20 Science Books to Inspire and Educate
For those of you who follow my social media accounts, you will know that we are working on a Science Project this term. Bean loves science and I'm keen to nurture her interest, which is why we will not be focusing too much of our time and energy on recording findings at this stage. My objective is for her to explore, investigate, play and have fun, through lots of hands on experiments, reading books and watching educational videos on YouTube.
I've gathered all our books and resources for the coming months, and am sharing them all here in one handy blog post. The affiliate links below are for Amazon. If you prefer to source your books from independent retailers, then you will find some of the following materials linked in my Bookshop here.
We don't ordinarily use workbooks, as Bean doesn't generally enjoy them, and I certainly wouldn't usually buy two! Both are published by Usborne. The first, Scientist Academy, is one of a series. We used the Architect Academy edition for our Building Project back in the Spring of 2019 and were really impressed by it, so I sought this one out. They're not too information heavy, with lots of practical activities to try. I found that it was useful to have a slight structure to follow.
The second, Science Scribble Book, was an impulse buy (in Sainsbury's, while doing the Christmas food shop). It looked bright and fun, and appealing, but on closer inspection the activities are all paper-based, which doesn't offer such a rich learning experience as practical, hands-on science experiments. I decided to present both books to Bean and give her the choice. I would have been happy with her using either (or both, or neither!) but she immediately reached for the Scientist Academy book, so that's the one we are using.
365 Science Experiments - This was a charity shop find many years ago. It's split into sections for chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, geology and weather, and is packed with ideas for science experiments. You could literally do one a day for a year, covering so many concepts and skills. It's a lovely one to dip in and out of, but equally you could use it as a science curriculum and work your way through it.
100 Science Experiments - If I were to choose just the one book of science experiments for the young child (4-8 yrs) it would be this one. It's not too overwhelming, and is presented in an appealing way, with clear instructions for realistically manageable experiments. We've done a lot of the experiments in this book over the years, and I'd recommend it wholeheartedly.
The Kitchen Science Cookbook - I found this book in TKMaxx last autumn, and just knew that Bean would love the section on edible experiments. When I got it home, Bean was thrilled and asked if we could do a science project the following term, so this book has been the inspiration. It's got beautiful, colour photographs for each experiment, which makes it especially appealing I think.
The Wizard's Workshop - I sourced this book back in the summer of 2019 when I was planning our Harry Potter Project. You can read a blog post about it here. It's the perfect book for aspiring young wizards to learn potions.
Women in Science
Women in Science - I'm keen to challenge gender stereotypes in our home education journey, and for Bean to aspire to follow her own deep interests, whatever they might be, and especially if her chosen interest is one considered more suitable for men. There are loads of brilliant women working in science and this book is a great way to learn about them all. We have this one in our morning basket, reading about just two or three inspiring women each day.
I've chosen Marie Curie (at random) for us to study a bit more closely. These are the books that I've sourced to learn more about her life and work.
My First Marie Curie - This book was sent to us in error, and is much too young for Bean. Aimed at 2-4 years, it's a very basic introduction to the life and work of Marie Curie. We have this version on the way, which is a much more suitable introduction, aimed at 4-7 years.
Who Was Marie Curie? - This is one of a series for children age 8-11, so more detailed than the Little People, Big Dreams series.
Marie Curie For Kids - I wouldn't ordinarily have bought a third book, but this one came highly recommended, and includes lots of practical activities and experiments to accompany the text. Aimed at 9-12 years.
100 Things to Know About Science - This was one of Bean's Christmas books. She actually shrieked with delight on opening it! We've read a few from this series now and they are always excellent. Each page, or double page spread, features one interesting fact, accompanied by visually appealing graphics, diagrams, tables etc. I enjoy reading this one aloud as much as Bean enjoys listening. We're always blown away by the information provided.
See Inside Science - This is a board book, with roughly 10 pages of lift-the-flaps. We've had this one for years and it has been well loved. It offers a nice introduction to a variety of topics, including space, life on earth, cells, the periodic table etc. Bean enjoys browsing through this one independently.
These two books have been bought for my benefit really, as I wanted a reference for all those questions I don't know how to answer (despite studying science to GCSE level - hmm, why did I not retain all that information?!)
Junior Illustrated Science Dictionary
Lift-the-Flap Periodic Table - This is the book that ignited Bean's interest in the Periodic Table. She's completely obsessed with it. Similarly to the See Inside Science book, it's a board book with roughly 10 pages of lift-the-flaps. It looks in more detail at the different elements of the Periodic Table, the function of each element etc.
Periodic Table Jigsaw - I found this while researching Periodic Table resources. Bean is as obsessed with this as she is with the book. The jigsaw actually comes with a paperback, non-lift-the-flap version of the same book, so is excellent value for money if you're looking for both. I do believe that working on the jigsaw is helping us both to become familiar with the names of the elements, their symbols and their relation to one another within the table.
See Inside Atoms and Molecules - This was gifted to Bean this Christmas, so we haven't had a chance to look at it yet. My first impression is that it looks very similar in style to the other lift-the-flap board books from Usborne, but with a focus on atoms and molecules.
Molecular Kit - Bean is a kinaesthetic learner, so these will be great for her to explore molecules in a hands on way.
Moving on to Biology, we have two wonderful picture books by Nicola Davies, Tiny: The Invisible World of Microbes and Grow: Secrets of Our DNA. Both are beautifully illustrated and fascinating to read. Aimed at 5-9 years, but so pleasing to read as an adult too.
Body Lab - This biology kit was a Christmas present, which I'm sure will be fun to explore. We've already done a whole project on the Human Body (when Bean was younger, before I launched Invitations to Play) and countless projects on animals, plants, the natural world etc. I think her understanding of biology is secure (for age related expectations) and it is not an area that she is massively interested in, so reading the books above and working through this kit is as much as I have planned for now.
And lastly, Physics, probably my weakest area when it comes to science, so I'm literally going to need all the help I can get! My plan is to read these two books, My First Book of Relativity
and My First Book of Quantum Physics, and then work our way through the Engineer Academy Robotics kit I picked up at a local garden centre.
I hope you find this blog post useful, for planning your own science project, now or in the future. Or, for bringing a bit of science into your everyday. If you are interested in following our project more closely, I have a Science Project story highlight over on Instagram. I'll also be sharing a few of our highlights in my January newsletter.
This blog post contains affiliate links. If you do click through, Bean and I will receive a small amount of commission which will contribute to new books and resources for her home education. You can, however, find all of these resources elsewhere, including other online retailers, second hand selling pages and your local library.
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