I, Galileo

September 26, 2012

Nonfiction Monday is at Shelf-employed.

I, Galileo

By Bonnie Christensen

Illustrated by author

Alfred A. Knopf, 2012

ISBN #078037586753

Grades 3-5

Nonfiction picture book

“Imagine a world with no clocks, thermometers, or telescopes. A world where everyone believes the earth stands still as the enormous sun travels around it once each day.”

Written in the voice of Galileo Galilei, the famous “father of modern science,” I, Galileo shows the brilliant yet human side of this radical thinker who was considered a heretic and imprisoned at the end of his life. The book traces Galileo’s work with his father to his interest in mathematics rather than medicine, as his father wished, to his studies that revolutionized astronomy.

Over time, people began to distrust Galileo and he went before the Inquisition, well-handled for young readers by Christensen in the lovely narrative text. Initially I was concerned at using first person to tell this story, but Christensen’s voice as Galileo’s manages to convey the information while keeping it authentic but readable for this age.

Back matter includes an afterward, chronology, Galileo’s experiments, inventions, and discoveries, along with a glossary, bibliography, and websites.

This is a wonderful book toread to introduce science to elementary aged readers and provides an insight into a world long past. It would be a good way to introduce standing up for your beliefs as well as promoting interest in science. This book is one that should be in every library.

Activity 1

Choose an invention or experiment and look it up to learn more about that invention. You may have to look up the individual inventions as you research.

Activity 2

Read about the phases of the moon and draw and label each phase.

This site has good information and diagrams.

This site gives some general information about Galileo.

This site has background on Galileo.

National science standards: forces and motion; influence of engineering, technology, and science on society and the natural world

Book provided by publisher for Librarians’ Choices Committee

The Science of Soldiers

June 6, 2012

The Science of Soldiers

By Lucia Raatma

The Science of War Series

Compass Point Books, 2012

ISBN #9780756544607

Grades 6-9


“Not everyone is able to be a soldier. It takes a certain kind of m an or woman to put on a uniform and face danger. For this reason soldiers are carefully screened and thoroughly trained before they go on active duty.”

This fascinating book explains the advances in military technology and how technology is being made and used to protect and aid the soldiers in the United States. My interest in the book was heightened by having a son working as a civilian at a military installation and seeing the technology he uses and develops to make safer training situations for the soldiers working there.

Different aspects of the military in all branches are covered, from fitness and basic training to eating and protective gear and equipment. Each category is covered by a chapter and the science behind the developments is carefully explained in a way readers can understand. From night vision to weapons to heating meals, how soldiers live and work is filled with amazing new changes. GPS, Kevlar, body armor, bullet tracing acoustics, rucksacks, and Bluetooth prosthetics all provide necessary means of protecting soldiers, saving lives in battle, and helping returning soldiers recover from injuries.

This is a book that will appeal to middle school  readers and those readers with an interest in the military or with family members leaving for service. It’s written in a factual, narrative style and sidebars add extra information. The back matter includes a glossary, read more section, internet sites, a bibliography, and index. It’s good to know that technology, so prevalent in everyday lives, is also at work to protect the lives of those serving in the military.


Choose one of the new forms of technology discussed in the book and further research it. From the research, write an additional paragraph that would go along as a sidebar in the book. Use the voice and style of the author to convey your facts.

How Stuff Works has some information about technology.

This army site has links to various forms of current technology.

National Science Standards: influence of engineering, technology and science on society and the natural world

Book provided by Capstone


January 11, 2012

High-Tech Olympics

Olympic Series

By Nick Hunter

Heinemann Library, 2012

ISBN #9781410941213

Grades 3-5


“In the Olympic stadium, three athletes stand on the medal podium. They wear medals around their necks, a bronze medal for the athlete who finished third, silver for second, and gold for the Olympic champion. The athletes have proved they are the best in the world.”

Winning a medal at the Olympics takes skill, dedication, and hard work. But without technology, Olympic athletes are at a distinct disadvantage. High-Tech Olympics identifies the variety of technology used to improve the performance of athletes in their sports through health, clothing, and tools used in their individual sports. Divided into different sports, the book tells of the uses technology has provided in that sport. Individual sidebars give additional information about sports and technology in brightly colored boxes, including some para-Olympic information. Also mentioned is how technology has helped limit the tools when they grew too helpful to be safe.

Large photos with captions support the thorough text and later chapters include cheating, the future of technology, drug testing, and the limits of technology. Back matter has an Olympic record spread for different sports and how technology has changes, and index, and a glossary.

As a long time Olympics lover, this book was a fascinating and fun read. Want to include more technology information in your class, home, or library? This book is a wonderful way to do so and is timely with the 2012 Olympics taking place this summer inLondon. Wish you could be there? Read this book!

Activity 1

Introduce the metric system by looking up the units. Then look up the lengths of some of the running races in the Olympics. Convert the metric units toU.S.standard units. Discuss which system is easier to use!

Steve Spangler’s site has some more about technology and the Olympics.

The pictures on this page show the running event lengths.

See more events with metric measures here.

This site has good information about the metric system.

This site has information about conversions. Choose your method.

Activity 2

Explore the technology of one Olympic event and identify ways it has changed, helped, or improved the sport.

National Science Standards: Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology; Influence of Engineering, Technology and Science on Society and the Natural World

Book provided by Capstone Press


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