STEM is very much a buzzword in schools these days – it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Children are being encouraged to learn these subjects and skills, and there’s a lot of emphasis on making learning fun. Here we’ve pulled together some of our favourite fiction and nonfiction in the STEM area.
There’s no doubt that Adam Spencer knows his numbers. The self-confessed maths geek has put together Number Crunches; a book full of games, puzzles, quizzes – along with heaps of stuff to draw, cut out, decipher and decode – this is the perfect book for kids aged 8 and above. You won’t believe maths can be this much fun!
Rosie Revere, Engineer is an awesome picture book about pursuing your passion. Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her Great Great Aunt Rose comes to visit, Rosie wants to build something to help her fly. Also a great message that it’s OK to fail sometimes too.
Is your child a computer whiz? Then chances are they’re already interested in coding, which is now being taught in many primary schools. Coding for Beginners: Using Scratch is an introduction to coding for complete beginners, a friendly and accessible book will teach children the basics of Scratch (a free, online programme developed by MIT which is widely used in primary schools), allowing them to get inside the code of their computer and create simple games and animations on screen.
George once created some marvelous medicine for his Grandma – with some interesting results! Probably best not to try that one at home, but here are some that are way more fun. George’s Marvellous Experiments involves concocting home-made slime to creating your own volcano, these fun experiments are all easily done, following simple step-by-step instructions and using everyday household objects. Roald Dahl would approve!
Did you know that Bill Bryson’s A Really Short History of Nearly Everything also comes in a version for younger readers? This book covers the wonder and mysteries of time and space, the frequently bizarre and often obsessive scientists and the methods they used, the crackpot theories which held sway for far too long, the extraordinary accidental discoveries in science and how life came to be.
Kids (and adults!) have been enjoying lego for years, and for good reason. Lego Crazy Action Contraptions is a brand-new book of brand-new, high-performance projects. Every single one of the 16 projects can be constructed using just the custom selection of LEGO bricks that come with the book. These contraptions spin, stretch, speed or spring into action.
If you haven’t heard of Minecraft, just ask any kid – they’ll soon set you right. Put simply, Minecraft is a game about placing blocks, constructing buildings and going on adventures. There are also loads of books on the area, and there is even a range of fiction. Diary of a Minecraft Zombie is the story of a twelve year old Minecraft zombie who has to learn to deal with the challenges of zombie life.
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki has written almost 40 books on science, and this is one of the biggest! Dr Karl’s Biggest Book of Science Stuff (and Nonsense) is stuffed with things to read, draw, puzzle, invent, order, unscramble, create, write, decode, code, make, match up, mix up… perfect for a budding scientist.
Lonely Planet are known for their awesome travel guides – so who better to publish a book on How to be a Space Explorer? This everything young explorers need to know to travel in space, covering what life in zero gravity is like, how to find your way around the solar system, and the all-important question of how to pee in a spacesuit! These incredible stories of real life space exploration are perfect for kids age 8 and up.
Why does it rain? How hot is a bolt of lightning? What makes hurricanes happen? Find out with DK Eyewitness Weather and become an expert on the skies above us. From giant tornadoes to the smallest of snowflakes, discover all about a wide-range of weather conditions and how they are created.
See Inside Your Body is an astonishingly inventive title allows young children to discover the inner workings of the human body in a gently humorous, yet wholly accurate way. Bright, original colour illustrations and diagrams display all the major organs of the human body and are accompanied by witty, clear and informative factual text. It contains over fifty flaps, which children can lift to reveal extra detail. Entertaining and authoritative, this is human biology for children at its very best – a book both educational and enjoyable.
In conjunction with the Powerhouse Museum, Australia’s Greatest Inventions & Innovations is perfect for budding inventors. Did you know that an Australian invented wi-fi, clothes lines, lawnmowers, vegemite, mousetraps and more? Full of facts, photos and fun surprises for curious kids and grown-ups alike.