Six STEM Mentor Texts

stem-collageI have recently read several picture books that I think are great mentor texts for STEM in the classroom.

 

 

Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor by Robert Burleighsolving-the-puzzle

The story of one of the twentieth century’s most important scientists, but little known, highlighting her perseverance and determination to map the ocean floor.

 

rosie-revereRosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

Rosie Revere sees inspiration in the trash around her and constructs great inventions from odds and ends.  Afraid of failure, she hides them under her bed.  Until her great-great-aunt Rose shows her that flops aren’t something to fear, but something to celebrate.

Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer by Fiona adas-ideasRobinson

The story of the creative mind and mathematical genius of Ada Lovelace, a little-known but important person in the history of the computer.

boy-who-loved-mathThe Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman

Paul thought about math all day long.  This is the story of how he found his own way in the world, making friends, sharing ideas, and grew to become one of the world’s most famous and beloved mathematicians.

Mira Forecasts the Future by Kell Andrews mira-forecasts-the-future

One day, Mira notices the wind fluttering through the streamers of a windsock at the beach.  Using science, she finds a talent to make weather predictions.

ada-twistAda Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

Ada Twist’s head is full of questions. Then her parents put her in the Thinking Chair.  Will time in the chair change her mind?  In the same spirit as Rosie Revere, Ada is full of curiosity and perseverance.

©2016 by Dawn Little for My Learning Life. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart

Feathers: Not Just for Flying is a Maryland Black Eyed Susan Award nominee for 2016.

Recommended Grades:   3-5

Feathers aren’t just for flying. . . In this scrapbook-like nonfiction picture book, Stewart introduces sixteen types of birds and compares their feathers to everyday objects teaching readers just how practical their feathers can be. 

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Writer’s Craft: Before sharing Feathers: Not Just for Flying as a mentor text, read aloud the author’s note.  In it, Stewart shares how she researches for her books and develops the concepts that make her books more engaging.  Encourage students to use Feathers: Not Just for Flying as a model text when they are researching and writing their own informational texts.  Consider both the scrap-book and the comparison models as possible mentors for students.

©2016 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Frankencrayon by Michael Hall

Publisher: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of Harper Collins

Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Recommended Grades: 3-5

From the author of Red: A Crayon’s Story, comes Frankencrayon, his newest book. In this story, a set of crayons are supposed to “write the story,” but someone or something draws a scribble in the middle of the page. As a result, the picture book has to be canceled.

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Writer’s Craft, Developing Ideas: Read aloud Frankencrayon with a group of upper elementary writers. Discuss how the author uses “a story within a story” structure. Encourage students to try this technique in their own writing.

Additionally, you could pair Frankencrayon with Red: A Crayon’s Story, The Day the Crayons Quit  and The Day the Crayons Came Home, both by Drew Daywalt, as a set of texts in which the main characters are crayons. Encourage students to use an inanimate object as a main character in their own writing.
©2016 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

W is for Webster: Noah Webster and His American Dictionary by Tracey Fern

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Publication Date: November 10, 2015

Recommended Grades: 3-5

From an early age, Noah Webster liked to use big words.  He loved learning and even became a school teacher.  It was during his time in the classroom that he realized that the newly formed America needed its own language, because American children came from many different countries and didn’t speak like British children.     

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography:  Pair W Is For Webster: Noah Webster and his American Dictionary with Noah Webster and His Words to build background knowledge of a man who was known as “America’s own Dr. Webster.” W Is For Webster: Noah Webster and his American Dictionary goes into specific detail for the reasons behind the creation of the American Dictionary as well as what people thought of Noah at that time in American history.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.

©2015 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

My Name is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth by Ann Turner

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: January 20, 2015

Recommended Grades: 3-5

Born in 1797 to slave parents, Isabella Baumfree was sold several times before being bought by the Dumont family, where she stayed for sixteen years.  After escaping from slavery and living and working in New York City, Isabella chose her own name, Sojourner Truth – for she would always travel and she would always tell the truth.  

Lesson Idea:

Mentor Text: Biography:Personal Narrative: Read aloud My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth as a mentor text for a writing unit on personal narratives.  Note how the author wrote a biography of Sojourner Truth, but wrote it from Truth’s point of view.  Discuss how the author had to conduct research in order to understand Truth’s voice and be able to portray it in this text, including using Truth’s own quotes.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher to review.

©2015 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.