Our Early Years Book Group has been looking at new picture books that can be used for STEM. Picture books are fantastic for stimulating learning and many are wonderful for a STEM Through Stories focus. The Falkirk STEM Officers support us by providing story planners for each book to give teachers and practitioners a starting point but our members always find creative ways to use the books and bring the learning to life.
King of the Swamp by Catherine Emmett and Ben Mantle
McDarkly lives all on his own, growing orchids in his dank swamp, until one day his peace is disturbed by an arrogant king who wants to turn the swamp into a roller-skate park. This story is brilliant for looking at nature, minibeasts and environmental issues.
Practitioners took the book with them on a visit to the local woods and it stimulated lots of role-play and den building. One child commented that they didn’t want them to ‘take away our green stuff’ when they saw building work happening nearby.
Tad: a big story about a brave minibeast by Benji Davies
Tad is the smallest tadpole in the pond and she is scared of ‘Big Blub’. When the other tadpoles start to disappear she worries ‘Big Blub’ has got them. This story is brilliant for looking at life cycles and feelings.
The children loved this story and found it very engaging. They walked to a local pond to see some real tadpoles and practitioners felt it would be best to use this at spring time.
A little rocket takes you on an adventure to space. This book is great for looking at space, rockets and technology.
This was a strong favourite of the children who loved to pour over the pages together with friends. The black background makes the pictures bold and attention-grabbing and encourages the children to learn about space. The children took their interest outside to see the moon and this lead to lots of discussion about what’s in the sky.
Izzy loves to invent but her inventions don’t always go to plan. This story is good for looking at inventions, technology, block play and developing a growth mindset. Izzy is also a strong, diverse role-model for getting girls into STEM.
A planner wasn’t created for Izzy as the STEM Officers felt it was the perfect book to inspire free and creative play in children. Practitioners felt it is a good book to leave in the building area to inspire children. They loved the rhyming text and the pictures have a lot of detail for children to pour over.