Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ghosts and Atoms

Ghosts and Atomsis another addition to the Monster Science series this one written by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen PhD.

I was very pleased that this book returned to the flavor of Zombies and Forces and Motion that made me start exploring the series.

The book uses ghosts as a theme to help children explore atoms. It begins with the history of scientists exploring matter and how theories and knowledge evolved to our current understanding of what atoms are and how they function. The book then moves on to defining an atom, describing what atoms are made of, explained positive and negative electrons, how liquids, gasses and liquids are formed, molecule formations, and several other topics.

I was pleased to see a fairly complex subject broken down with the help of the ghosts into language that is accessible to children. As I've said about this series in the past, the scientific language is kept intact, but the explanations are creative in helping make that language more user friendly.

This book does a great job of holding children's attentions and engaging them in a rather complicated topic. Just as you could see a child losing interest the author engages the ghosts to provide humor and reengages the child's attention. This is on my Christmas list for this year.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Vampires and Cells

Vampires and Cells is an impressive entry in the Monster Science series. Vampires are a logical choice to teach children about types of cells and cell structure.

These are friendly vampires, not likely to frighten children. The book covers a remarkable amount of material. It begins slowly with a definition of cells and a history of their discovery. From there it moves on to describing how cells work together and what I found to be a rather detailed discussion of types of cells and diagrams and descriptions of plant and animals cells. This was all done with vampire humor and illustrations helping to illustrate the vocabulary and science concepts being taught.

The vocabulary and concepts covered here are the most advanced of all the books I've reviewed in the series so far. While it might be a good chance to introduce the concepts to elementary students, I'm not sure how much they will process and remember. However, this would be a great resource for Middle School students as the information is fairly detailed and there is an emphasis on accurate science terms and descriptions.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wile E. Coyote Experiments with Energy

Smash!: Wile E. Coyote Experiments with Simple Machines (Wile E. Coyote, Physical Science Genius) helps kids explore the types of energy with fun examples, illustrations, and age appropriate science vocabulary and concepts.

The books is divided into chapters, energy in motion, electrical and chemical energy, heat energy, and renewable source energy. In each chapter Wile E. Coyote ends up badly abused in his efforts to use the various types of energy to attack the Road Runner, who makes fewer appearances in this graphic picture book.

One of the strongest examples was the explanation of springs and coils. The author doesn't just entertain with the characters, he uses them to explain the concepts in a clear and concise manner.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mummies and Sound

Mummies and Sound is another entry in the Monster Sound series.

I was glad to see sound covered as while it is often taught as an elementary science topic, finding age appropriate material that students can access independently isn't always as easy as one would hope.

This book follows the previous books in the series using a graphic novel format, humor, and lots of science vocabulary and concepts to create a book to teach students about sound. This book didn't tie the mummies as directly to the science material as I would like. The best attempt was made in using mummies to explain frequency. In the rest of the book the mummies are mostly used to provided illustrations and humor.

The science descriptions are thorough but accessible for children. The pictures do help illustrate the topics and keep children engaged. I just think it would be more engaging if the mummies were more directly involved with demonstrating science material. I also think this could be a great book for older students needing to review the topic. The graphic novel format and the humor might be attractive and make the material accessible without it being too childish.