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What's on you summer reading list?
Sun May 08, 2011 9:41 PM
Summer is the time I love to catch up on my reading. The first book on my list is The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean.
"The Periodic Table is one of man's crowning scientific achievements. But it's also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in THE DISAPPEARING SPOON follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.
We learn that Marie Curie used to provoke jealousy in colleagues' wives when she'd invite them into closets to see her glow-in-the-dark experiments. And that Lewis and Clark swallowed mercury capsules across the country and their campsites are still detectable by the poison in the ground. Why did Gandhi hate iodine? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium? And why did tellurium lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history?"
What is everybody else reading? I would love suggestions.
68500 Activity Points
Mon May 09, 2011 7:30 AM
Pam, The Disappearing Spoon sounds like a fascinating book. I purchased several books from the NSTA Science Store that I want to read this summer. They are Lecture-Free Teaching by Bonnie S. Wood, Start With a Story, edited by Clyde Freeman Herreid, and Readings in Science Methods, K-8 edited by Eric Brunsell. I’ve had a chance to peruse them, but not really to read through any of them. Two of the books are like an inch thick, rather intimidating and not a quick read.
44513 Activity Points
Mon May 09, 2011 7:55 AM
Hello Pam and Kathy,
Kathy, you will absolutely love Lecture-free Teaching. I am currently working through this book. It is changing the way I teach biology. My hope is to apply it in all my classes.
Pam, I will have to get a hold of The Disappearing Spoon. It sounds like a good read.
The first book on my list is one that was recommended to me last year. It is The Immortal Life of Heinretta Lacks. I also want to read Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100.
58285 Activity Points
Mon May 09, 2011 8:45 AM
I also picked up a copy of The Immortal Life of Heinretta Lacks. It is on the Freshman reading list. After listening to NPR this morning, I also intend to pick up a copy of ]Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars and The New Lithium Economy.
Thanks for the suggestions from the NSTA bookstore. Lecture Free Teaching sound like I should add it as a must read.
Mon May 09, 2011 9:25 AM
I also picked up some books from the NSTA store as well--The Teaching of Science: 21st Century Perspective and Technology in the Secondary Science Classroom. The other two books I am interested in reading are Brain Rules and Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina. I am fascinated by the current brain research on how we learn and how we can optimize our classrooms and work places to take advantage of that.
7865 Activity Points
Tue May 10, 2011 8:38 AM
I plan on reading Balanced Assessment: From Formative to Summative by Kay Burke. I went to one of her worskshops on balanced assessment recently. I also reading a couple of books on science inquiry in the classroom. I can't remember the exact title at the moment, and I don't have them right next to me.
230 Activity Points
Tue May 10, 2011 3:42 PM
It is fun to see what others are reading. Check out the other "reading for pleasure" discussion thread, too; it has gobs of great reading ideas for summer listed there as well: Classical, Classy, or Corny Science Books - Reading for Pleasure Thread
With so many great ideas, it is going to be difficult to choose!
79618 Activity Points
Tue May 10, 2011 6:22 PM
I can foresee a shopping spree in the near future from all of these interesting book ideas. I plan on reading Mastery Learning in the Science Classroom: Success for Every Student . I read the introduction and find the authors ideas very convincing.
Thank all of you for the fantastic book ideas!
11885 Activity Points
Tue May 10, 2011 7:33 PM
I have a couple books I bought at NSTA San Francisco on my reading list since I can't seem to get to them. Negotiating Science: The Critical Role of Argument in Science Inquiry is one book I have been trying to finish all year. Brain matters: translating research to practice and Doing good science in middle school are also on the list. Finally, someone recommended I look over Kragan materials, so I also have a book from them. My class next year will be totally different if I manage to finish these and implement even some of it (or so I hope!)
Oh yeah, and I am still trying to get through The selfish gene, I really am out of my league - no rocks at all in that book - what kind of geology person am I turning into?!
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Thu May 12, 2011 8:05 PM
Planning to read Page Keeley stuff and learn about wild animals of Yellowstone region. Also never read Dan Brown.
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Sat May 14, 2011 2:43 PM
The Disappearing Spoon sounds fascinating; thank you for the recommendation!
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Mon May 16, 2011 5:12 PM
My summer time reading is science based fiction. I love any kind of medical mystery. I read somewhere that we learn more from peripheral learning than from actual learning activities and experiences. Reading those forensic science books and medical mysteries are my cup of tea.
I read Patricia Cornwall, Michael Palmer, Kathy Reichs and others. Can anyone suggest other authors of medical fiction books?
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Tue May 17, 2011 12:37 AM
I would like to suggest Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese for an excellent medical fiction book. If you decide to read it, let me know how you like it.
Thu May 19, 2011 2:35 PM
Sounds like everyone has interesting books to suggest! I'd like to check out The Disappearing Spoon and Balanced Assessment. I've promised myself that I will really read Bransford's How the Brain Learns Science and Mathematics. I've "perused" it but need to really read it. I'm also due to reread the Hitchhikers series and other Douglas Adams works. I love books that make fun of mathematics and science. In fact, I talked once about how much fun Hitchhiker was to a 2nd grade teacher who was catching a ride with me that she asked that I read my copy aloud as she drove. She refused to swap places when my turn came because she was so into the book.
As Carolyn said, if you haven't already checked out the other science reading discussion, you've got to check it out. I've added to my list from there as well. I need a couple of weeks just to spoil myself with good books this summer now!
9515 Activity Points
Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:53 AM
America's Wild Read is an online book club that will feature discussion of environmental science related books over the summer. Currently underway is a discussion on Anthill by E.O. Wilson
Whether you are a nature enthusiast, book lover, young conservationist, student, teacher, or Refuge friend, you are invited to join America's Wild Read community. Anthill discussions begin May 15, 2011! This discussion forum is provided to you by the Friends of the National Conservation Training Center
Join the discussion here
Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:02 PM
Another suggestion coming from the Envoronmental Science listserve is "The World Without Us" by
A video at this website provides and annimation of what would happen to your house without you.
It took 500 yrs for nature to completely take over!
Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:15 PM
Here are a few more suggestions
"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver
Addresses food consumption and production, easy to read, and has good connections with other agriculture and social issues
A Sand County Almanac a 1949 non-fiction book by American ecologist, forester, and environmentalist Aldo Leopold. Describing the land around the author's home in Sauk County, Wisconsin, the collection of essays advocate Leopold's idea of a "land ethic", or a responsible relationship existing between people and the land they inhabit. Edited and published by his son, Luna, a year after Leopold's death, the book is considered a landmark in the American conservation movement.
"The Wild Trees" It is the story of the extreme science in discovering the ecosystems in the tops of the tallest trees, specifically redwoods and Douglas firs.
Science_Book_List.doc (0.07 Mb)
Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:40 PM
I just finished reading "the invisible gorilla and other ways our intuitions deceive us" by Christopher Chabris anbd Daniel Simons. The book has some important lessons about the tenacity of misconceptions. I especially like the chapter called "get smart quick" which address the issue of knowledge transfer. While we can transfer knowledge between related experiences; playing more chess makes on a better chess player but playing chess does not may one smarter in anything else. Maybe this explains why even when students have the math pre-reqs, they often have trouble applying those concepts in science.
Sun Jun 12, 2011 12:02 AM
I am brand new here and wasn't planning to post, but I thought this thread was great. I've been reading The Disappearing Spoon as well and really enjoying it. I've passed it on to my 13yo son as well. On top of that, I'm reading "The Joy of Chemistry" by Cathy Cobb and Theodore Gray's "The Elements."
160 Activity Points
Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:19 PM
Thank you for adding two more books to our list. I am going to check out the Joy of Chemistry for sure.
Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:29 PM
Another book I recently picked up is Bottled Lightning by Seth Fletcher. The subject of this book is the development of Lithium Ion batteries for electric cars
Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:41 AM
Here is a nice annotated list of science books that may be of interest. Given that this reading idea has proliferated, I will post in other threads too
Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:30 AM
I am currently reading The Disappearing Spoon, I can't seem to put this book down, I have annotated many pages that I plan to use in the fall. I love the idea of presenting the class with a blank periodic table. I am now in the Prisoner's Corridor chapter. When I have finished reading this book I plan on reading The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester. This book is about William Smith and the birth of modern geology.
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Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:59 PM
Stacy - those titles sound amazing - I am going to check them out right away!
For all - how about some summer reading right here on the threads? Kathy Renfrew and I will be doing a book circle for the Susan Koba's new book "Hard to Teach Science Concepts" and we would love more readers to join in!
[url=http://nsta.org/store/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9781936137152]NSTA Press book
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Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:49 PM
Caryn wrote, "Kathy Renfrew and I will be doing a book circle for the Susan Koba's new book "Hard to Teach Science Concepts" and we would love more readers to join in!"
What a great idea for elementary school teachers! Do you know of anything similar for either middle school or high school science teachers?
Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:41 AM
A summer reading forum would be great! We could share ideas, discuss key concepts, and maybe develop lessons. I am attaching my REPLAY I made for my students to complete after they finish a lab.
REPLAY_booklet_and_science_method_foldable.pptx (0.12 Mb)
Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:16 PM
Stacy wrote, "I am attaching my REPLAY I made for my students to complete after they finish a lab."
Thanks for attaching your Replay. Can you describe how you use it? Do you have each of your students fill it out individually. Do they work in teams?
Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:03 PM
I use REPLAY as homework after we complete a lab in class. The students fill out the sections of REPLAY as if they were writing a formal lab. They use the foldable of the scientific "method" (I was an environmental geologist/scientist for over 16 years before becoming a teacher and I prefer to use the word process instead of method) making sure they are answering the associated questions within the foldable as they complete the REPLAY. The students keep them in their ISN to refer to for future tests, quizzes, and labs. I teach 6th grade, and I believe the best way to help 7th and 8th grade teachers is to embed the process skills into my 6th graders now. Hopefully, eliminating the need for reteaching the entire scientific "method" every year after.
Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:06 PM
I forgot, this is an individual activity, but the labs are completed in groups. The data going into the REPLAY will be the results of the group work. The sentences, and the associated graphs will be the responsibility of the individual students for the REPLAY.
Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:56 PM
I'm currently reading "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan, author of "Omnivore's Dilemma." It is a really interesting look at how the western diet has radically changed the way we look at food and how it is bad for us. Some really interesting science tidbits in their as well. For example, he talks about the evolution of Lactose tolerance and then intolerance in the human system.
3820 Activity Points
Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:36 AM
The generated reading list from the discussion thread Classical, Classy, or Corny Science Books-Reading for Pleasure has just been updated. I am attaching it here in case anyone is interested in seeing what books were suggested there. There are very few duplications, so we have a lot to choose from!
Classical,_Classy,_or_Corny_Science_Books_-_Reading_for_Pleasure_Thread_List.doc (0.04 Mb)
Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:18 PM
Thank you everyone for the wonderful suggestions for science books! I just finished taking a wonderful class with Mrs. Mohr where we read Bill Robertson books and those were great! It was so easy to comprehend and made me feel more knowledgeable about science. I will definitely be checking out these books for future reading. Science is not one of my most strongest subjects, so the more informed I am, the better facilitator/educator I will become!
245 Activity Points
Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:06 PM
I just learned that the ACS has a reading list. You can find it here
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