Animals, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland Zoological Society, Nature

Check out the Veterinary Procedures at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

On November 5, 2018, we visited the Cleveland Metro parks Zoo and we spent some time in the Sarah Allison Steffee Center for Zoological Medicine.

 

I would consider this somewhat a ‘hidden gem’ inside the Cleveland Zoo.  It is nestled back behind the Rising Waters Safari Camp, just past the Rhino exhibit and building.  On most of our visits to the zoo, we either spend very minimal time in this building or we’ve skipped it.  Since it was a little chillier outside, we decided to spend a bit more time exploring this building and it was well worth it!

According to the Cleveland Zoological Society, the center is “dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and surgical procedures, has a radiology lab, clinical labs an endocrinology lab and a pharmacy.”  And actually, the site map inside the facility shows that their is much more to this facility than the typical visitor actually gets to see.

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This center walks through the care of animals from birth to end of life.  Along the way, there are interactive activities for kids, for example, filling crates with the appropriate meal items for various animals and a diagnostic challenge.  The diagnostic challenge steps you through the process of determining what is wrong with an animal and the diagnostic tools that a veterinarian might use to determine it.  My 3 year old especially loved these areas.  She loved pretending to care for the animals and prepare their food for the day and she also loved pretending she was a veterinarian problem solving why the animal was sick.

The absolute best part of this center for visitors is being able to see scientists provide veterinary services to the animals.  There are 4 rooms visible to guests – 3 surgical / procedural rooms and 1 imaging room (i.e. for x-rays).

We were lucky and a procedure was schedule that day at 11:30am.  We were able to observe the veterinary staff provide health services to a scarlet macaw.  This was extremely fun.  We saw the animal put under anesthesia and the veterinary staff check it’s heart, feathers, skin, talons, and beak.  They also took some x-rays of the bird.  The veterinary staff briefly brought the animal up to the window for everyone to see it up close also.

My understanding is that a veterinary procedure could be happening at any point depending on the needs of the zoo, however I did speak to another zoo member that day and she has observed many procedures there.  She mentioned that the procedures typically occur around 11:30 am or 2pm each day.  This particular one was at 11:30am.

So, if you are there, you might want to check out the center around those times of day!  This was such a great experience for children.  My daughters were able to compare their doctors appointments to what was happening to the animal.  My daughter had questions about why the scarlet macaw had to go under anesthesia for a simple procedure, while she did not for her doctor appointments.  She was also able to make the connection to some of the interactive exhibits in the center.

I am a member of the Cleveland Metro parks Zoo but I have no other affiliation with them.  I was not asked to provide this review and I did not talk directly with any member of the zoo about this blog post.  All opinions and viewpoints in this post are 100% my own.

Have you seen this type of procedure at the zoo near you?  Which zoo?  What other uniques experiences have your children had at the zoo you’ve attended to help introduce various STEM fields to them?  Let me know in the comments or at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

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Book Review, Germs, STEM Resources

Reading ‘STEMs’ Learning – “Do not lick this book!” Book Review

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Click to purchase this book on Amazon!

Several weeks ago, I was browsing through a parenting magazine and I saw a book listed as one of the best picture books of the year. Since it seemed to be STEM based, of course, I had to check it out!

“Do not lick this book!” is an extremely FUN, interactive and informative book to read!! It introduces germs and viruses in a fun interactive way by following a germ called ‘Min’ on an adventure. Min meets lots of new germ friends along the way. Children interact with the book by pretending to physically place Min and Min’s friends in various places, then exploring those places and meeting new germ friends.

The author, Idan Ben-Barak, holds several degrees including microbiology, the history and philosophy of science and library studies. He lives in Melbourne, Australia. The illustrator, Julian Frost, is world known.

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There are several pages in this book that have very impressive high resolution microscopic images – specifically using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). So kids can see things, like a shirt, in very very high resolution. Some of the things that the germs say in the book that Min meets along the way are very witty and funny. My three year thought this book was absolutely hilarious and we read this book quite often. She ends up roaring in laughter through each page!
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If your child is between the ages of 3-8, I would recommend this book as one to check out. As an adult, I LOVED reading this book to my child. It was a lot of fun to pretend and learn together. I am also personally glad that I purchased it because we have been reading it over and over again.

Have you read this book before? What did you and your child think? Is this a book you want to check out? Let me know in the comments or at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

DISCLAIMER: As an Amazon Associate and I may earn from qualifying purchases made from the links above. I was not requested to review this book and I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Museums, Nature, Uncategorized

Built to Survive: Biomechanics at Cleveland Natural History Museum

We went to the Cleveland Natural History Museum on Sunday, October 21 to view their newest exhibit – Built to Survive: Biomechanics.

Many (if not all) scientific inventions, ideas and theories originate because scientists have observed the incredible way nature functions around us.  This exhibit left me with a feeling of wonder and amazement and both girls came out excited and ready to continue exploring the museum.

20181021_125601When we walked in, there were four display cases that explained how nature works mechanically to push (i.e. snot pushes out dirt and germs from your body), distort (i.e. gravity distorts the discs in your spine but lie down and they expand), bend (collagen, cellulose and/or keratin in nature gives strength to hollow objects in nature like feathers) and press (i.e. coral can withstand pounding waves because it’s made of very hard calcium carbonate).

Near this area was a game called,“PUSH THEM TO THEIR LIMITS!”.  My 3 year old loved this area!  She could select two objects and then decide which one would win in compression, tension and bending tests.  Then she was able to push a button to run the test and see how each object performed for each test.  I personally loved this game too because it brought me back to my materials engineering roots.

 

20181021_130413Next we moved on to learn about the “circulatory” systems in various animals and also in trees.  Did you know that trees use xylem in each ring of the tree to pump up nutrients to the rest of the tree?  We were able to see through a microscope what the xylem looks like.

The highlight in this area for the kids was pumping “blood” from the heart of a giraffe all the way up it’s neck – it helped explain the concept of blood pressure and how hard a giraffes heart must pump in order to get blood all the way to it’s brain.  I personally was shocked at how hard I had to pump the heart to get it to reach the top.

We learned about why the size of a deer ranges depending on the climate it lives in, we watched a video on how animals survive in the dessert, learned about ‘levers’ in the human body and how they function mechanically, I was able to test my own grip strength (no wonder I need my husband to open those jars for me… haha…), gain more insight into prosthetics (and robots) and we were able to become birds and flap our wings!

They also had a neat area that explained heat loss and insulation of the body and we were able to stand in front of an infrared camera to see how “hot” or “cold” we were.  Check out this “HOT” couple!  Haha!

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There was SO MUCH to explore and learn in this exhibit!  I know if I made another trip, I would find even more to learn and understand.

At times, it was a bit of a challenge to make it through the exhibit with two very young children – 1 and 3 years old – but we managed ok.  I would recommend that if you have more than one young child, to be sure that you have another adult with you and try to choose times when the exhibit won’t be too busy.  Sunday afternoon was perfect for us.  The girls were so excited to play with the interactive pieces and they seemed perfectly spaced throughout.

This exhibit will be available at the Cleveland Natural History Museum until April 28, 2019!  So you will have plenty of time to plan your trip.  Admission to this exhibit is included with general admission and members get in FREE.  There is so much more to explore in this museum!!  Check out their admissions page on their website for more information on hours and pricing.

We have a membership to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and attended out of our own interest.  This post was not a request from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and I received no compensation for this post.

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Inexpensive and Versatile, Math and Numbers, STEM Resources, STEM toys

Learning numbers and early math…

When I think of STEM fundamentals, counting and number recognition tops the list!  Think about all the times you use numbers during the day.  I can think of plenty – telling time, date, year, counting money, when cooking to measure ingredients or turn on my oven, while driving (i.e. speed limits), etc.

With two young kids, we’ve tried to find some creative ways and tools for our kids to recognize numbers and learn some basic math.  Here’s a small sampling that you might be able to incorporate into your home:

20181103_144255Counting to 10 daily with our fingers:  When my older child was a baby, I had her in a local “babynastics” class.  During that class, the instructor had everyone count to 10 with their fingers.  I thought this was important for fine motor development, listening skill development as well as number and counting basics so I adopted this at home.  Every morning, my older child and I make it a habit to count to 10 with our fingers in front of my 1 year old.  My older child loves this because she is able to do this easily and she is “teaching” her sister and it literally takes 10 seconds to do it!

20181103_150715Food Math:  This has been especially fun with leftover Halloween candy like M&M’s and skittles.  We count the number in each color from the bag, we count the total number, we use the colors to do simple addition and subtraction.  It’s a lot of fun!  I also let my kids select and count the food at the grocery store (for example, putting apples into the bag).

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Stained Glass Made Easy by Melissa & Doug Princess

Melissa & Doug Stained Glass Made Easy Activity Kit: Princess – 100+ Stickers, Wooden Frame:  Someone in our family gifted this to my daughter for her birthday.  Not only was it fun for her, it caused her to do some critical thinking, problem solving and learn to recognize numbers all the way up to 102!   

Reading the Calendar: We found a princess calendar at the beginning of the year in the discount bins at Target.  It hangs in my daughters room and part of our bedtime routine is to talk about the date on the calendar for the next day.  I know that this concept is used in many preschool classes as well.

20181014_162536Drawing and writing the numbers:  There are tons of dry erase books and pads out there to practice with but this Kid O 0-9 Learn Your Numbers Magnatab has been one of my favorites.  Children use a magnetic pen and draw over the board which brings up the metal pegs to create the numbers. 

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Teach how to tell time from “Smart School House”

Reading the clock:  During the day, my children like to know when to expect various things – like snack or nap or TV time or time to leave for school, etc.  We have a traditional wall clock hanging in several areas of our home.  My older child isn’t old enough to understand multiplication yet but she is able to recognize which is the small hand and which is the big hand.  So I tell her, for example, when the big hand is at “3”, we will have our snack.  When my child gets a little older, I plan to use an idea I found on Pinterest from “SmartSchoolHouse“.

Watching Sesame Street: My children love Sesame Street.  We actually watch the reruns on the Roku PBS App often.  They have so many counting related clips in each episode.

This is just a small sampling of things we have found helpful.  What types of things do you do or what tools do you use at your house to help with number recognition or to improve math skills with your child?  Let me know in the comments or at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Associate.  As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases made using some of the links above.

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Experiments, Great Lakes Science Center, Movies, Museums, Nature

GLSC Great Barrier Reef Movie Proves to be Turtle-tastic!!

Are you looking for some place warmer to explore this Fall?

Don’t miss the showing of Great Barrier Reef at the Cleveland Clinic DOME theater at the Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) this November!

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The Premiere:

Last evening (November 1, 2018), my daughter and I were privileged to be invited as VIP guests to view the premiere of Great Barrier Reef at the DOME theater at the GLSC located in Cleveland, Ohio.

When we arrived, we were greeted so kindly and felt like movie stars as we walked the red carpet together and posed for photos. This was especially fun for my 3 year old daughter. She had been talking about going to the science center all day long. She loves this place!

We walked upstairs and we were greeted by more amazingly kind and excited staff from the science center where they had popcorn and refreshments available. (How did they know that my daughters favorite snack of all-time is POPCORN? Haha! She happily polished off 3 bags of it that night.)

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In addition to popcorn, they had a fun interactive table center piece for the kids to build their own underwater turtle habitat. My daughter was gifted an adorable small plush turtle to take home that night. Did you know that you can get your own stuffed turtle too?? Be one of the first 100 ticket purchasers for the new showing and you will receive one!

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We learned about the importance of water pH for the health of various fish and how researchers can test pH. Did you know that those annoying midges that we get every year in Cleveland actually mean that Lake Erie is well balanced and healthy? I didn’t!

They had a brief presentation prior to the premiere by GLSC President and CEO, Kirsten Ellenbogen and a trivia game about the Great Barrier Reef. Ms. Ellenbogen shared some VERY exciting changes coming to the GLSC very soon. More on those at the end of this post. I want to first share information about the movie itself!
Great Barrier Reef Movie:

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The images in this film, especially of the Great Barrier Reef underwater, are absolutely stunning and the movie is impressive! The movie follows Jemma Craig, an underwater photographer, reef native and founder of Islandjems Imagery, on an expedition to learn and document the work being done by various volunteers, researchers and scientists to save the reef and keep it healthy.

The storyline was relatively easy for my 3 year old to follow and understand. She was especially excited and interested about the work that was done to save a turtle from the reef at the Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation Center. After the movie, she surprised me with her take awaydon’t throw trash in the ocean or it will hurt the sea animals!

We also learned about how the reef changes at night, how the reef is changing with climate change and the incredible cutting edge research being done by scientists at the Australian Institute of Marine Life to save the reef. This is a really great, informative and inspirational family-friendly film.
More from the GLSC:
2:1 Grant for Renovations:

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Kirsten Ellenbogen (pictured above), CEO and President of the GLSC, shared some very exciting news last night. The GLSC received a 2:1 Challenge Grant from their anonymous donor.

The funds will be used to update the Second Floor Science Phenomena area. This area of the museum has ranked as one of the top favorites by visitors. The improvements will allow for bigger exhibits, more hands on features and some new areas. These new areas will be prototyped by guests over the next six months. So if you visit, you might be pulled aside to check out the new areas!

The GLSC has been challenged to raise $250,000 in donations by December 31, 2018. The donor will make a $2 donation for every $1 raised (i.e. gift of $30 gives $90 and $2000 becomes $6000). For more information on how to donate to this incredible grant, call 216-696-4260 or email development@glsc.org.

Great Science Academy:

In addition, the GLSC had launched the Great Science Academy, which is an immersive program for children in grades 6-9. Kids gather twice a month on Saturdays to explore STEM careers in a fun, creative environment. The topics for each grade are as follows: grade 6 is Sustainability, grade 7 is Mars and Space, grade 8 is Biomechanics and grade 9 is Entrepreneurship.

If you are interested in learning more or sending your children to the Great Science Academy, check out the website link above and contact them directly. They are also always looking for professional volunteers to help with the Great Science Academy. If you are interested, they would love for you to contact them directly!
Check out the Movie!!

I highly recommend that you take your family to see this movie – IT IS EXCELLENT. You can follow this link to the list of showtimes and ticket prices! It launches tomorrow, November 3, 2018 at the GLSC!!!

Check out Grossology while you are there too! Grossology lasts until January and then will be replaced by an exhibit designed by the GLSC on automobiles!

I want to thank the Great Lakes Science Center for allowing me and my daughter the opportunity to attend the premiere of Great Barrier Reef. We had so much fun and learned so many new facts about the reef and marine life. It was exciting for me, as a parent, to see my daughters excitement over this movie and listening to her talk about what she learned afterwards. I learned some really amazing facts too. It made me want to visit Australia!

DISCLAIMER: My daughter and I received exclusive access to the GLSC VIP event for the premiere of the Great Barrier Reef movie at the GLSC. In exchange, I was asked to promote the launch of this movie on my social media platform and blog. I am also a member of the GLSC. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. If you have any questions, please contact me at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

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Experiments, Halloween, Inexpensive and Versatile

Leftover Halloween Candy Experiments

Happy Halloween!!! 

I love Halloween.  Seeing the smiles on my children’s faces when they finally pick out the PERFECT costume, watching them go door to door and then the excitement they have when they get home and check out all the candy that they received.  I remember trick or treating with my brother and some cousins when I was younger.  We used to dump all of our candy on the floor, sort through it and trade pieces.   It was the BEST!

Now that I’m a parent, I think about… how do I regulate this candy intake for my child’s health AND how do I keep myself from eating it and gaining 5-10 pounds (haha)!?!?!?

Well… why not take some of that leftover candy and do some STEM experimenting???  So, that’s what we did!!!  I researched a few experiments on-line and we got started.

We did a few simple experiments to study dissolution and weighing.  Then my 3 year old completely surprised me with her own design!  It taught experimentation, observation and provided her practice in verbalizing what we observed.  The supplies are so simple and are typical items I think most parents have in their house at all times.

DISSOLUTION:

Experiment 1:

GATHERING SUPPLIES:

I used 9 clear plastic cups, about a half cup each of vinegar, water, and vegetable oil, and leftover Halloween candy (we used Skittles, M&M’s and Smarties, do not use chocolate candies because it will not dissolve).

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DESIGNING / SETTING UP THE EXPERIMENT:

My toddler is just learning to read but can’t quite read yet, so I knew I needed to make the instructions visual for her.  I drew out our plans on a sheet of paper.

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Our plans for Experiment 1

We walked through the plans step by step.  I filled the cups with the liquids (oil, water and vinegar) and she dropped each candy in.

RESULTS:

Right away she noticed that the water and the vinegar had removed the color coating on the Skittle and the M&M.  We let them sit for a while… maybe 30 minutes then relooked at them.  She was able to identify that the vinegar and water solutions were better for dissolving the candy than the oil.

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Top (left to right): Smartie in vinegar, water and oil; Middle (left to right): M&M in vinegar, water and oil; Botttom (left to right): vinegar, water and oil

After about an hour, the Skittle in vinegar was completely dissolved and almost dissolved in the water.  She recognized that the chocolate from the M & M did not dissolve and the Smartie did not dissolve at all but if shaken slightly, it broke apart a little bit in the vinegar and water.

Experiment 2:

GATHERING SUPPLIES:

Gather three tablespoons of water in a shallow dish, a spoonful of baking soda, and candy NERDS.

20181031_085709SETTING UP THE EXPERIMENT:

Add water to the shallow dish.  Dump in the candy NERDS and then a spoonful of baking soda.

RESULTS:

Wait a few minutes and you will start to see bubbles forming.  The bubbles form due to a chemical reaction that creates a gas.  The baking soda is very basic, the nerds are acidic and the water, which is neutral, helps the reaction along.  If you let it sit for a really long time, the NERDS will completely dissolve.

Experiment 3: 

GATHERING SUPPLIES: You need one SMARTIE and a half a cup of vinegar and a plate.

SETTING UP THE EXPERIMENT: Place the SMARTIE on a plate and pour vinegar over the top of it.

20181031_085323RESULTS:

You will see bubbles forming on the surface of the SMARTIE and eventually (this literally takes FOREVER), some candy will break off the edges.  This experiment could give an example of how erosion works but Experiment 2 with the candy NERDS would accomplish the same thing – it’s a bit quicker and more exciting.

WEIGHING:

GATHERING SUPPLIES:  We used a coat hanger, 4 total cupcake cups, yarn, a hole punch and some M&M’s.

20181031_091540.jpgSETTING UP THE EXPERIMENT: I layered two cupcake cups together, then punched holes on each side of the cups.  I strung some yarn through (I recommend making your string longer than mine to create a more dramatic effect when one cup is filled with candy).  I then tied the yard with cups to each end of the coat hanger and hung the coat hanger on a handle.

RESULTS:  My three year old chose a side to pour the M&M’s into and I made her guess what would happen (develop a hypothesis), the she poured the M&M’s into the side she selected.  We watched as the hanging moved to that side.  I asked her what she thought that meant.  She said, “there are ‘too many’ M&M’s on that side”.  Basically, she was right but I helped her understand it wasn’t that their were ‘too many’, but that one side was heavier than the other side.  Then my one year old knocked them out of the cups and the M&M’s were eaten… so our experiment ended (HAHA!).

Side Note:  During the experiments, we had several candy spills.  My toddler surprised me and completely gathered her own supplies, designed and made her own pulley system to help bring the candy up from the floor.  I was in complete and utter awe of her thinking and creativity.  It made me feel like I was doing something right as a ‘Momgineer’.

If you do a web search for “Halloween candy STEM experiments”, tons will pop up!  I personally LOVED this website and wished we could have done the Pop Rocks experiment – but we didn’t have Pop Rocks. 

Let me know if you try any other experiments or have a piece of candy you’d like to test but don’t know how!!!  If you’d like to write a feature article on your experiments for my page, please don’t hesitate to contact me at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

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Book Review

Reading ‘STEMs’ Learning – Andrea Beaty Book Review

This week, I’m reviewing three (3) books.  The books are: “Rosie Revere, Engineer”, “Iggy Peck, Architect” and “Ada Twist, Scientist”.

I’ll tell you if I think you should BUY IT, BORROW IT, or SKIP IT.

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About the Author / Illustrator:

The author is Andrea Beaty.  She actually has a very similar background to mine – she majored in technical fields in college (in her case, biology and computer science) and also loved to write.  She eventually began writing children’s books and now many of her books are best sellers.  The illustrator, David Roberts, makes fantastic illustrations that are very visually appealing to children.  They are wonderful picture books!  The first book in the series that we read was “Rosie Revere, Engineer” and we loved it!

About the Books:

Each of the children in these books are second grade classmates in Miss Lila Greer’s classroom and each has some type of passion (inventing, testing or building) that relates to three different STEM careers – an engineer, a scientist and an architect.  Each book outlines the creative and inquisitive spirits of each of the children, the catastrophes they face and then a resolution at the end.

20181016_144511Rosie Revere, Engineer:  BUY IT

This book is extremely creative and the rhymes are fluid.  The words rolled right off my tongue when reading them and the lessons in the book are life lessons.  One of my favorite quotes from the book, “The only true failure can come if you quit.”  There is also a prelude for some history you can teach your child, as the ‘real’ Rosie the Riveter (from WWII) makes an appearance as Rosie’s Great-Great-Aunt Rose.  From an engineers perspective, I felt it gave a very good introduction into an engineers best qualities.  And I felt this book was especially empowering to young girls.

20181016_144559Iggy Peck, Architect:  SKIP IT OR BORROW IT

The storyline in this book and the overall moral were just okay, especially since Rosie Revere was our first book to read in the series and left such a wonderful feel.  My daughter didn’t ask as many questions and I didn’t find that the words were as fluid as Rosie Revere.  Generally though, I do think it touched on some of the passions of a great architect but fell short of my expectations.  I think if we had skipped this book, we wouldn’t be missing out and I would not have purchased this book had I read it in advance.  I didn’t think it was awful, so I’d say if architecture is your child’s thing, then borrow it.

20181016_144628Ada Twist, Scientist: BORROW IT

We enjoyed the fluidity of this story and its moral.  The moral of the story is that a great scientist makes hypotheses, tests them and then draws conclusions by continuously asking ‘why’.  I think this book is worth the read, but review it ahead  of purchasing and possibly before reading it to your child (some readers felt that there might be some unintentional, negative cultural bias in the book that I did not notice until after I read some reviews).  My favorite quote in this book was, “She asks lots of questions.  How could she resist?  It’s all in the heart of a great scientist.” 

Additional Resources Available:

Did you know that astronauts read books to children from space? “Rosie Revere, Engineer” is one of the books that is read by an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS).  It is supported by the Global Space Education Foundation called Storytime from Space.  The astronauts also perform educational demonstrations to compliment the science concepts found in the books they read to children in the videos.  Check it out in the link above!

Experiment
Experiment from Andrea Beaty’s website that could accompany “Ada Twist, Scientist”.

Also, Andrea Beaty’s website contains a plethora of educational resources that accompany the books – from posters to bookmarks to teacher curriculums and child activities.  One link that I found on the website lead to a really neat idea – setting up a “tinkering station” for your child.

Have you read any of these books to your children?  Which of the three are your favorite / least favorite? 

Do you want me to do more reviews like this? 

Let me know in the comments or at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

All opinions and reviews of these books in this blog post are my own.  I was not asked to make a review and I was not compensated for my review.  

DISCLAIMER:  I am an Amazon Associate.  As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases made using the links above at no additional cost to you.

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