Title: Reading Science Stories
Author: Joy Hakim
Major Themes: Science, Mathematics
Synopsis: A brief history of science and math is told in a very entertaining way.
Reading Science Stories was a fascinating read for me! I may have to find a place to slip this one into our read-aloud time some day. I learned so much from it, and it was written in a very interesting way. Just ask my family how many times I told them what I was reading in it when we were together at the table. We read another book about Archimedes recently, but the way Joy Hakim tells the story of his inventions to defend Syracuse from the Romans makes it come to life in a way the other book didn’t. Of course, Reading Science Stories doesn’t give the details that Archimedes and the Door of Science did, just a few highlights. Another story I really enjoyed was the one about how the Fahrenheit thermometer was invented, and also the chapter about zero and the base 10 number system. Fascinating!
Joy Hakim shows, all the way through this book, how science and math are interconnected. You can’t have science without using numbers! She tells how the Sumerians used math (we still have their clay tablets) and how the Egyptians needed geometry. Then, we are introduced to Pythagoras and Aristotle, Plato and Hero and the discoveries they made. Of course, Archimedes has a chapter. The next chapter is about the discovery of zero, and then we learn about printing and how books were made that actually cost less than a cow! The last chapter in the part of the book about ancient science deals with the discovery that the earth is really round.
As we head toward modern science in the second part of the book, Copernicus discovers that the earth actually rotates around the sun rather than the other way around! Vesalius begins dissecting human bodies and Galileo notices that when everything we see is moving at the same speed in the same direction we can’t tell that we are moving! Many more scientists—Newton, Daniel Bernoulli, Emilie du Chatelet, Voltaire, Fahrenheit, Benjamin Thompson, Faraday and Maxwell, and Einstein–and their discoveries are introduced, all in the same entertaining fashion. Reading Science Stories is a book I would love to have on my shelf!
Note: I was given a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
WARNING: Chapter 1 assumes people evolving and learning gradually about numbers; I believe that God created man very intelligent at the beginning and able to use numbers immediately. Chapter 18 doesn’t directly discuss evolution, but alludes to it. Chapter 21 is about the discovery of “Lucy”, the apeman, and the evolution of man.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15, 15 and Above