying the supermassive numbers and distances involved in the space between space so you’ll never forget them! With Cool Astronomy, you’ll discover everything you need to know about the universe, from Asteroids to Zubenelgenubi… and almost everything in between!

For Amazon.co.uk click here               For Amazon.com click here

5. Women In Space

Women In Space

SUGGESTED AGE: 7+ years

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Women in Space profiles 23 pioneers, including Eileen Collins, the first woman to command the space shuttle; Peggy Whitson, who logged more than a year in orbit aboard the International Space Station; and Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space; as well as astronauts from Japan, Canada, Italy, South Korea, France, and more. Readers will also learn about the Mercury 13, American women selected by NASA in the late 1950s to train for spaceflight. Though they matched and sometimes surpassed their male counterparts in performance, they were ultimately denied the opportunity to head out to the launching pad. Their story, and the stories of the pilots, physicists, and doctors who followed them, demonstrate the vital role women have played in the quest for scientific understanding.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this book and then check out our profiles of some of the women featured, using them as a basis for further research.

For Amazon.co.uk click here                For Amazon.com click here

4. A Users Guide to the Universe

A User's Guide to the Universe

SUGGESTED AGE: 10+ years

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Answers to science’s most enduring questions from “Can I break the light-speed barrier like on Star Trek?” and “Is there life on other planets?” to “What is empty space made of?” This is an indispensable guide to physics that offers readers an overview of the most popular physics topics written in an accessible, irreverent, and engaging manner while still maintaining a tone of wry skepticism. Even the novice will be able to follow along, as the topics are addressed using plain English and (almost) no equations. Veterans of popular physics will also find their nagging questions addressed, like whether the universe can expand faster than light, and for that matter, what the universe is expanding into anyway. Gives a one-stop tour of all the big questions that capture the public imagination including string theory, quantum mechanics, parallel universes, and the beginning of time Explains serious science in an entertaining, conversational, and easy-to-understand way Includes dozens of delightfully groan-worthy cartoons that explain everything from special relativity to Dark Matter Filled with fascinating information and insights, this book will both deepen and transform your understanding of the universe.

For Amazon.co.uk click here            For Amazon.com click here

3. The Night Sky

The Night Sky

SUGGESTED AGE: 8+ years

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Children eight and up will enjoy this conversational but information-packed introduction to astronomy and stargazing, which includes the achievements of the great scientists, the history of space exploration, the story of our solar system, the myths behind the constellations, and how to navigate the night sky. Whimsical color illustrations on every page and handy definitions and sidebars help engage younger readers and develop their interest. The special star wheel helps locate stars and planets from any location at any time of year. This is the third in Black Dog & Leventhal’s successful series including The Story of the Orchestra and A Child’s Introduction to Poetry.

For Amazon.co.uk click here              For Amazon.com click here

2. Astronomy & Space

Astronomy & Space

SUGGESTED AGE: 5-11yrs

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: A comprehensive guide to the solar system accompanied by mesmerising photography and intricate illustrations. Children can learn about star groups, explore space and follow the Usborne Quicklinks to find out more. A great book to dip in and out of, for homework and for pleasure.

For Amazon.co.uk click here              For Amazon.com click here

1. The Astronaut Instruction Manual

SUGGESTED AGE: 7+ years

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Endorsed by authors, teachers, and congressman alike, Mike Mongo’s Astronaut Instruction Manual excites a new generation of space explorers. The book, designed for children between the ages of 6 and 13, is a functioning, interactive instruction manual. Using mad-lib-style fill-in-the-blanks, Mongo encourages his readers to articulate and illustrate their own vision of next-generation space travel. The Astronaut Instruction Manual captures a new era of enthusiasm for space exploration, driven in part by new space celebrities (Commander Chris Hadfield, Elon Musk), and in part by a shift in popular interest in space (SpaceX rockets, The Mars Colonial Transporter, Kerbal).”

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this book and then link it to our profiles of inspiring astronauts, using them as a basis for further research.

For Amazon.co.uk click here              For Amazon.com click here

See our space books & apps page for other great books for this age range such as ‘Phoenix’ , ‘George’s Secret Key to the Universe‘, ‘The War of the Worlds‘ and ‘Cosmic‘.

Our top 10 rocks & soils books

rocks and soils

We don’t know about you but right now we’re really digging all things rocks and soils (see what we did there?!) Our book recommendations link perfectly to the UK science curriculum unit on rocks, as well as to topics about evolution, dinosaurs, archaeology and paleontology. Here’s our countdown, starting at number 10…

10. Lets Go Rock Collecting

SUGGESTED AGE: EYFS, KS1 & lower KS2

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Holly Keller has created vivacious new paintings for this favourite Reading Rainbow title about geology. Readers follow two enthusiastic rock hounds around the globe as they add to their collection. Along the way they will learn how sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks are formed. From the Egyptian pyramids to Roman roads, from the diamond ring on your finger to the pebbles under your feet, rocks are everywhere!

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this and then have a go at our salt dough dinosaur fossils activity.

For Amazon.co.uk click here                             For Amazon.com click here

9. If Rocks Could Sing

SUGGESTED AGE: EYFS, KS1 & lower KS2

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Amazing rocks, found on a stretch of beach near the author’s home, comprise this unique alphabet book. A is for Addition, and there are rocks in the shape of real numbers, too. B is for Bird, and there is a bird rock on a nest with an egg. G is for Ghosts, and there is a host of rocks that look like ghosts! Children and adults alike will pore over these fascinating rocks, and will be inspired collect their own.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this book and then have a go at our chocolate rock cycle activity.

For Amazon.co.uk click here                     For Amazon.com click here

8. Archaeology Dig For Clues

SUGGESTED AGE: KS1 & lower KS2

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Archaeologists on a dig work very much like detectives at a crime scene. Every chipped rock, charred seed, or fossilized bone could be a clue to how people lived in the past. In this information-packed Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science book, Kate Duke explains what scientists are looking for, how they find it, and what their finds reveal.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this and then have a go at our Cookie Excavation activity.

For Amazon.co.uk click here                  For Amazon.com click here

7. Digging Up Dinosaurs

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Long ago, dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Then, suddenly, they died out. For thousands of years, no one knew these giant creatures had ever existed. Then people began finding fossils — bones and teeth and footprints that had turned to stone. Today, teams of experts work together to dig dinosaur fossils out of the ground, bone by fragile bone. Then they put the skeletons together again inside museums, to look just like the dinosaurs of millions of years ago.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this book and then have a go at our ‘Digs & Dinos’ Dinosaur Footprint Measuring activity.

SUGGESTED AGE: KS1 & lower KS2

For Amazon.co.uk click here            For Amazon.com click here

6. A Rock Can Be

SUGGESTED AGE: EYFS, KS1 & lower KS2

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Rocks may seem like boring, static objects–until you discover that a rock can spark a fire, glow in the dark, and provide shelters of all shapes and sizes. Laura Purdie Salas’s lyrical rhyming text and Violeta Dabija’s glowing illustrations show how rocks decorate and strengthen the world around them.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this book and then go on a rock walk around the school grounds.

For Amazon.co.uk click here                 For Amazon.com click here

5. Stone Girl, Bone Girl

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Mary Anning is probably the world’s best-known fossil-hunter. As a little girl, she found a fossilised sea monster, the most important prehistoric discovery of its time. Best-selling author Laurence Anholt turns Mary’s fascinating life into a beautiful story, ideal for reading aloud. Sheila Moxley’s luscious pictures vividly evoke the coastal setting and the real-life dramas of this spectacular tale.

SUGGESTED AGE: KS1 & KS2

IDEAS FOR USE: Read our profile about Mary Anning here and use this as a basis for further research.

For Amazon.co.uk click here             For Amazon.com click here

4. A Rock is Lively

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: From the creators of the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient and A Nest Is Noisy comes this gorgeous and informative introduction to the fascinating world of rocks. From dazzling blue Lapis Lazuli to volcanic Snowflake Obsidian, an incredible variety of rocks are showcased in all their splendour. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this book introduces an array of facts, making it equally perfect for classroom sharing and family reading.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this book and then have a go at our salt dough dinosaur fossils activity.

For Amazon.co.uk click here              For Amazon.com click here

3. Girls Who Looked Under Rocks

SUGGESTED AGE: KS1 & KS2

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Profiles the lives and influences of six female naturalists: Maria Sibylla Merian, Anna Botsford Comstock, Frances Hamerstrom, Rachel Carson, Miriam Rothschild, and Jane Goodall.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read our profiles about some of these women, using them as a basis for further research.

For Amazon.co.uk click here               For Amazon.com click here

2. What’s Under The Bed?

SUGGESTED AGE: EYFS, KS1 & KS2

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: What’s Under the Bed? travels to the mysterious world that is just beneath our feet. Follow the underground adventures of two children and their cat to explore secret caves, fossils and even silver, gold and diamonds before eventually discovering what really is under the bed.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this book and then have a go at our Cookie Excavation activity.

For Amazon.co.uk click here                  For Amazon.com click here

1. The Rock Factory

SUGGESTED AGE: KS1 & KS2

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: This series uses cartoon-style illustrations and humorous narrative text to make key topics in Science and Geography accessible and engaging. This approach encourages children to read about and understand complex ideas. This is the story of how a special sort of stone formed deep inside the Earth, and came to the surface thousands of millions of years later. The Rock Factory looks at how minerals turn into rock crystals, how the Earth is structured and how volcanoes happen. This book also contains an experiment, useful websites and an index.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this book and then have a go at our chocolate rock cycle activity.

For Amazon.co.uk click here             For Amazon.com click here

Our top 10 dinosaur books

Our top 10 dinosaur books

Most children go through a ‘dinosaur phase’ at some point in their early lives. We don’t blame them – dinosaurs are incredible! We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 dinosaur books. Our list contains a mixture of fiction, non-fiction, picture and chapter books. Each book will help your children to find out more about dinosaurs and will link perfectly to our Digs & Dinos activities. Here we go…

10. Harry and the Bucket Full of Dinosaurs

harry and the dinosaurs

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Harry finds some dusty plastic dinosaurs in Nan’s attic. He cleans them, finds out their names and takes them everywhere – until, one day, the dinosaurs get lost! The lost property man gets a surprise when Harry proves the dinosaurs are his by calling them over to him.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this then have a go at our ‘Digs & DinosDinosaur Ice Excavation activity.

SUGGESTED AGE: EYFS & KS1

For Amazon.co.uk click here             For Amazon.com click here

9. The Dinosaur’s Diary

the dinosaurs diary

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Surviving and finding a safe place to lay her eggs is difficult for Hypsilophodon with dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus Rex around. When she falls into a mysterious pool and finds herself on a modern farm there are still problems. Finally she finds a safe place to hatch her babies, but how can she keep thirteen baby dinosaurs safe and secret? When the farmer catches one – Hector – and plans to take him to the vet, it’s up to Hypsilophodon and her fiesty daughter, Henrietta, to get him back. After a daring rescue, Hypsilophodon takes all her youngsters back through the mysterious pool to her own world.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this then have a go at our ‘Digs & Dinos‘ Salt Dough Dinosaur Bones activity.

SUGGESTED AGE: KS1 & lower KS2

For Amazon.co.uk click here           For Amazon.com click here

8. Dinosaurs from Head To Tail

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Archaeologists on a dig work very much like detectives at a crime scene. Every chipped rock, charred seed, or fossilized bone could be a clue to how people lived in the past. In this information-packed Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science book, Kate Duke explains what scientists are looking for, how they find it, and what their finds reveal.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this then have a go at our ‘Digs & Dinos‘ Dinosaur Measuring activity.

SUGGESTED AGE: KS1 & lower KS2

For Amazon.co.uk click here              For Amazon.com click here

7. Dinosaur Bones

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: With a lively rhyming text and vibrant paper collage illustrations, author-artist Bob Barner shakes the dust off the dinosaur bones found in museums and reminds us that they once belonged to living, breathing creatures. Filled with fun dinosaur facts (a T. Rex skull can weigh up to 750 pounds!) and an informational “Dinometer,” Dinosaur Bones is sure to make young dinosaur enthusiasts roar with delight. Along with the rhyming, read-aloud text comes nearly 30 fun and amazing facts about dinosaurs. Also included is a “Dinometer,” describing information about different dinosaurs such as its height, weight and footprint size.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this then have a go at our ‘Digs & DinosSalt Dough Dinosaur Bones activity.

SUGGESTED AGE: EYFS, KS1 & lower KS2

For Amazon.co.uk click here              For Amazon.com click here

6. How Big Were Dinosaurs?

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a Velociraptor for a walk, or try to brush a Tyrannosaur’s teeth? We think of dinosaurs as colossal giants, but how big were they REALLY? With kid-friendly text and seriously silly illustrations, this fact-filled book puts dinosaurs next to modern animals so that you can see exactly how they size up. And a huge fold-out chart compares the dinos to each other, from the tiniest Microraptor to Argentinosaurus, the largest animal to ever walk the land.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this book and then have a go at our ‘Digs & Dinos’ Dinosaur Footprint Measuring activity.

SUGGESTED AGE: EYFS, KS1 & lower KS2

For Amazon.co.uk click here                 For Amazon.com click here

5. Prehistoric Actual Size

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: What is it like to come face-to-face with the ten-foot-tall terror bird? Or stare into the mouth of the largest meat eater ever to walk the earth? Can you imagine a millipede that is more than six feet long, or a dinosaur smaller than a chicken? In this -actual size- look at the prehistoric world, which includes two dramatic gatefolds, you’ll meet these awe-inspiring creatures, as well as many others.IDEAS FOR USE: Have a go at our ‘make your own fossils’ STEM project!

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this then have a go at our ‘Digs & DinosDinosaur Measuring activity.

SUGGESTED AGE: EYFS, KS1 & lower KS2

For Amazon.co.uk click here            For Amazon.com click here

4. How The Dinosaur Got To The Museum

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Acclaimed author/illustrator Jessie Hartland presents the fascinating 145-million-year journey of a dinosaur: a Diplodocus longus, from its discovery in 1923 in Utah to its arrival in the hallowed halls of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this then have a go at our ‘Digs & Dinos‘ Dinosaur Ice Excavation activity.

SUGGESTED AGE: EYFS, KS1 & lower KS2

For Amazon.co.uk click here            For Amazon.com click here

3. Digging Up Dinosaurs

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Long ago, dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Then, suddenly, they died out. For thousands of years, no one knew these giant creatures had ever existed. Then people began finding fossils — bones and teeth and footprints that had turned to stone. Today, teams of experts work together to dig dinosaur fossils out of the ground, bone by fragile bone. Then they put the skeletons together again inside museums, to look just like the dinosaurs of millions of years ago.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this book and then have a go at our ‘Digs & Dinos’ Dinosaur Footprint Measuring activity.

SUGGESTED AGE: KS1 & lower KS2

For Amazon.co.uk click here            For Amazon.com click here

2. Stone Girl, Bone Girl

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Mary Anning is probably the world’s best-known fossil-hunter. As a little girl, she found a fossilised sea monster, the most important prehistoric discovery of its time. Best-selling author Laurence Anholt turns Mary’s fascinating life into a beautiful story, ideal for reading aloud. Sheila Moxley’s luscious pictures vividly evoke the coastal setting and the real-life dramas of this spectacular tale.

SUGGESTED AGE: KS1 & KS2

IDEAS FOR USE: Read our profile about Mary Anning here and use this as a basis for further research.

For Amazon.co.uk click here             For Amazon.com click here

1. Monster Stones

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: This series uses cartoon style illustrations and humorous narrative text to make key topics in Science and Geography both accessible and engaging. This approach encourages children to read about and understand complex ideas. This book takes the reader back millions of years to tell the story of a dinosaur’s death. Through this story, we discover how fossils are formed. We also learn how they are discovered, removed, researched and preserved in museums. This book also contains an experiment, more great facts to know, useful websites and an index.

IDEAS FOR USE: Read this then have a go at our ‘Digs & Dinos‘ Salt Dough Dinosaur Bones activity.

SUGGESTED AGE: KS1 & KS2

For Amazon.co.uk click here          For Amazon.com click here

6 summery STEM books

Summer is truly upon us now and what better way to mark the season than with some summery STEM books! We’ve focused on texts that celebrate nature and have suggested activities linked to each book that will get children outside, exploring their surroundings. Enjoy!

6. Shaping up For Summer

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Maths in Nature is a lovely four book series, which explores seasonal and natural beauty through maths concepts, which are made engaging with energetic and colourful paper collage illustrations, poetic language and thoughtful questions. Each book also includes nature notes at the end, which give more information about the animals and plants featured in the seasonal scenes. Colourful, cut- paper collage art uniquely evokes the natural world, while two levels of text – one a lyrical story, the other asking children to problem-solve – bring the reader to a full understanding of the maths concept being covered. The engaging “What if?” format of these informational picture books is sure to delight five- to seven-year-olds.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES: This book is all about spotting the mathematics in nature so where better to start than by heading outside and looking for natural shapes. Provide each child with a table depicting each shape along the top and encourage them to draw or write down their findings for each shape.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

For Amazon.com click here

5. It Starts With A Seed

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: In gentle rhyme, It Starts with a Seed evocatively explores the growth of a tiny sycamore seed. Taking a journey through the seasons and years, we follow the seed as it transforms from a seedling to a sapling, then a young tree, until it becomes a large tree with its branches and roots filling the page. As the tree grows, it is joined by well-loved woodland creatures – squirrels and rabbits, butterflies and owls – who make it their home. Beautiful and evocative, It Starts with a Seed is a factual story that will touch children with its simple but enchanting message of life and growth. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES: Today we find the seed as a fully grown sycamore tree. Go outside and see what trees you can find in the school grounds. Then make your own paper spinning seed from a strip of paper! Check out our 15min STEM section to find out how.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

For Amazon.com click here

4. A Nest is Noisy

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: From the award-winning creators of An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient, and A Rock Is Lively comes this gorgeous and informative look at the fascinating world of nests. From tiny bee hummingbird nests to orangutan nests high in the rainforest canopy, an incredible variety of nests are showcased here in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES: Start by discussing what animals build nests. Children may be surprised to know that it’s not just birds. For example, alligators and orangutans build nests too! Then go on a sound walk around your local area, recording the different noises that can be heard and looking for evidence of nests. Finally, create your own nests or bird boxes, gathering up natural materials to place inside them.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

For Amazon.com click here

3. Swirl By Swirl: Spirals in Nature

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: What makes the tiny snail shell so beautiful? Why does that shape occur in nature over and over again – in rushing rivers, in a flower bud, even inside your ear? With simplicity and grace, Krommes and Sidman not only reveal the many spirals in nature – from fiddleheads to elephant tusks, from crashing waves to spiralling galaxies – but also celebrate the beauty and usefulness of this fascinating shape.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES: Create your own spirals outside using natural materials such as sticks and sand. Then think about what animals have spirals or are able to curl their bodies into spirals. Explore the outside area to see how many of these creatures spirals you can find.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

For Amazon.com click here

2. Wild Fibonacci

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34. . . Look carefully. Do you see the pattern? Each number above is the sum of the two numbers before it. Though most of us are unfamiliar with it, this numerical series, called the Fibonacci sequence, is part of a code that can be found everywhere in nature. Count the petals on a flower or the peas in a peapod. The numbers are all part of the Fibonacci sequence. In Wild Fibonacci, readers will discover this mysterious code in a special shape called an equiangular spiral. Why so special? It mysteriously appears in the natural world: a sundial shell curves to fit the spiral. So does a parrot’s beak. . . a hawk’s talon. . . a ram’s horn. . . even our own human teeth!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES: This book works well with older children who will be able to understand the pattern behind the fibonacci sequence. Once they have got this, encourage them to go outside and take pictures of natural objects that follow the fibonacci sequence such as flower petals and fir cones. Children could take this further, researching examples of this sequence in humans and animals.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

For Amazon.com click here

1. Bees, Snails and Peacock Tails

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Come explore the hidden shapes and patterns in nature. The peacock’s flashy tail is a masterpiece of colour and shape. A buzzing beehive is built of tiny hexagons. Even a snake’s skin is patterned with diamonds. Poet Betsy Franco and Caldecott Honour winner Steve Jenkins bring geometry to life in this lively, lyrical look at the shapes and patterns that can be found in the most unexpected places.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES: This book is a great introduction to shapes and symmetry in nature. Younger children will have fun spotting examples of this in their natural surroundings. Meanwhile older children may be able to make links between the amazing patterns in nature and the fibonacci code.

For Amazon.co.uk click here

For Amazon.com click here

6 STEM books about making mistakes

With today’s pressures to do well in exams and succeed at school, it’s no wonder that children sometimes feel like failures if they do something wrong. Whilst we may pretend to be perfect, the reality is that none of us are and the sooner we start sharing that with our children the better. We’ve put together a few of our favourite STEM books which teach children that not only is it normal to make mistakes, it’s an important part of life!

No 6 – Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

Did you know that making mistakes is often one of the best ways that our brain learns? This book challenges our understanding of our brains, explaining that each time we make a mistake, we develop our brain. For those teaching their children about growth mindset, this book is the perfect accompaniment.

To buy this from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy this from Amazon.com click here

No 5 – Beautiful Oops

We love the colourful illustrations in this inspiring book about turning a mistake into something beautiful. The artistic ideas in this book can be linked to all areas of learning. This book serves as a good reminder to the perfectionist in all of us that sometimes beauty can just happen.

To buy this from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy this from Amazon.com click here

No 4 – 11 Experiments That Failed

All of the best scientists have experienced failure in their careers. In this book we discover what happens when scientific methods go wrong. Guaranteed to make you giggle, we can learn a lot from the mistakes made in this book.

To buy this from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy this from Amazon.com click here

No 3 – Mistakes That Worked

From velcro to silly putty, post-it notes and fudge, so many of the things we’ve come to love today started out as a mistake. Find out more about some of these amazing discoveries in this entertaining read.

To buy this from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy this from Amazon.com click here

No 2 – The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

Nobody is perfect, are they? Meet Beatrice Bottomwell, the girl who has never made a mistake! Join her as she makes a most spectacular mistake and realises that you don’t have to be perfect all the time.

To buy this from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy this from Amazon.com click here

No 1 – What Can You Do With A Problem

We can’t get enough of the beautiful illustrations in this inspiring book. Like so many of us, the child in this book tries to run away from his problem, only to find that it gets bigger and bigger. He then comes to realise that we can learn a lot from our problems and that sometimes they can bring us unexpected gifts…

To buy this from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy this from Amazon.com click here

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