Maria Tharp, South Nyack, NY, July 2001 By Bruce Gilbert – Original publication Fair use 

The Science and Engineering Practices are what scientists and engineers do.  So obviously we should have our students actively doing these practices in our classrooms!  I’ve also found it helpful for students to see these practices modeled – and who better to model the things scientists and engineers do than the scientists and engineers themselves!  An authentic way to do this is to have a scientist or engineer visit your classroom or take advantage of Zoom technology to give yourself limitless possibilities.  Another way to show students how these practices are used in the real world by some of the most accomplished minds of the past and present is by reading aloud STEM career picture books (biographies).

An exemplar text for highlighting the science and engineering practice of Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking is: Ocean Speaks: How Marie Tharp Revealed the Ocean’s Biggest Secret by Jess Keating.  This text tells the story of Marie Tharp, a geologist and oceanographic cartographer, who was instrumental to the project to scientifically map the ocean floor.  It is because of Marie’s detailed and thorough work with data that we now know there are mountains and valleys below sea level – and she had a hard time convincing her colleagues of that fact!  This text provides an excellent model for students of how mathematics and computational thinking are often the basis of scientific discoveries.

Have fun introducing your students to the power of mathematics and computational thinking as demonstrated by a ground-breaking female scientist!

Looking for additional science texts?  Check out StarrMatica Texts: Science Your Way, our library of K-5 science informational texts that can be customized to meet specific Common Core ELA standards. Each 1st – 5th grade text has multiple reading levels so all of your students can read the same content independently.

Not a subscriber?  Click here for a free trial to access our entire library of texts.

And if you are looking for additional picture books for your science classroom, check out the Perfect Picture Book Pairing Series that includes one-page guides with activities and discussion questions for hundreds of STEM-themed picture books aligned to every NGSS performance expectation!


Be sure to check out the other posts in this series to discover picture books to highlight each of the eight science and engineering practices in the NGSS!

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