When the Sun Goes Dark

National Science Teachers Association

by Andrew Fraknoi and Dennis Schatz

illustrated by Eric Freeberg

Sites with information about the 2017 Solar Eclipse: NASANASA warning about Solar Eclipse Glasses Celestron

LiveScience step by step instructions on making a Solar Eclipse Box Viewer

 

If you are lucky enough to be in the path of totality on August 21st than this is the book your going to want to read to you kids or students. It is published by the National Science Teachers Association and full of information as well as easy to do experiments. In this book the grandparents have just gotten back from a trip to a little island in the Pacific Ocean to see the total eclipse. Their grand kids have a lot of questions about what is an eclipse and what do you see. In order to best explain it the grandparents do some fun experiments that involve things from around the house. All you really need to recreate these from the book are some balls, a lamp, hula hoops, a box – scissors – and tin foil, an umbrella and more. Many places in the path have glasses to buy at your local stores, even Lowes is carrying them. I can’t wait to see this amazing event and this book is a must read for all who have kids or work with kids that are in the line and 70 mile wide path of the Solar Eclipse. This is a chance in a lifetime for some since who knows when it will happen again for my town. Yes, it’s going to be sheer chaos that weekend before and that day is going to be insanely crowded and wild but I hope this is something my girls will always remember. Our schools are not closing so I won’t be able to experience it with them but they have a lot of activities planned so they will be learning and do so much that day it will be memorable I’m sure. This book can be read alone for any established reader and there is a glossary in the back to explain words the reader might not have read before. This would be a great addition to a 4-6 grade science classroom. I really think you could do this with the younger kids as well. Maybe read half one day and half the next and do some of the activities in small groups ending with each student making their own pinhole viewer. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is wanting an easy way to explain and learn more about 2017’s Total Solar Eclipse. Even if you are not in the path and can’t make the drive to one of the place in the line if you are close enough you will get a partial eclipse which is neat, just remember you can only take those glasses off or stop using the pinhole viewer during the very short time frame of totality. Go onto NASA to find out the exact time that this happens so you don’t harm your eyes. Also make sure if you do buy glasses that they are NASA approved and have the rating: ISO 12312-2. I included a link to the warning for you to read.

Jack and the Geniuses: At the Bottom of the World

series: Jack and the Geniuses

by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone

illustrations Nicholas Iluzada

For more science fun check out Bill Nye’s Printable One Sheet science activities

 

 

Bill Nye the Science Guy – Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill! 🙂 We love our Science Guy so we were excited to see this piece of book mail. I didn’t know he was branching out into chapter books. This book is a work of fiction with some real non fiction thrown in there so your learning little tidbits of science and climate change as well. At The Bottom of the World is book 1 in a new series Jack and the Geniuses and I can’t wait to read the rest and see where all this goes. The story was well developed and taught the reader without being preachy. I think it is great to all ready get kids aware of climate change – what it means and what can be done to slow it down. There are illustrations, it isn’t loaded with them but they are scattered throughout the book.  They just enhance the book and are simpler to illustrations in upper elementary books, the reader will not feel like it is a younger kids book with them included.  The main characters are 3 kids Ava, Matt and Jack along with a wacky fun scientist Dr Hank Witherspoon. In this book they travel all the way to Antarctica for a big science award ceremony, as well as help Dr Witherspoon’s friend who has made a very important discovery. By the time they arrive she is missing and no one seems to know or act like they know where she is. Jack and the gang get to work solving the mystery as well as learning everything they need to know in order to survive in the harsh conditions of the Antarctic. The story was well developed and the characters were well-rounded. I really liked Jack, Ava, Matt and Dr Witherspoon. The book tackles science, experiments, stem and makes the kids just as smart and inventive as the adults. I like that the kids held their own and the girl was a strong STEM minded girl who didn’t back down. Once you are done reading the book you can read more about Science and STEM in the This Is Reality People! where it takes things discussed in the book and give further explanation on how it could be used in the future. Next section is all about Antarctica titled Ten Absolutely Essential Questions About Antarctica. The explanations are good and full of information but in terms they can understand (as well as adults who will learn things as well 🙂 I know I did). The last section was a favorite of my 5th graders and that is the science experiment! Yippee!! I mean really it couldn’t be a Bill Nye book with out a super fun experiment to get the kids even more interested in science fun. This one is a density experiment and uses all stuff you have in your house already. The only thing I didn’t have was food coloring but that was simple and very affordable to buy. This book would also be really great in a classroom or even as an upper grade science read aloud. The book ends with a trip to Hawaii being mentioned. I can’t wait to see what all we learn about in that one and even more excited to see what the experiment might be to go along with what all the book discusses! Bill Nye and Gregory Mone did an amazing job and I’m sold. I will be using this book and items to make a simple science kit as future gift ideas for upcoming birthdays and holidays.

summary: New York Times bestselling authors Bill Nye the Science Guy and Gregory Mone take middle-grade readers on a scientific adventure in the launch of an exciting new chapter book series, Jack and the Geniuses. The perfect combination to engage and entertain readers, the series features real-world science along with action and a mystery that will leave kids guessing until the end, making these books ideal for STEM education.

In the series opener, Jack and the Geniuses: At The Bottom of The World, readers meet Jack and his foster siblings, Ava and Matt, who are orphans. But they’re not your typical kind of orphans—they’re geniuses. Well, Ava and Matt are, which sometimes makes life difficult for twelve-year-old Jack. Ava speaks multiple languages and builds robots for fun, and Matt is into astronomy and a whiz at math. As for Jack, it’s hard to stand out when he’s surrounded by geniuses all the time.

Thank you so much Amulet Books for sending me a copy of Jack and the Geniuses At the Bottom of the World.  I really enjoyed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.