Promoting STEM Through Children's Books

Promoting STEM Through Children’s Books

Promoting STEM Through Children’s Books

Diving into the synergy between STEM education and literature, we’ve gathered insights from six experts, including STEM educators and a CEO. They share their top book recommendations, from integrating literature with cultural context to teaching STEM with female protagonists, to foster a love for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through storytelling.

  • Integrate Literature with Cultural Context
  • Highlight Astronauts’ Perseverance and Humanity
  • Center Units Around Impactful Literature
  • Inspire with Fun, Engaging STEM Stories
  • Weave STEM into Captivating Narratives
  • Teach STEM with Female Protagonists

Integrate Literature with Cultural Context

I facilitate learning through literature in various ways within my STEM class. Integrating relevant cultural context is essential to prevent units from feeling devoid of meaning.

Without this context, they may fail to connect with my students, diminishing their impact. Instead of simply constructing a windmill, I incorporate the narrative of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. Similarly, when tackling the design of lunar habitats, we delve into excerpts from The Martian by Andy Weir. Additionally, we analyze CNN articles recounting the humanitarian crises in Haiti following earthquakes before experimenting with our base isolation systems.

Whether it’s nonfiction, fiction, or news articles, incorporating literature into the curriculum fosters rich discussions that enable my students to glean insights beyond the realms of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Tom JenkinsTom Jenkins
Stem Teacher & Stem Coordinator, Greenon Local Schools

Highlight Astronauts’ Perseverance and Humanity

My book recommendation is First Woman: NASA’s Promise for Humanity. This book helps young people see astronauts as whole people who work through lots of obstacles. The dream of becoming an astronaut is attainable but requires perseverance.

Randi NeffRandi Neff
Stem Program Coordinator, Smoky Mountain STEM Collaborative

Center Units Around Impactful Literature

Promoting STEM learning through literature has been a cornerstone of my teaching approach, whether with my previous students, homeschooling children, or my own kids. Each unit I design is centered around great literature, integrating scientific concepts seamlessly into the narrative. One book that has been particularly impactful in this regard is Creek Critters.

Tina SalmanowitzTina Salmanowitz
Educator – Founder of Lmu, Little Monsters Universe

Inspire with Fun, Engaging STEM Stories

I promote STEM learning through literature by giving my nieces and cousins books that shine a positive light on science and technology through the lens of engineering jobs. I have seen firsthand how introducing children to STEM through engaging stories about characters that excite them can spark their curiosity and continued interest in these subjects from an early age. Making it fun is half the battle.

My book recommendation is Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and illustrator David Roberts.

The picture book follows the story of a young girl named Rosie who dreams of becoming an engineer. It illustrates valuable traits and the importance of perseverance, creativity, and problem-solving in the field of engineering. By sharing this book and others with my young relatives, I hope to instill a love for STEM and encourage them to explore their own potential in these fields.

Aaron WinstonAaron Winston
Strategy Director, Express Legal Funding

Weave STEM into Captivating Narratives

Promoting STEM learning through literature is all about picking up those special books that not only tell a great story but also weave in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in a way that’s downright captivating. It’s the kind of reading that sparks curiosity, opens up the world of scientific exploration, and shows that problem-solving can be an adventure.

One book that really stands out and does this beautifully is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. It’s based on a true story, which makes it all the more compelling. This book takes us to Malawi, where a young boy named William is determined to bring electricity and water to his village. Despite facing drought, famine, and skepticism, he’s driven by a dream and his love for science and engineering. With a lot of heart and ingenuity, William builds a windmill from scraps, achieving his goal against all odds.

What’s so powerful about this story is how it showcases innovation and resilience. It’s a vivid reminder that with some creativity and determination, even the most challenging problems can be tackled. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to introduce readers to the principles of physics and engineering without feeling like a textbook. It demystifies these subjects in a way that’s engaging and inspiring.

But it’s more than just a story about science. It opens a window to life in Malawi, highlighting the impact of environmental and community challenges, and it shines a light on sustainable solutions. Through William’s journey, readers not only learn about STEM but also the importance of environmental stewardship and the power of one person to make a difference.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is one of those special books that bridges the gap between storytelling and STEM, making it a must-read for anyone keen on promoting STEM learning in a way that feels natural, exciting, and deeply human.

Matt GorenMatt Goren
Head of Marketing, Tom’s Key Company

Teach STEM with Female Protagonists

Books with female protagonists are helpful when teaching girls about STEM, because far too many of the classics still maintain a bias towards male scientists, inventors, and mathematicians.

My daughter loved The Fourteenth Goldfish the best.

Any science lessons are hidden in a compelling story, and the author, Jennifer L. Holm, knows how to keep the pace moving for easily bored children. And as much as it is a book about science, it’s also a narrative about family and friendship—things any youngster can relate to.

A gallery of scientists and pages of STEM resources are included, and prime kids for further research.

Linn AtiyehLinn Atiyeh
CEO, Bemana

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