NSTA - Marilyn Cook
"How many of us have used magnetic letters at home or in school to teach literacy to young children? Fascination with magnets can be a starting point as we build on the natural curiosity and exploration of young children. This book builds on the young student’s thinking by providing full-page visual with age-appropriate text for the teacher to read in PreK-1 and for the student to read with help in second grade.
The photos show natural and human made objects in the students’ environment. For example, a ceiling fan is shown to illustrate the use of magnets in electric motors and the student is prompted to think about what could be used instead if there were no magnets and electric motors. A full-page photo of an electric mixer with the beaters covered in cake batter reminds the student of another motor that requires magnets. This is one of those teachable moments to ask questions and predict. Without the motor and magnets, would you then have to stir the batter by hand? “Yes. It would take a long time and that happened when the lights went off in my house.”
The students could go on with stories and questions so that although the discussion is about magnets, the interrelatedness could be explored. A large picture of an MRI machine with its ring magnet provides another teachable moment that can begin with magnets and expand to other related topics.
The book ends with a full spread of magnetic letters, all randomly spaced with several words spelled in the center. The students are invited to make words and send messages. Also the students are asked what the words in the center spell. This book has a glossary, an index, and a list of suggested books about magnets.
One feature that will help teachers and parents alike is a website that offers a safe and fun way to find related internet sites with information about magnets. With adult help the student goes to the specific site and types in the code. A page comes up with the book and three related sites appropriate for young students. The websites feature information and activities that students can do to help them understand more about magnets.
Although there is text that PK-1 students may not be able to read, the book would still be welcome in my classroom. I would use it with the class to study the science and also put it in the science center for independent student exploration. For teachers that are looking to combine science with literacy instruction, this would be a good addition. It is amazing that a small book can be used to teach a whole unit and more! If you are a teacher of young children, this book, along with its corresponding technology, would be an excellent way to engage students as they learn that magnets are more than a push and pull" - NSTA
October 1, 2011