Woohoo – my kids are doing their 1st chemistry experiment (well 1st formal one)

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Children’s Science Books from NY Times 5/10/09

Better late than never I guess.  I missed the NY Times Children’s Books section in teh 5/10 Book Review but my mother brought it with her and left it so I am posting a tiny bit about it.

They review/suggest a few books for kids and many of them have a theme related to this blog including:

Kids Science Book Recommendation #1: Pat Schrödinger’s Kitty

OMG. I just got my copy of “Pat Schrödinger’s Kitty” by Tiffany Ard. I only found out about this kid’s science book because the author (at least, I think it was the author) linked to a posting of mine from her “electric boogaloo” blog (in a post about April Fools). And from there I read about how she was invited to Scifoo this year (Damn her — why can’t I get invited again) and how it was a really good day because someone wrote a post about her kids science book. So, since I am a total geek and love reading sciency things to my kids I took a look. And it looked pretty good so I ordered one for me and one to give to my geeky brother.

And I just got it today. And I must say, it is f*$# brilliant. It is a spoof on Pat The Bunny (which I had to read over and over to kid #1 and #2) wherein the same general things that happen in Pat the Bunny are replaced by Schrödinger kind of things (e.g., “Paul can interact with billions of neutrinos”). This means a lot to me since as a small child my grandfather, a physicist, used to tell me about relativity and Einstein thought experiments. So I encourage all to get this book, even if you do not have little kids. It is worth a serious giggle for anyone. Still haven’t read it to the kids – had to post about it 20 minutes after opening the mail.

Steve Irwin’s death is a great loss for science education

As I assume many people know, Steve Irwin (aka the Crocodile Hunter) died today. He has been lauded as an environmentalist, which he clearly was. However, he should also be praised as one of the more effective science educators of the last 20 years.

In this day and age, most of the TV shows are either 24 hour news, or some bizarre new reality show, or some crime drama. But Irwin managed to be successful with what could be called a animal-encounters reality show. Except that unlike some other such shows (e.g., “When Animals Attack“) his shows tended to be rich in moral lessons and education for the public about biology, life and animal behavior. We desperately need such little openings into the general public for education about science. Whether you liked his shows or not, whether you agreed with his methods for apporaching and protecting mean looking animals, I think everyone should say thanks today for Irwin’s dedication to educating the public about life on this planet.