Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Science, History, and Mathematics

I have an affection for books that are a mix of entertaining story, biography, history, science, and math. When done well, these books introduce children (and adults) to these subjects in an engaging way.

One of my first favorites in this category is The Librarian Who Measured the Earth. I had no idea that so much information could be presented in a fascinating picture book. With rich, attractive illustrations, this book tells the life story of Eratosthenes, famous scientist and philosopher, in ancient Greece.

A slightly more simple picture book What's Your Angle, Pythagoras? teaches the Pythagorean Theorem from the view of Pythagoras as a young boy (also in ancient Greece).

Archimedes and the Door of Science admittedly didn't look like much from the cover, but I was more than pleasantly surprised by the story. Short chapters, many simple but amusing illustrations and diagrams, and complex concepts presented as uncomplicated as possible make this book a real winner. Some of the mathematical information (okay, a lot of it) went over Levi's head (and mine, for that matter), but we read and enjoyed every page.
The Story of Science series is a fabulous resource for integrating science, history, and math in middle and high school grades, or for an overview as an adult. From the inside cover:

"A science book unlike any other, Aristotle Leads the Way pairs a gripping narrative style with quirky sidebars; hundreds of charts, maps, and diagrams; experiments to do at home; suggestions for further reading; and excerpts from the writings of great scientists."

Now that's the way I like to learn science!
I am part way through A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, and I am still floored by the talent the author displays for making an overwhelming amount of knowledge accessible and humorous. Science was never a favorite subject of mine, but I am truly absorbed by the story Bill Bryson weaves in this incredible book. (Even if you are coming from a Christian and/or Young-Earth perspective, which Bryson does not appear to be, it is still informative to hear of the history and scientific reasoning behind other theories of the Earth's origins and purpose.)


ohio12 said...

these book recs are SO SO SO helpful. we have enjoyed your Christmas recs and will try these as well. The only problem is that I want to buy them ALL. It is hard to choose or just stick to the library. but thank goodness for the library.

Unknown said...

oh! I am just squirming in my seat as I am SO sure we NEED the Hakim book.. that is just DELECTABLE. We have read most of these other titles and enjoyed them immensely and Hakim's historical works are used extensively by our main curriculum provider. Gotta get it! Thanks Heidi!