July 4, 2017

Teacher Book Talk Tuesday: Maker Lab

Oops! I missed out on last week's fun linky! Chalk it up to summer with its lack of routine; I'm lucky if I know what day of the week it is. I realized just in time this week to join Kathleen from Kidpeople Classroom for her weekly...

This week I'd like to share a fabulous STEM (read FUN) book with you. It was a gift from one of my sweet girls... thank you, Kiden!

Here's what Amazon has to say about this terrific text:

Supporting STEM education initiatives and the maker movement, the National Parenting Publication Award-winner Maker Lab includes 28 kid-safe projects and crafts that will get young inventors' wheels turning and make science pure fun.

Each step-by-step activity is appropriate for kids ages 8–12, and ranked easy, medium, or hard, with an estimated time frame for completion. Requiring only household materials, young makers can build an exploding volcano, race balloon rocket cars, construct a solar system, make a lemon battery, and more. Photographs and facts carefully detail the "why" and "how" of each experiment using real-world examples to provide context so kids can gain a deeper understanding of the scientific principles applied. 
The book is loaded with fun, simple activities that a child can do independently, with a partner, or in a small group. Arranged into categories Around the House, Food for Thought, Water World, and The Great Outdoors all major concentrations of Science (life science, physical science, earth science) are represented. Here are a few of the many individual topics that kids can explore.

Beautiful photos and simple explanations make it inviting for children to read, explore, and do! While fun is a big part of this book, rigorous science is the goal. Behind each engaging activity is fundamental science concepts contained in the Next Generation Science Standards.

I look forward to really diving into this book during the coming school year. I have Kiden's class once again for science this year and plan to use this book and its ideas as much as possible.

Speaking of STEM and Science, guess what I've been doing the past few days!

If you guessed organizing my STEM building materials then you are correct! Every building material is counted and bagged so that no time is wasted during Science class. Groups can grab their materials and go to work immediately. Since I'm still teaching sixth grade science, I decided to get all of the first quarter materials organized before school even begins; I know what I'm doing for these lessons. I can then concentrate on the two new sections of materials as the year progresses. I'll be relying on Smithsonian Maker Lab by Jack Challoner for some help with this!

Don't forget to stop by Kathleen's blog to see what she has shared for Teacher Book Talk Tuesday. Better yet, why not add a booktalk of your own to the linky!


  1. So excited to see Maker Lab here. I've had the book on hold at the library since the end of May and keep hoping it will come in!
    STEM is Elementary

    1. You will definitely enjoy the book and find loads that you will want to do. I am leaning towards that lemon battery near the beginning of the year with my seventh graders. Besides concrete science, all those lemons will have my classroom smelling wonderful... which will be terrific since I have them at the end of the day. Not sure what grade you teach, but a middle school classroom on hot, sunny August/September afternoon can be unusually odoriferous.

  2. That book looks great. I am so happy we as a profession are doing more with STEM, or as we say in my district, STEAM– adding in the arts. I bet you have a blast with this science all day. And good for you being so organized! Thanks for sharing the book. Kathleen

    1. I do look forward to my science class, er classes this year! It breaks up the day and almost feels like it's play time. I do manage to get in LOTS of skills, but I tend to do loads of hands-on as well. I'm trying to wrack my brain for more challenging STEM activities for my 7/8th graders. I have already had them for science in sixth so it's new or more in-depth activities I need to develop. Ah, that's what summers are for for us teachers!

  3. Love your post. I'm sure your students will love doing STEM with all your ideas. Looks so fun. Thanks for sharing.


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