STEM Friday: For the Budding Scientist

Few things are more satisfying to me than writing for the youngest learners—so when the opportunity arose to write six STEM books for K–2 readers, I was ecstatic! The task was to write about things that change form when exposed to different temperatures (for example, things that change from solid to liquid when exposed to heat). To make this concept concrete for the K–2 set—and to answer the call for materials aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize hands-on learning—I decided to focus on activities that kids could try themselves to see how objects change form. That’s where the fun began!

51AV8K0eYWL__AA160_ First, my colleagues and I brainstormed a list of objects that change form. We came up with: cake, candles, eggs, ice cream, popcorn, and popsicles. Next, for each topic, I researched kid-friendly steps our readers could follow to see how each object changes form. In the Cake book, for instance (cover pictured), I found simple instructions for baking a cake (with the help of an adult, of course!), so that readers could see how liquid batter turns into a solid, spongy, and delicious treat.

Finally, the real challenge came in. I attempted to “translate” the steps into a narrative that is accessible for emergent readers, meets our stringent Guided Reading Level standards, and incorporates high-frequency words. For each title, I also provided supplementary materials on the inside front cover, including a note for parents and educators, a word count, a list of the high-frequency words used in the book, and activities that support the Common Core State Standards. In addition, each book includes a table of contents, chapter headings, a glossary, and an index to introduce readers to informational text features.

I’ve rarely worked on a project that was more difficult, more satisfying, or more fun. I sincerely hope our books help you—the parents, educators, librarians, and caretakers entrusted with the crucial job of developing young minds—introduce the kids you know and love to a passion for science that will last their whole lives through.