Teaching Kids to Love Science and Math Starts at Home
Our kids can develop more positive associations with science and math when they see us reading math and science-related books at home for fun. Here are five books that cover a wide range of science concepts that will definitely refresh what you should have learned in high school and/or college chemistry, physics and biology.
The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier
This book has something about every major area of science and written in a very informal manner. There are puns and wordplay that could be engaging to some and distracting to others. However, at the heart of the book are all the important concepts that should have been taught in 4 years of high school science distilled into one quick to read book. As is the push in many high schools, the book is laid out in the natural progression of science from physics to chemistry and so on to finally astronomy. In a fairly short read I quickly refreshed my science understanding of a large number of topics.
The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day by James Kakalios
If you were like me, high school physics was all about memorizing formulas, so much of what I should have learned has been completely forgotten. To reeducate myself, I have read several books on physics that are more of a summary of all the concepts that I should have learned in a more relatable manner. James Kakalios explains the science behind many of our daily objects in a single day story, though many of things we often do not encounter in any given day. The book does require some familiarity with basic science terms and concepts as they are used to explain more complex concepts.
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life by Helen Czerski
Another book explaining the vast world of physics in our everyday lives. Unlike following a single story throughout the book, Helen Czerski breaks the narrative into chapters with an interesting observation and focuses the chapter on a basic element of physics. I had a greater appreciate for the seemingly mundane and started trying to decipher the science underlying different phenomena that I experience. Much like mindfulness training, moments are dissected to the subatomic level.
Zoom: How Everything Moves: From Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees by Bob Berman
I picked up this book on a whim because of its cover and it turned out to be a serendipitous discovery. When I think about my day, rarely, if ever, do I consider that things are moving around me. The book encompassed motion from the microscopic to the universe in a coherent and fun way. As with the other books in this list, it had great anecdotes that I wish high school teachers used when they taught science. There is so much information that rather than being overwhelmed, I was thoroughly engaged.
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik
Rather than being an all encompassing science or physics book, this one focuses on a seemingly ordinary topic, materials. The book begins with a crazy story from the author’s childhood and proceeds to introduce us to the science and history of different materials. After this book, I started seeing materials that are around me in a whole new way. I am amazed that one book can have such a transformational effect on how I see things that I use everyday. The chapter on concrete was especially interesting to me because of its prevalence here in the city.