Friday, March 22, 2019

Let's talk about Climate Change

This past winter, when the polar vortex edged south and daily temperatures almost, but not quite, edged up to zero degrees (F) some folks joked that we could use some global warming. Even elected leaders seem not to understand the difference between weather and climate, and are downplaying or outright denying the emergency of our changing climate.

So I am relieved when I find books for kids that are grounded in climate science. Searchlight Books (Lerner) recently published a series on climate change. The books are each 32 pages long, and aimed for students in 3rd -5th grade.

Climate Change and Energy Technology, written by Rebecca E. Hirsch, is divided into four chapters. In the first she clarifies what climate change is. It is not the weather, which changes from day to day. Climate is the "usual weather for a place", but as we have been learning, what is "usual" has been changing over the past decade. And the warming climate has contributes to more extreme storms, including blizzards.

Hirsch devotes a chapter to energy: fossil fuels, wind, sun, geothermal, and hydro. She examines inventions that increase energy efficiency as well as create new ways to capture, store, and use energy. Think about the increasing number of electric vehicles on the road and the emerging need for quick-charging stations.

Her last chapter explores how we will energize out future. How can we build better batteries? Are there untapped renewable energy sources that we could harness?

"STEM in Depth" sidebars explain how solar panels work and how tidal power is captured. The book ends with four things anyone of any age can do to help reduce their carbon footprint. There's also a glossary and resources for further investigation.

There are five other books in the series:
Climate Change and Air Quality
Climate Change and Extreme Storms
Climate Change and Life on Earth
Climate Change and Rising Sea Levels
Climate Change and Rising Temperatures

So what can you do about Climate Change?
Here's a video that answers that very question.
Head over to the Museum of Natural History to learn more.
Head over to NASA's Climate Kids site to learn how you can help.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. Review copy provided by publisher.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wednesday Explorer's club ~ Spring comes to the Backyard

This afternoon, at 5:58 pm Eastern Daylight Time, the sun will pass the equator on its journey north. For those of us tired of cold and ice, this is a time of celebration. Soon buds will burst open, the air will fill with the hummmmm of bees and the sweet scent of flowers, and we can put away our thick wool socks and insulated pac-boots.

This is also the night of the Full Worm Moon, as well as the beginning of Holi and Purim. So go on a moon hike, celebrate color, and bake some hamantaschen.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Ocean books for Early Readers

I love the National Geographic Kids books for early readers. Here are three recent books that focus on the ocean, tide pools, and coral reefs.

In the Ocean (Readers)
by Jennifer Szymanski
48 pages; ages 2-5

This book is a level 1 co-reader, meaning that it's a book for a shared reading experience between a kid just learning to read and a parent or older reader. It is divided into four chapters of 6 to 10 pages: Water in the ocean; Ocean homes; Animals in the ocean; and People and the ocean.

Each spread introduces a single idea, such as what oceans are, how waves move, or what coral is.

 The left side presents text for the older reader. Text on the right side (I Read) is in larger font. Some words are bolded - words about the ocean, places, action words. After each chapter is a section called "Your Turn" - a matching game or other activity for kids to do to further explore the ocean.

Tide Pools (Readers)
by Laura Marsh
32 pages; ages 4-6

This is a book for kids who are beginning to read on their own. It opens with a color-coded table of contents. Topics are presented in yellow and orange sections, while green indicates an activity. Throughout the pages you'll find text boxes with seashell icons. Labeled "Tide Pool Talk", these highlight new words which are also featured in the photo-glossary on the last page. The Q & A boxes are fishy jokes, and others provide labels and information about the photos. It's a fun way for beginning readers to learn that information comes from text AND captions, labels, and sidebars. I love the "cool facts" about tide pool critters.

Explore My World: Coral Reefs
by Jill Esbaum
32 pages; ages 3-7

Though not a "reader", this is a perfect book to read with emerging readers. Simple text introduces each topic, in text large enough for a young kid to trace with their finger. Text is focused without being too sophisticated, and circular text "boxes" provide helpful pronunciation and intriguing facts.

Back matter includes a menu (What's for Dinner?) and a celebration of the diversity of corals. There's also a world map showing where coral reefs are found, and a hide-and-seek game.

Learn more about ocean life!

Check out the National Geographic Kids Ocean Portal. There you can dive into the deep, learn more about underwater animals, play ocean-themed games, and watch videos.Or head out to explore Tide Pools with biology students at the College of Idaho.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. Review copies provided by the publisher.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wednesday Explorer's Club ~ changing seasons

We are nearing the equinox, when day length will equal dark length. Which means we can have ice and snow one day and 40 degrees the next. This week the snow is melting, turning slushy. Leaves and pine needles that fell during the big wind a week ago are coming to the surface, and some create local "hot spots", melting holes into the remaining few inches of snow. And then, overnight, snow melt freezes into a thick layer of ice and we start the melting anew at mid-morning the next day.

What does the end of winter look like where you live? (Or maybe in your neck of the woods it is the end of summer)

How does the texture of the snow change over the course of a day, a week?

What unexpected treasures are you discovering as the snow melts?