Reviewed by Thomas Brown
This is an excellent book that helps high school science teachers to incorporate STEM topics into their classes using engaging and meaningful inquiry activities. The book presents four unique activities that could be incorporated into any science class. For example, biology students can explore plant biology, thermodynamics, and energy transfer by building a greenhouse, and physics students can explore torsion, elasticity, and more by building a catapult. The activities are designed to lead teachers through all aspects of the activity, from full explanations to timing estimates to student worksheets to teaching suggestions. Best of all, the authors suggest that each activity use materials with a minimal cost, which helps promote equity by allowing students of any background to complete their project successfully.
Both novice and experienced teachers can use this comprehensive book successfully. Each section is organized in the same way: a brief overview of the problem followed by one to two activities requiring students to explore the problem by completing “quick–build” models. The organization moves to research and development and concludes with a section that leads students into writing their final report. At the end of each construction challenge, the authors provide further information to extend these activities into the real world. They also include a glossary and additional readings.
Simply stated, this book is a terrific resource for any science teacher seeking opportunities to build one or more STEM topics into their curriculum. These activities are chosen to spur student interest in science through the completion of any of the four intriguing engineering problems presented within its pages. Any science teacher in any classroom is sure to find this book useful and applicable to his or her curriculum.
Review posted on 2/6/2013