Don’t get me wrong. I would never send the children in my class to fourth grade unprepared. I take their foundations of learning very seriously, and they have grown enormously in their writing skills, their reading comprehension and vocabulary, their mathematical problem solving. But, fun? We’ve been a little short on fun.
Last week, Goodman Media sent me The Time for Kids Big Book of How. Before I could even introduce it to my class, the boys were sneaking it off my desk to read behind theirs. I was constantly searching for that book, as I knew I wanted to develop a lesson from their section on ‘Buildings’.
“If I gave you eight marshmallows,” I said, “and fourteen pieces of spaghetti, how would you use them to design a bridge?” They spent last night thinking it over, and today we built models with mini-marshmallows and toothpicks.
Then, I built the large one the book suggested. It was so much fun to have them gather around me, learn that the triangle and circle (of the spaghetti itself) are two of the strongest shapes, and see the book’s model of a bridge taking shape. We were even able to hang 72 play-money pennies in an origami cup I quickly folded. You could see the spaghetti slowly bend under the weight, (not pictured here) how flexibility and strength were both at play.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough for children. For parents. For teachers. It has exciting chapters which cover a myriad of topics, outstanding photographs, and best of all (to me) a How To section for each chapter. Now I’m all excited wondering what we’ll do next week.
Surely this is the way to teach Science. As well as read nonfiction.
Chapter 1: Animals
- Do Elephants Communicate?
- How Do Sharks Find Prey?
- How Do Chameleons Change Colors?
- How Does a Snake Inject its Venom?
- How Did the Dinosaurs Die Out?
- How Do Animals See At Night?
- How Does a Spider Spin its Web?
- How Do Honeybees Make Hives?
- How do Beavers Build Dams?
- HOW TO: Make Blubber
- HOW TO: Mark Your Territory
Chapter 2: Be Prepared
- How To Stay Safe in a Hurricane
- How to Stay Safe in a Storm
- How To Stay Safe During an Earthquake
- How to Stay Safe in a Fire
- How to Stay Safe During a Tornado
- How Does a Search Dog Find a Missing Person?
- HOW TO: Make a compass
- HOW TO: Make a survival kit
Chapter 3: Sports
- How Does an Arena Change an Ice Rink into a Basketball Court?
- How Are Baseball Bats Made?
- How Does Hockey Equipment Keep Players Safe?
- How Do You Do a Skateboard Trick Called an Ollie?
- How Do You Do the Snowboarding Trick Called Butter?
- How do Ice Skaters Spin so Fast?
- How can You ‘Stay Upright on a Surfboard?
- How can You Prevent Sports Injures?
- How Do Bicycle Gears Make You Go Faster?
- How Does Motion Capture Technology Help Athletes?
- HOW TO: Make a High-Bounce Ball
- HOW TO: Find the Sweet Spot on a Bat
Chapter 4: Buildings
- How Were The Egyptian Pyramids Built?
- How Was Mount “Rushmore Built?
- How Does the “Panama Canal Work?
- How Was a Bridge Built Across the Colorado River?
- HOW TO: Build a Spaghetti Bridge
- HOW TO: Build a Pyramid
Chapter 5: Science
- How Do Scientists Uncover and Remove Fossils From a Dig?
- How are Oil Spills Cleaned Up?
- How Are Birds Cleaned Up After an Oil Spill?
- How do Roller Coasters Go Up and Down?
- How Do Optical Illusions Trick Our Eyes?
- How is a Fireworks Show Staged?
- How Does an Iceberg Form?
- HOW TO: Make a Rain Forest
- HOW TO: Grow Crystals
Chapter 6: Transportation
- How Do Submarines Work?
- How Does a Hybrid Car Work?
- How are Tunnels Dug?
- How does a Maglev Train Work?
- HOW TO: Make a Baking-Soda Boat
- HOW TO: Make a Paper Airplane
Chapter 7: Home Tech
- How Does a Microwave Oven Cook Food?
- How Does a Lock Work?
- How Does a Toilet Flush Away Waste?
- How Does a Zipper Zip?
- How Does a Refrigerator Keep Food Cold?
- How Can a Virus Make You Sick?
- How Does Wi-Fi Connect to the Internet?
- HOW TO: Make a Camera
- HOW TO: Make a Periscope
Chapter 8: Food
- How Does Popcorn Pop?
- How Does Bread Rise?
- How is Chocolate Made?
- How is Ice Cream Made?
- How do Chili Peppers Make Your Mouth Burn?
- HOW TO: Make Ice Cream
- HOW TO: Make Pizza
Chapter 9: Space
- How Can We Protect Earth From Big Space Rocks?
- How Will the Juno Probe Uncover Jupiter’s Secrets?
- How Do Astronauts Train?
- How Does The Sun Stay Hot?
- How Do We Know If There’s Another Earth Out There?
- HOW TO: Build a Planetarium
- HOW TO: Launch a Rocket
Chapter 10: The Human Body
- How Does the Stomach Digest Food?
- How Do We Cry?
- How Do Medicines Work?
- How Do Eyeglasses Help Us See Better?
- How Does the Body Fight Germs?
- How Does Loud Music Hurt Your Hearing?
- HOW TO: Make a Stethoscope
- HOW TO: Find Your Dominant Eye
Chapter 11: Going Green
- How Are Computers and Other Electronics Recycled?
- How Can You Make Your House Greener?
- How Do Wind Turbines Make Electricity?
- HOW TO: Make Your Own Landfill
- HOW TO: Make Recycled Paper