Using STEM Read Alouds with my classes before starting a STEM or building challenge is one of my favorite ways to connect literacy to our STEM lessons. Read Alouds keep my students engaged and can help start really meaningful discussions before the build begins. How do you choose the perfect book for your STEM challenge with so many excellent books out there? After years of teaching, I have found the best books to pair with STEM challenges. I'm so excited to share them with you today.
Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
This beautifully illustrated book, Counting on Katherine, tells the story of Katherine Johnson. She was an African-American mathematician who worked for NASA during the Space Race. You may even recognize her from the movie Hidden Figures.
Because of her mathematical skills, Katherine Johnson was the key to the success of the Apollo 13 moon landing.
I like to partner this book with the super fun Space Virtual Field Trip Quest activity. This STEM activity takes students on a digital journey to outer space. Students complete 6 challenges to solve a riddle while learning facts about space. Using websites, videos, Google Earth, and more, your students will have a blast completing this digital STEM challenge.
You can grab this NO PREP STEM Quest challenge in the Miss Tech Queen TPT store to use in your classroom today!
What Do You Do With an Idea?
This New York Times Best Seller and award-winning book, What Do You Do With an Idea, is the perfect intro to any STEM lesson. It tells the story of a child who brings their brilliant idea into the world.
When the child's confidence grows, so does the idea. Sometimes big ideas can feel overwhelming for our students. This book helps show them that it's okay to have an idea and watch it grow into something amazing.
Partner What Do You Do With an Idea with a STEM challenge like the Earth Day Activities STEM Recycling Challenge. It will inspire your students to think big. Your students will love showing off their creative thinking skills while also working through the Engineering Design process to plan, create & improve their creations.
Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines
Did you know Rube Goldberg was not only an inventor but also an award-winning cartoonist?
Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines shows students how important it is to follow their dreams. Described as an “inspiring and funny biographical picture book”, this is perfect for your STEM read alouds.
This biography full of fascinating illustrations and creative layouts is sure to inspire your students to think creatively and pursue their passions.
Use this book when you are introducing your students to your classroom makerspace. A makerspace is the perfect place for students to experiment with using different materials. If you don't already have a makerspace in your classroom check out this Makerspace Starter Kit!
Made by Maxine
Made by Maxine by Ruth Spiro is a great book for your younger students ages 4-8yrs old. The story is about a little girl named Maxine who loves creating new things from old things. Just like your STEM students, she loves “tinkering” and using her creativity to solve problems. When presented with a unique challenge, Maxine is determined to create something special to solve her predicament.
The 8 Silly STEAM Challenges resource in the Miss Tech Queen TPT store is great for your younger students. Use Made by Maxine as one of your STEM read alouds before introducing your young learners to these silly challenges. With challenges like creating a fish with pattern blocks, creating a hat using cups, a balancing challenge, using math to build a photo with LEGO, and much more, your students will be excited to get into the wonderful world of STEM!
What to do With a String
If you have read the popular picture book, What to Do With a Box written by Jane Yolen, You will love this sequel, What to Do With a String.
What to Do With a String is all about using your imagination to discover all of the amazing things that can be made out of a piece of string. When using this book as a STEM read aloud, I like to start by asking my students to brainstorm things they could make with a string before we even start reading.
After reading the book, it's always so great to see the inspiration showing on my students' faces. And, they literally can't wait to see what STEM challenge they are going to be jumping into. I would say this is one of the best books to get your students excited about working on STEM challenges I have ever read.
This inspiring book can be used with any STEM challenge. If you are looking for lots of engaging and fun challenges to complete with your students this year, check out my STEM FOR A YEAR CLUB it has everything you need to fill your year with science, technology, engineering, and math challenges your students will love.
STEM Read Alouds Are For Everyone
No matter what grade or subject you teach, kids love being read to! Anytime I can incorporate literacy into my STEM activities I know my students will be more engaged and excited about their learning. These are just a few of the amazing books I have used in my STEM read alouds. For even more great books to partner with your STEM activities, check out “The Best STEM Read Alouds” post.
Save these STEM Read Aloud Ideas!
Be sure to save these STEM read alouds to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back anytime for great books you and your students will love.