Literacy & Steam Connections: Books

  • Philosophy of Markerspace of Students


    Almost inmpossibe thing The Almost Impossible Thing by Basak Agaoglu; Michael Green (Editor)
    ISBN: 0399548270
    Publication Date: 2017-04-04
    Nothing is so impossible that it shouldn't be tried. Even if you're a bunny hoping to fly. A tribute to teamwork, big dreams, perseverance, and those who don't listen when others say their goals are unreachable. The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.--Chinese Proverb


    11 Experiments 11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offill; Nancy Carpenter (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2011-09-27
    Is it possible to eat snowballs doused in ketchup--and nothing else--all winter? Can a washing machine wash dishes? Here are 12 "hypotheses," as well as lists of "what you need," "what to do," and "what happened" that are sure to make young readers laugh out loud as they learn how to conduct science experiments (really!)


    Ada Twist Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty; David Roberts (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2016-09-06
    Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it's up to her to find the source. What would you do with a problem like this? Not afraid of failure, Ada embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery.


    Anything is possible Anything Is Possible by Giulia Belloni; Marco Trevisan (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2013-08-15
    The sheep in this story is a dreamer, while her friend the wolf has a more practical disposition. One day the sheep runs to the wolf with an idea. She wants to build a flying machine! But the wolf tells her it's impossible. Eventually, however, the sheep's dream gets the better of the wolf's doubts, and they begin to work on the project together. Through perseverance and the process of trial and error, the sheep and wolf manage to create a winning design, brought to life by architecturally and mathematically inspired paper collage art.


    awesome dawson Awesome Dawson by Chris Gall
    Publication Date: 2013-03-19
    EVERYTHING CAN BE USED AGAIN! That's Dawson's motto. He collects junk that people throw away and turns it into something STUPENDOUS. Chris Gall inspires kids to reuse, repurpose, and recycle in this inventive adventure about a boy superhero who turns trash into treasures--and saves the world while he's at it!



    going   places Going Places by Paul A. Reynolds; Peter H. Reynolds (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2014-03-18
    It’s time for this year’s Going Places contest! Finally. Time to build a go-cart, race it—and win. Each kid grabs an identical kit, and scrambles to build. Everyone but Maya. She sure doesn’t seem to be in a hurry...and that sure doesn’t look like anybody else’s go-cart! But who said it had to be a go-cart? And who said there’s only one way to cross the finish line?


    iggy peck Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty; David Roberts (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2007-10-01
    A hilarious, irreverent book about doing your own thing Meet Iggy Peck--creative, independent, and not afraid to express himself! When his second-grade teacher declares her dislike of architecture, Iggy faces a challenge. He loves building too much to give it up!


    the most mag The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2014-04-01
    The girl has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly.


    rosie revere Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty; David Roberts (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2013-09-03
    Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she's a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal--to fly--Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt's dream come true. But when her contraption doesn't fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit.

  • Nursery Rhyme Challenges


    Humpty Dumpty

    Design and build a device to protect Humpty from his fall.  Can you keep him from falling in the first place? 

    Design and build a device to raise Humpty back to the top of the wall. 

    Jack and Jill

    Design and build a device to safely carry a bucket of water down the hill without spilling. 

    Little Miss Muffet

    Design and build a spider trap. 

    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

    Use paper circuits or basic circuitry kits to design your own twinkling stars. 

    Jack be Nimble

    Design and build a catapult to launch Jack safely over the candlestick.

    This could also be done with Hey Diddle Diddle to catapult the cow over the moon.

    Rub a Dub Dub

    Design and build a boat to carry the 3 characters across the water. 

    Hickory Dickory Dock

    Program your robot (ie. Dash, Ozobot, Beebot, etc) so that it can go up and down the clock. This could also be designed in Scratch. 


  • Chapter Books for Making

    Novel Engineering 

    Novel Engineering projects are designed around books that teachers choose, generally trade books with interesting plots, rich characters and detailed descriptions of the setting. As they read the text, students are prompted to identify problems faced by characters in the text and whether these problems are ones that might be addressed with a product or process that the students could design in the classroom.


  • Inspiration for Activities


    balloons Balloons over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
    Publication Date: 2011-11-01
    Everyone's a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these "upside-down puppets"? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire!

    Activity: Use Scratch to have students create their own balloons and program them to 'float' down the city street in a parade.
    Credit to Stacey Gleinser for the idea.


    the boy who The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba; Bryan Mealer; Elizabeth Zunon (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2016-01-05
    Picture book also available. Memoir of the heroic young inventor who brought electricity to his Malawian village. When a terrible drought struck his tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season's crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family's life forever: he could build a windmill.

    Activity: Create your own clean energy devices to do a needed task around the home or school.


    extra yard Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett; Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2012-01-17
    A young girl and her box of magical yarn transform a community in this stunning picture book.

    Activity: A great introduction to finger knitting or other yarn crafts.


    a fairy friend A Fairy Friend by Sue Fliess; Claire Keane (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2016-05-10
    Soar into an enchanting miniature world full of fairies. These playful creatures are all around us, if you know just where to look. And if you want to have one come to you, build a fairy house of twigs and blooms and wait patiently for a fairy to take up residence.

    Activity: Students create their own fairy garden. Click on title above for lesson plan from Kat Cole, Chapel Hill NC librarian.


    if i built If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2005-05-05
    If I built a car, it'd be totally new! Here are a few of the things that I'd do. . . . Young Jack is giving an eye-opening tour of the car he'd like to build. There's a snack bar, a pool, and even a robot named Robert to act as chauffeur.

    Activity: Challenge students to design their own car of the future. Does it even need to be a car?


    if i built a house If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen
    Publication Date: 2012-10-25
    Jack's limitless creativity and infectious enthusiasm will inspire budding young inventors to imagine their own fantastical designs.

    Activity: Add a service-learning slant to this topic, challenge students to design a housing solution for homeless families in your community.


    mix it up Mix It Up! by Hervé Tullet
    Publication Date: 2014-09-16
    Follow the artist's simple instructions, and suddenly colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader's imagination.

    Activity: Time to pull out the paint, shaving cream + food coloring, or any other art materials for color mixing.
    Throw in some science with materials to explore how different colors of light mix - using flashlights and colored transparencies.


    not a box Not a Box by Antoinette Portis (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2006-12-12
    A box is just a box...unless it's not a box. From mountain to rocket ship, a small rabbit shows that a box will go as far as the imagination allows.

    Activity - Get a box, of course, and let the imagination begin.


    oodles Oodles of Animals by Lois Ehlert
    Publication Date: 2008-05-01
    Lois Ehlert celebrates the animal kingdom with quirky, playful rhymes and bold collage illustrations that perfectly capture the spirit of each creature.

    Activity: Any Lois Ehlert book will do! Use as an introduction for collages in art. Challenge students to use 'found items' and create their own animals. Tie into science with a study of animal adaptations. Tie into math with exploring attributes of different shapes.


    roxaboxen Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran; Barbara Cooney (Illustrator); Alice Mclerran
    Publication Date: 2004-04-13
    There across the road, it looked like any rocky hill -- nothing but sand and rocks, some old wooden boxes, cactus and greasewood and thorny ocotillo -- but it was a special place: a sparkling world of jeweled homes, streets edged with the whitest stones, and two ice cream shops. Come with us there, where all you need to gallop fast and free is a long stick and a soaring imagination.

    Activity: Create your own community. Connect to Social Studies by mapping out your community, exploring how the physical characteristics of a place and the natural resources impact and shape a community.


    tomo Tomo Explores the World by Trevor Lai (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2016-10-25
    When Tomo finds his great-grandfather's Adventure Journal, full of fantastic inventions to build and exciting quests, he decides to become the greatest explorer in the world. With the help of his best friend, Maya, and his expert tracking dog, Captain, Tomo builds his own boat and sets off on an adventure at sea. Perfect for budding innovators who like to think outside the box.

    Activity: tie this book in with an exploration of sinking & floating. Challenge students to design and build a boat that can explore the world.


    violet the Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen
    Publication Date: 2016-09-13
    Violet is building elaborate flying machines from scratch--mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she's capable of.

    Activity: Focus on flight - paper airplane design contest. Give a challenge to design a method to transport an item from one place to the next, or design a rescue machine.


    whoosh Whoosh! by Chris Barton; Don Tate (Illustrator)
    Publication Date: 2016-05-03
    A cool idea with a big splash   You know the Super Soaker. It's one of top twenty toys of all time. And it was invented entirely by accident. Growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters, persistence and a passion for problem solving became the cornerstone for a career as an engineer and his work with NASA.

    Activity: Sounds like it's time for an Invention Fair!

  • Folk Tale & Fairy Tale Challenges


    Fairy Tale / Folk Tale

    Challenge Idea

    The 3 Little Pigs

    Design and build a home to keep the pig safe from the wolf. Use a blow dryer to be the wolf and test your house.

    Blog post linked here.

    Jack & the Beanstalk

    Design and build the tallest beanstalk that will support the most weight.

    Design and build a method to get Jack safely down from the giant's home in the clouds. This activity could also be used with The Princess and the Pea, to design a method for the princess to get down safely from atop the mattresses. 

    Sample challenge linked here.

    3 Billy Goats Gruff

    Design and build a bridge that will hold all 3 goats. 

    Sample challenge linked here.


    Design and build pulley to raise the the prince up to the tower. Bonus if you can also lower the prince and the princess back down again. This activity could also be done with The Frog Prince, designing a pulley to retrieve the ball from the well.

    Henny Penny

    Design and build something to protect Henny Penny when the sky begins to fall.

    Little Red Riding Hood

    Design and build a basket to hold the most weight.

    Design and build a method to get this basket safely to grandma's house, and avoid the wolf. 

    Goldilocks and the 3 Bears

    Design a lock or latch for the bears' door to keep Goldilocks out.

    Design and build a new bed/chair for baby bear.  (hint: Use a soup can to represent baby bear)

    Pied Piper of Hamlin

    Design and build a musical instrument to lead the rats out of town.


    Design and build a puppet friend for Pinocchio.

    The Elves and the Shoemaker

    Using the provided materials, design and construct a shoe to fit one of your teammates. 


    Use pipe cleaners (or any other materials you prefer) to design and create animals to pull Cinderella's coach.  Your coach could be an actual pumpkin, or use your Sphero robot or similar tool. 

    Design a gown for Cinderella to wear to the ball. 

    Gingerbread Man

    Design and build a trap for the gingerbread man.

    Design and build something to get the gingerbread man safely across the water without getting wet.

    Tortoise and the Hare

    Design and build a method for the tortoise to beat the hare with speed, not just cleverness.  Or design and build a device to wake the hare in time to beat the tortoise. Who do you choose?

    Website with possible science and building connections linked here. 

  • Building Your Maker Bookshelf

     The following resources are available in Overdrive.

    the big book The Big Book of Makerspace Projects: Inspiring Makers to Experiment, Create, and Learn by Colleen Graves; Aaron Graves 

    Publication Date: 2016-10-19

    This easy-to-follow guide features dozens of DIY, low-cost projects that will arm you with the skills necessary to dream up and build your own creations. Each project features non-technical, step-by-step instructions with photos and illustrations to ensure success and expand your imagination. You will learn recyclables hacks, smartphone tweaks, paper circuits, e-textiles, musical instruments, coding and programming, 3-D printing, and much, much more! Discover how to create: * Brushbot warriors, scribble machines, and balloon hovercrafts * Smartphone illusions, holograms, and projections * Paper circuits, origami, greeting cards, and pop-ups * Dodgeball, mazes, and other interesting Scratch games * Organs, guitars, and percussion instruments * Sewed LED bracelets, art cuffs, and Arduino stuffie * Makey Makey and littleBits gadgets * Programs for plug-and-play and Bluetooth-enabled robots * 3D design and printing     projects and enhancements


    Markerspace Makerspaces by John J. Burke 

    Publication Date: 2014-07-17

    This practical guide will help librarians -develop, budget for, and implement makerspaces; -write grant proposals for funding; -and understand the mindset behind the maker movement in order to meet patron needs. Makerspaces: A Practical Guide for Librarians also includes useful case studies, descriptions of equipment and new technologies, and models for planning and assessing projects.


    Mark in library Makerspaces in Libraries by Theresa Willingham; Jeroen DeBoer; Ellyssa Kroski (Contribution by) 

    Publication Date: 2015-08-20

    Discover how you can create a makerspace within your own library though this step-by-step guidebook. From planning your innovation center to hosting hack-a-thons, guest lectures, and social events in your new lab, Makerspaces in Libraries provides detailed guidance and best practices for creating an enduring, community driven space for all to enjoy and from which both staff and patrons will benefit. Highlights and best practices include: -budgeting and business planning for a library makerspace, -creating operational documents, -tools and resources overviews, -national and international case studies, -becoming familiar with 3D printers through practical printing projects (seed bombs), -how to get started with Arduino (illuminate your library with a LED ambient mood light), -how to host a FIRST Robotics Team at the library, -how to develop hands-on engagement for senior makers (Squishy Circuits), and -how to host a Hackathon and build a coding community.


    worlds of making Worlds of Making by Laura Fleming 

    Publication Date: 2015-02-17

    Get the nuts and bolts on imagining, planning, creating, and managing a cutting-edge Makerspace for your school community. From inception through implementation, you'll find invaluable guidance for creating a vibrant Makerspace on any budget. Practical strategies and anecdotal examples help you: Create an action plan for your own personalized Makerspace Align activities to standards Showcase student creations Use this must-have guide to painlessly build a robust, unique learning environment that puts learning back in the hands of your students!