“Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.”
Lisa See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
It’s summertime! Have you started your summer reading? I’m doing my own search this year. My youngest child graduated in May, so here I am making my own summer reading list.
I’ve decided to read non-fiction related to science and technology and more in line with NICERC’s cyber content. Two books on my list are The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson, and Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet by Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon. The Innovators is lengthy, but the reviews and previous books by this author make it a must read. Where Wizards Stay Up Late was easy to find and a very interesting read. It’s so incredible to me how much these computer scientists and engineers went through to accidentally create electronic mail for the masses. The story is amazing and will make you cringe and fidget and fume. We all know how it turns out, so in the end, you give a sigh of relief and celebrate their achievement.
Further research led me to some wonderful titles like The Grapes of Math by Greg Tang, written for younger students; Here’s Looking at Euclid by Alex Bellos; and How to Bake π by Eugenia Cheng. Who knew mathematicians enjoyed puns?! Other books I am considering are Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, Letters to a Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson, and What if? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. There are some truly absurd topics in this book, but also some good trivia such as, “Which state is actually flown over the most.” The answer is somewhat surprising. Another chapter looks at going back in time and forward in time in Times Square. I should also note this book has a disclaimer: Do not try any of this at home. This bestseller is a fun read and will make you stop and contemplate outcomes.
I haven’t completed my summer reading; my list keeps growing. What I have read about the creation of the internet and email made me want to know more, and isn’t that what we want for our children and for all students? We want them to ask the hard questions and to always wonder why. As Einstein quoted to LIFE magazine in one of his last interviews, “The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing” (Gorvett).
Consider offering summer reading to your math and science students. There are a number of books out there waiting to be checked out from the library or downloaded or purchased outright. Have a wonderful summer and enjoy all your summer reading!
This post comes from Vickie Hedrick, NICERC’s curriculum editor.
Gorvett, Zaria. “What you can learn from Einstein’s quirky habits.” BBC.com, 12 June 2017.