Excellent Kids STEM Book: Copycat Science

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Copycat Science: Step into the shoes of the world’s greatest scientists! by Mike Barfield looks like a graphic novel, acts like a very densely packed activity book, but stealthily serves as a textbook for learning all kinds of science.

Every page or two has something to do, using common household ingredients. You can extract and actually see DNA from an organism, play around with air pressure, create lightning, mess around with light, and of course, achieve a deeper than usual understanding of slime.

This is one of the better home science activity books I’ve seen, and it comes at a perfect time. For example, our school district is, for fifth grade, going to skip science for the first several weeks of Covid induced distance learning. Well, we may use this book each day during that hiatus, and thereby learn random things. Can’t hurt!

Strangely, the author is not a scientist, but a poet and ukulele maestro, but with excellent drawing skills.

It is a nicely formatted book, of solid construction.*

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
*Please note:
Links to books and other items on this page and elsewhere on Greg Ladens' blog may send you to Amazon, where I am a registered affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps to fund this site.

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4 thoughts on “Excellent Kids STEM Book: Copycat Science

  1. Hi Greg, Thank you the lovely review. I actually trained as a biologist, getting a degree in botany and zoology from Kings London longer ago than I care to remember! I was then torn by a desire to write jokes, so I switched into a comedy writing career. That then morphed into a an additional cartooning sideline, before I realised I actually loved writing and performing to and for younger people. The non-fiction books I do now sort of combine all these aspects of what I enjoy doing. And, yes, I do still write and get my poetry published, plus strum the odd ukulele. Bit of a portmanteau career, really! Thank you again for being so positive about the book. It was a very personal thing – having both written and drawn it – and I have a real drive to inspire children to actually do some practical experimenting and develop a love of science and rational observation that way rather than just have to read about it. Best wishes to you!

    1. Mike I suspected you had a science background, since the science in your book is great at that level. It is easy to spot writing (and drawing) where that background is not there!


  2. Strangely, the author is not a scientist, but a poet and ukulele maestro…

    Will Feynman was pretty cool on the Bongos so I hear. If you want the heavy stuff his three volume ‘Lectures on Physics’ will go well. I got the ‘The New Millenium Edition’ which has since been extended for a later edition.

    Feynman’s input to the Challenger disaster made interesting reading, published in one or two of his other books. I was at Uni in UK at the time of the Challenger launch watching it as it took place whilst in my room on TV (purchased to go with the microcomputer I had bought using for learning software development and WP but useful for its TV function too). I was a mature student not long finished a two decade stint in the RN’s Fleet Air Arm as an aircraft artificer – engineering background, systems, engines and structures with aeronautical engineering science and applied mechanics under my belt. Amongst the many types of aircraft I dealt with I went to sea on two different carriers one with an F4 Phantom squadron. Always interested in engineering technology in practice I was watching closely given the issues with a hatch in the days prior.

    At the launch, being aware of the possibility of wind-shear issues on-top of extended periods of low temperatures at the site—cold sink—I was watching closely. I had visited the Cape in 71 when Apollo 15 was on the launch pad, took some shots. Now a few seconds into the Challenger launch I noticed a puff of something from one of the SRBs so watched more intently having crossed my fingers. Even so I was still stunned when it blew.

    1. One of the saddest things we’ve learned since the Challenger was that problems with the O-rings had been identified for years — some questions were raised at the design stage, and fixes, even attempts to address the issues, were constantly put off because doing so would have put the program even further behind schedule than it already was.

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