What does it take to write STEAM books for children?
Almost every day, a question pops into my head. Can you grow the seeds inside a kiwi fruit you buy in the grocery store? Do ant larvae make sounds to call to the workers inside the dark nest? What causes iridescent clouds?
Then it takes effort.
Many times other people have had the same question and the answer is a mouse click or trip to the library away. For example, iridescent clouds — which glow with pastel colors like the surface of a soap bubble —show up when clouds are full of small, uniform ice crystals or water drops that diffract light waves.
|eventually one may sprout!|
The lucky few are questions that beg for an experiment or test. If you are curious about kiwi seeds, save some seeds from a kiwi fruit and try to germinate them. If that doesn’t work out, get some commercial seeds —for a control to show that your method works— and design an experiment.
I wondered recently what happens when you drop bird feathers one by one from the second floor. Do tail feathers sail differently from wing feathers than soft down feathers? Turns out that wing feathers tend to helicopter. Cool!
I absolutely love this hands-on fiddling aspect of STEAM and youngsters do, too.
Now here’s the secret sauce: keep a journal.
Every time you have an idea, or do an experiment, write it down. Draw illustrations to help you remember what you did and what happened, plus take tons and tons of photographs.
When the question or idea leads to more and more questions, and if the topic just won’t go away, then the journal entries may grow into a book.
Nothing is better than that.