Reading STEMs Learning: Claire Dorsett’s Top Picks! (Associate Director of Exhibits at the GLSC)

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For this Reading STEMs Learning Series, I’m so pleased to introduce my first guest blogger, Claire Dorsett, Associate Director of Exhibits from the Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC).  Claire is a STEM professional that I recently interviewed in my STEM Career Interview Series on my blog!  She has a unique background in English and has worked in New York City as an editor for a large publishing company.  I am so excited and thankful to Claire for agreeing to be my first guest blogger!

Written by: Claire Dorsett, Associate Director of the Exhibits at the GLSC (guest blogger)

Guest Blogger, Claire Dorsett, Associate Director of Exhibits at the Great Lakes Science Center

For parents and caretakers interested in exploring STEM principles (and even the basics of Exhibit work!) through books, here are a few favorites I discovered during my time at Macmillan:

Hector the Collector, written by Emily Beeny and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, offers a lovely introduction to exploring similarities and differences… and, of course, collecting! Museums often collect artifacts that relate to a specific theme, like the space artifacts in Great Lakes Science Center’s NASA Glenn Visitor Center. Ask your child: what might you want to collect, and why? Fossils? Feathers? Seashells? Acorns, like Hector? How might you display your collection? (Bonus points: To explore basic concepts of preservation, try pressing leaves or flowers between paper to dry them out before displaying them.)

Many great thought experiments start with the same question: What if? One of my favorite picture books If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams, explores one such question through a STEM lens: what if all the sharks suddenly disappeared from our oceans? The answer is surprisingly far-reaching, and might surprise both you and your little one! This fun, accessible book explores how adding or removing even just one predator from the food chain can change an entire ecosystem—a scientific concept called trophic cascade. (That’s basically a fancy term for a domino or ripple effect in ecology.) What do you think might happen if other animals disappeared, like mice, hawks, or deer? 

Red RoverCuriosity on Mars, written by Richard Ho and illustrated by Katherine Roy, explores the vast landscape of Mars while detailing the adventures of the little rover deployed there. This is a nonfiction tale that almost feels like fiction because of the (literally) out-of-this-world concepts discussed. 

For older or reluctant readers, I love the Science Comics series! Each book explores a different concept, ranging from volcanoes to dinosaurs to the digestive system, and is a collaboration by a different author/illustrator team. Their unique format makes these little lessons easily accessible and especially exciting!

And, although it’s not specifically STEM-focused, it certainly is timely; I’d suggest everyone with young kids checks out Sarah Lynne Reul’s The Breaking News. Gently but authentically, it explores what happens when (non-specific) devastating news rattles a community. Two young siblings feeling the effects on their family and in their classroom long for a way to help. They start with one small thing… and then another, and another. In the end, we see that one small act of kindness can make a big difference.

Thank you so much to Claire for sharing her suggested reading list in my Reading STEM’s Learning Series!  

I can’t wait to check out her suggestions with my kids!  We purchased ‘If Sharks Disappeared’ for our home library based on her recommendation. Check out the activity that I post earlier this week based on her suggestion!

– Kristen 

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