Day and Night
Day and Night
From Day to Night
Every day, the Sun lights the sky.
Every night, the Sun disappears.
The sky gets dark.
It is day, then night, then day again.
Day and night change in a cycle.
Crabtree’s new “Full STEAM Ahead!” series consists of 20 titles that are divided into five groups of four: “Science Starters”. “Technology Time”, “Math Matters”, Engineering Everywhere” and “Arts in Action”. Crabtree explains that “Full STEAM Ahead is a literacy series that helps readers build vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension while learning about big ideas in STEAM subjects.”
For those unfamiliar with the term STEAM, Wikipedia describes STEAM as follows:
STEAM fields are science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, or applied mathematics. STEAM is designed to integrate STEM subjects into various relevant education disciplines. These programs aim to teach students innovation, to think critically and use engineering or technology in imaginative designs or creative approaches to real-world problems while building on students' mathematics and science base. STEAM programs add art to STEM curriculum by drawing on design principles and encouraging creative solutions.
In each of the books in the series, half of the copyright page is given over to content that is directed at the adult who will be using the title with a child or a group of children. It begins with “Title-Specific Learning Objectives”.
For example, the learning objectives for The Four Seasons consist of:
* Explain that a cycle is a sequence of events that repeats itself again and again.
* Recognize that Earth’s rotation causes seasons, and describe some changes that happen each season.
* Identify information provided by pictures and diagrams, and information provided in text.
The text then identifies the “High-frequency words (grade one)” that appear in the book as well as words described as “Academic vocabulary”. For example, in the case of The Four Seasons, the latter words were: “cycle”, “earth”, “repeat”, “season”, “tilted”, and “weather”.
The rest of the half-page consists of suggested “Before, During, and After Reading Prompts’ that a teacher or parent could employ if using the book in an instructional setting.
Assistance for educators continues on the book’s closing page which provides teachers with detailed information on conducting a STEAM activity that will help “readers extend the ideas in the book to build their skills in science, technology and language arts.” In addition, teachers can access detailed Teacher’s Guides via Crabtree Publishing which will also allow them to download any worksheets needed to complete the suggested STEAM activity.
Titles in the “Full STEAM Ahead!” series are also identified as “Crabtree Plus” books which means that readers, using a code found within the book, can access a Crabtree website where they can “Watch animated videos that help make concepts easier to understand, and play interactive games that let you put what you’ve learned to work.” At the time this review was written, this website, when accessed, was identified as “Coming soon”.
The four books in the “Science Starters” subset of the “Full STEAM Ahead!” series are Day and Night, The Four Seasons, From Seed to Pumpkin and The Life Cycle of a Rabbit. Common to all four books is readers coming to understand the concept of “cycle”.
Day and Night provides an excellent starting point in understanding what a cycle is because this cycle is likely the one that occurs most frequently in our lives and is most commonly shared. Via text and illustration, the book explains that day and night are caused by the Earth’s “turn[ing] around one time” every 24 hours. “As Earth turns, the Sun seems to move across the sky.” Via two-page “chapters”, the book then goes through changes that can be visually observed during this cycle, beginning with sunrise, proceeding to afternoon, then evening and sunset before considering night. Sikkens concludes the main text with a brief examination of the night sky. As this book is aimed at a very young audience, it is understandable why Sikkens would make the general statement: “At noon, our side of Earth fully faces the Sun. We see the Sun at the highest point in the sky.” However, teachers in areas that use daylight saving time might want to qualify that statement. And given that the series employs “Academic vocabulary”, the word “rotates” would not have been out of place in the explanation of day and night.
Collectively, the four “Science Starters” books, with their reader-friendly text and highly illustrated contents, do a fine job in introducing early years students to the concept of a “cycle”. Though the books can be used in any order, there is a flow to their content that would suggest. that teachers begin with Day and Night and follow it with The Four Seasons, them From Seed to Pumpkin and finally The Life Cycle of a Rabbit.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.