The latest doodle to show up on the Google search page honors a German scientist from the 19th century; Julius Richard Petri is the man who came up with the shallow laboratory dish used to grow bacteria. While it’s always entertaining to see who or what the latest Google doodle will honor, the May 31, 2013 doodle of Petri dishes that spell out the search engine’s name is a great way to get kids interested in Petri and other scientists and inventors.
From inventions that were developed after decades of trial and error to scientists who happened onto a discovery while searching for something else, the world of science and invention is one many young readers don’t naturally read about. With a little encouragement and, perhaps a look at the Google doodle honoring scientist and inventor Petri, readers of all ages will be just a little bit more interested in the great scientists and inventors of the past.
Readers ages 9 and up
“Biomimicry: Inventions Inspired by Nature” by Dora Lee and Margot Thompson (Kids Can Press, 2011)
“Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women” by Catherine Thimmesh and Melissa Sweet (Sandpiper, 2002)
Readers ages 6 and up
“Weird Science: Mad Marvels from the Way-Out World” by Matt Lake and Randy Fairbanks (Sterling, 2012)
“Mistakes That Worked” by Charlotte Jones and John O’Brien (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 1994)
Readers ages 3 and up
“Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum” by Meghan McCarthy (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2010)
“11 Experiments That Failed” by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter (Schwartz & Wade, 2011)
Readers of all ages
“What Is Science?” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Sachiko Yoshikawa (Henry Holt and Co., 2006)
“How to Think Like a Scientist: Answering Questions by the Scientific Method” by Stephen P. Kramer and Felicia Bond (HarperCollins, 1987)
“S is for Scientists: A Discovery Alphabet” by Larry Verstraete and David Geister (Sleeping Bear Press, 2010)
“The Inventor’s Times” by Dan Driscoll, James Zigarelli, Bryn Ashburn and Christine Sheller (Tangerine Press, 2003)
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Biomimicry: Inventions Inspired by Nature
Whether it’s swimwear designed to imitate shark skin or the connection between a gecko’s foot and the healing of surgical wounds, nature is filled with amazing models and techniques that humans can learn from. This book will help young readers learn about some of the many ways science is looking to nature for answers.
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women
It’s been said necessity is the mother of invention and the women in this book are proof that if a product is needed, it’s often a woman who invents it. From the everyday to the amazing, there are hundreds of inventions that have been created or discovered by women around the world.
Weird Science: Mad Marvels from the Way-Out World
For kids interested in the stranger side of science and mysterious phenomenon, this is a great book. Make sure to discuss the topics like crop circles and frogs falling from the sky with readers, as some of the information is incomplete. However, it’s a stepping-off point for further investigation.
Mistakes That Worked
Illustrated in comic book form, this book introduces readers to several inventions that were discovered through error. Silly Putty, Velcro and myriad other products were the result of scientists and inventors trying to create one thing and discovering something else.
Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum
Almost everyone loves bubble gum; gum has been chewed almost as long as man has been on earth. Bubble gum, on the other hand, is a relatively new invention. While this book focuses on how Dubble Bubble is made, there is plenty of information on the history of bubble gum and how it was invented.
11 Experiments That Failed
Ever wonder about the experiments that failed? Those science fair disasters that everyone would rather forget? Make sure the kids understand the experiments in the book are meant to be hilarious and a bit silly. Who says science has to be boring?
What Is Science? [
A picture book that is appropriate for all ages, science is explained in the simplest terms. From asking questions and making guesses, to the air, the soil, living creatures and more, science is about the whole world.
How to Think Like a Scientist: Answering Questions by the Scientific Method
Using every day situations and events, readers are introduced to the scientific method. Asking questions is only the beginning to finding out about why a cat licks its paws after eating to how the sun dries a wet blanket hanging on a clothes line. All sorts of serious and silly experiments are suggested.
S is for Scientists: A Discovery Alphabet
Although many believe alphabet books are for children just learning to read, books based on the ABCs can be a great way to learn about a subject. With 26 different facts and people covered, this is a great way to introduce a child to science or to expand one’s knowledge of the topic.
The Inventor’s Times
With the look of a newspaper, readers will enjoy learning about the inventors behind some of the most common items. Everything from the zipper to the slinky are explored. Kids will also enjoy the amazing facts surrounding the inventions and inventors that are covered in this fact-filled book.