Time for Kids Big Book of How (Such a Great Book!)

It was so fun to teach today. Finally. It’s been more than a difficult year, Chez Bellezza, as I’ve adhered to the tenets of the National Core Curriculum (when has anything national ever been good?), the Illinois State Standards, and the binders and binders of ridiculous nonsense from which I’m required to teach.

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.

Two hours of silence. Two hours of working. Two hours of hands-on, problem solving.

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

14 thoughts on “Time for Kids Big Book of How (Such a Great Book!)”

  1. Wow, that sounds like an absolutely fascinating book and a terrific resource. Building bridges with marshmallows and spaghetti! Shoot, I think even engineer hubby would get giddy about that. 🙂


  2. Excellent review! I have a nephew who would love this book. It might also be a good one for my granddaughter. Thanks, Bellezza! Not sure how this one slipped under my radar.


  3. Perfect for my grandchildren with a lot of topics covered. Thanks for sharing your classroom experiences using the book – it looks like you had a fun learning time.


  4. I love how all of you are finding connections between this book and your children or grandchildren. Really, it's a very exciting book; the pictures and activities alone are enough to capture my adult interest, let alone the facts. (Did you know that the triangle and the circle are the strongest, most flexible shapes? If I did, I'd forgotten!) I think it would make a perfect birthday or I'm-bored-what-should-we-do? present.


  5. Ah, dear Nicola, it has been one of the great joys of my life. However, at this point? After 26 years? I feel a bit dismayed. I am expected to be the Special Education teacher, the Reading Improvement teacher, the Gifted teacher, the Psychologist, Social worker and any other personnel you can think of. My job description has expanded far beyond, "Teach these 25 children to read, write, problem solve and get along with each other." I frankly feel rather exhausted some days, and I pray that I have a positive influence over their lives.I'll tell you one thing, though: we sure read some excellent literature in our room!


  6. This looks a fun book regardless of age, I can easily imagine myself & a bunch of mates, a glass of beer/malt playing with these challenges.Also understand the ever expanding job role, as I work planning & running sessions for adults with learning difficulties which is totally changed from the job I applied for, sometimes for the better, others, well I think we've done the current economic subject before, so I'll leave it there.


  7. Parrish, I can just see you and your mates building bridges, launching rockets, overflowing volcanoes… ;)I didn't know that you worked with adults who had learning difficulties. It's interesting to me that your job has also totally changed. That's when we need to retreat to our books (or bicycles).


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