Got a STEM-themed picture book you love? Let’s talk.

As a kid, there are few picture books that stuck with me as well as, “How Much is a Million?” by David Schwarz. Specifically, the goldfish: How big would a bowl have to be to host one million goldfish? What about a billion? I couldn’t stop thinking about it at the time. A stadium-size bowl for a billion goldfish. Imagine that! The imagery lingers today and provided a mental model to work with as I came across bigger and bigger numbers more often.

Even as a kid I recognized the illustrations in “How Much is a Million” changed the way I understood big numbers.

The Caronavirus has turned our world’s upside-down. Classrooms have moved virtual, with face-to-face time focused on the social-emtional needs of our students rather than sensemaking of the world around them. As the weeks have turned into months, the possibility that alternative September schedules may scale back elementary science time has crept deeper into my brain. Though the Burlington Science Center has worked hard to provide, “Family Science Challenges” we continue to hear feedback from families feeling overwhelmed. The struggle has lead me to wonder aloud, “what else could be offered? What else can we share as science educators that could support student learning at home?”

On our own home front Mrs. Musselman and I have been keeping normalcy by reading a steady diet of picture books to our boys of all kinds. I have also been participating in the final meetings of a book club around Pernille Ripp’s, “Passionate Readers” which has brought “book-talks” front and center to my attention. My participation has brought me closer to many of my fellow educators while unveiling a wealth of books I may never have sought out without the gentle ‘nudge’ of a recommendation.

Some of the titles we bought online after reading and re-reading all of the library books and our own collection, roughly 50 days into our social-distancing.

Enter, “STEM on the Shelf” a podcast and passion project of sorts I hope to launch as the school calendar year winds down. Its purpose is simple: Connect listeners to a regular dose of favorite STEM-themed children’s books and habits of thinking and exploring, shared by educators and parents from all walks of life.

Got a STEM-themed picture book you’d love to share? Let’s talk.

I am currently in search of “guests” who are interested in simply having a (recorded) book-talk exchange with me while sharing a bit about how they bring STEM learning into their home along the way. The podcasts will be kept short (we are busy parents and teachers after all!), geared toward an audience more suited for the “Kids and Family” category on iTunes than the “Education” or “Science” variety.

Because this show is just starting out, you have an opportunity to help me shape it into what it becomes! I can’t promise fame, or even that many listeners, but I can promise an opportunity to connect personally with someone (me) who loves exploring our world with children and a few books highly recommended by my boys that you’ll want to check out for yourself!

Simply send me an email by following the link shared here and above to get the conversation started. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Boys reading books,
“Have I got a book for you!”

About Sean Musselman

Teacher Dad and Burlington MA Schools K-5 Science and Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator. NSTA Professional Development facilitator and author of "Think Like a Scientist: Investigating Weather and Climate" NSTA Kids ebook.
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