Mistakes Help Us Learn
Mistakes Help Us Learn
Engineers Solve Problems
Engineers are people who use math, science, and creative thinking to solve problems. Engineers know that making mistakes is a chance to learn.
This message of the above excerpt is critically important for all students to hear. Only by learning from our experiences, including our successes and our failures, can we progress. Finally, a book that delivers this message to our youngest students. Bravo!
The format of the book is very visually appealing. Packed with colourful photos and limited text, Mistakes Help Us Learn presents engaging examples of the connections between Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math.
Photos show males and females of a variety of ages, ethnicities, and abilities. Some pictures show engineers in action while others show children and adults using different engineered products. One picture in the chapter “Keep Trying” shows a girl with an artificial hand. The caption reads: “This girl has an artificial hand. Engineers tested the hand many times. They fixed mistakes. Now, her hand works well! She can use it to change the light bulb.”
Words in bold throughout the book, such as “artificial” are defined in “Words to Know” at the end of the book. In addition to the definition, each word in the list is also identified as a noun, a verb, or an adjective. An explanation of the parts of speech is included on the same page at the end of the book. A brief Index is also included in the book.
Questions within the text ask young readers to dig deeper into their understanding of the topic. For example: “Can you think of a time when you learned from a mistake?”
Each book includes “STEAM Notes for Educators” on the last page of the book. The notes outline activities intended to guide teachers and parents/caregivers to extend the ideas in the book. Worksheets to support the activities in “Mistakes Help Us Learn” are found at www.crabtreebooks.com/resources/printables. These worksheets help student build a growth mindset: “when we learn from mistakes and do not give up, it is called ‘growth mindset’”. The link to www.crabtreeplus.com/fullsteamahead is not working at the time of this review.
Mistakes Help Us Learn is part of a subgroup of books, “Engineering Everywhere” in the “Full STEAM Ahead” series. The other three titles in “Engineering Everywhere” are Engineering in My Community, How Engineers Solve Problems, and What Does an Engineer Do?. All of the books in the series are well-suited to primary students. The basic information in the set of four books is consistent but presented in each book with a slightly different focus. It is worth purchasing the entire set if possible, but if you can only buy one, I would recommend Mistakes Help Us Learn for its focus on developing resilience in response to failure.
Dr. Suzanne Pierson is a former teacher-librarian and instructor of Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.