Do you need some new activities that use unique STEM picture books?
I love looking at STEM through the use of a read aloud! Here’s a list of my top 5 favorite picture books to read in order to inspire our little scientists. In each section you will find an activity idea to go along with the book.
Check out my list and let me know if you have any other favorites that I should be adding to my classroom library in the comments below!
1. After the Fall: How Humpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat
This is a beautiful story about Humpty Dumpty and why he was sitting up on that wall. The story has themes of goal setting, perseverance, and overcoming defeat. These are all emotions that need to be built up for a successful STEM activity. After reading this, you can do an egg drop and have students build prototypes to keep Humpty Dumpty safe.
*FUN TIP #1* Let your students draw a face on Humpty before your drop him, they will love it!
2. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
Okay I may be a bit biased on this one- I love William’s story. It is about a boy in Malawi, Africa who’s family undergoes harsh conditions during a planting season. Their entire country faces drought, starvation, and disease.
William is a scientist who tinkers with old radios and learns how they work. He repairs them and dreams about bringing electricity to his small village.
Spoiler Alert: he ends up building a windmill to help power his home instead of using a dirty kerosene lamp.
*FUN TIP #2* Your students can harness “their wind” by blowing a bouncy ball through a Lego maze that they created.
3. Talkin’ about Bessie by Nikki Grimes
Bessie was the first African American female pilot an aircraft. She overcame racism and poverty to achieve this in 1922.
Have your students explore aviation by teaching them how to build a paper airplane. Students can experiment with weight and how that affects the planes direction and distance.
*FUN TIP #3* You can add paper clips, thicker card stock, thinner tissue paper, really whatever you have in order to see if it changes the trajectory of the paper plane.
4. The Girl With a Mind for Math by Julia Mosca
Read about the life of Raye Montague, a woman who created the first computer generated a rough draft for a U.S. Naval Submarine. This book uses rhymes and amazing illustrations to take you through Raye’s life. Julia Mosca also wrote one of my favorites “The Girl Who Thought in Pictures”, written about Temple Grandin, a girl with autism who solves problems for ranchers raising cattle.
To go along with this book, I created a fun submarine activity to demonstrate buoyancy and how submarines work. You can check it out here in my store along with the other activities listed above.
5. She Persisted Around the World by Chelsea Clinton
Travel around the world to hear stories about 13 different scientists, mathematicians, authors, and amazing women. Take inspiration from each story and use it to create your own STEM activities!
If you’re curious as to where to begin, sign up for my FREE Workbook to plan your next STEM activity in your classroom. Add your email and the book will be sent to you shortly!
I hope that these unique STEM picture books have sparked some creativity for you. Please share with me how you used them by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re looking for even more STEM ideas, check out how I turned my classroom into an Arctic Wonderland and had students create their own Hibernation Stations.