Earth Science for kids?
November 24, 2007 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Earth Science books for kids?

Does anyone have a reference book recommendation for an 8-year-old boy interested in Earth Science? Something that goes into the elements, geologic forces, weather, etc? Our son spends four hours a week in PE and one in science, he wants more.

posted by MiffyCLB to Education (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hop on eBay and search for "LIFE Science Library" and "LIFE Nature Library." Most of the books were published in the mid to late 60s, with a few into the early 70s. These two reference series are written to be read by children but aren't the kind of WOW! ZOWIE! SCIENCE! fluffy crap that's on the market these days.

They have an excellent volume entitled "Weather," another good one called simply "Water," and the Nature series covers each of the continents. I personally preferred the Science Library over the Nature Library, but my daughter seems to be enjoying both pretty thoroughly.
posted by majick at 9:34 AM on November 24, 2007

Response by poster: Yes, SpongeBob doing "crazy, cool science stuff", preachy global warming books and "award winning science fair project" (like you shouldn't bother if it's not a winner) certainly dominate today's market, ai, yai, yai.

Thank you very much majick!
posted by MiffyCLB at 9:40 AM on November 24, 2007

You might try to find some of Isaac Asimov's children's books on Amazon or Ebay.

Asimov was one of the Big Three of Science fiction for the twentieth century, and wrote the I, Robot series (not at all like the movie) and the Foundation series (only Hugo award winner for Best Series Ever to date). After the late '50s, he started getting bored with SciFi and put his doctorate in chemistry to even more direct use by writing thousands of essays and hundreds of books about science.

He died in 1992, so bits and pieces are already out of date, but I've got a copy of "Isaac Asimov's 'The Rocky Planets'" on my shelf, and it seems to have about as much information as several chapters in a middle school textbook, but in an interesting, well written style that your son should love. It's also got tons of huge, colorful pictures on every page, and a slight 'be nicer to the environment' bent dusted into the chapter on Earth, if you're big on that.

Fiction link (his best short story):

Nonfiction link (Not really aimed at children, but it gives you an idea):
posted by sandswipe at 10:30 AM on November 24, 2007

Is he too old for Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus? She's aces for this kind of stuff.
posted by Anonymous at 10:53 AM on November 24, 2007

Pick Me Up is one of my 8 year old's favorite reference books. As is his Science Encylopedia, here is a link to a few Children's Science Encylopedias These are the kind that are usually found on the sale table of the kids sections of any bookstore during the holidays.
posted by coevals at 11:35 AM on November 24, 2007

Earth science is great! I'm a Geology major. One of the biggest things you can do to supplement his reading is fill yourself in on some of the foundations of earth science (plate tectonics, the rock cycle, etc), and then constantly remind him that geology and meteorology are everywhere. Literally. Everything tangible has some geologic component.

Is he using a computer? What minerals are used in the circuit boards? How do they form, where do we get them, and what do they look like? Walking through a valley in a nature park? What formed the valley? Is the soil at the valley floor thicker than that of the surrounding land? Why?

And for goodness sake, you're in California, study faults. Learn about why the next big quake won't send LA floating off into the sea, but may, after a bit of time, make it San Francisco's sister city.

If it's on or part of the earth, it's within the domain of earth science. Keep that in mind and I'm sure you'll find more than enough material to keep your son's interest.
posted by SemiSophos at 11:50 AM on November 24, 2007

Not nonfiction, not purely geology -- Dinotopia?
posted by salvia at 12:08 PM on November 24, 2007

This might be a little old for him, but the pictures are beautiful, and he'll love having them around as he grows into them: The Eyewitness Books (Earth, Weather). I loved these when I was a kid.
posted by you're a kitty! at 1:10 PM on November 24, 2007

How about Larry Gonick's Cartoon Guide to the Environment?
posted by baho at 6:05 PM on November 24, 2007

Seconding Eyewitness books, they are not too old for him at all (although he is probably too old for magic school bus). DK publishes the eyewitness series and there are several outstanding titles that would be perfect for him: Rocks and Minerals, The Visual Dictionary of the Earth, etc. Here are 164 titles in that series that cover Geology and Earth Science... follow a link to see if your public library has it.

You could also just take him to the youth department at the public library and tell the person there that he likes rocks. They live for those moments.
posted by ulotrichous at 9:30 PM on November 24, 2007

i don't have any book suggestions, but i can offer a bunch of sites that might help you supplement your child's education.

Exploring the Environment (An online series featuring an integrated approach to environmental earth science through modules and activities developed at the NASA Classroom of the Futureā„¢; at Wheeling Jesuit University.)

The Fossil Museum (addresses issues of Geological Time presented in multiple contexts: geological history, the tree of life, paleobiology, and evolution. An educational resource providing an ever-growing extensive collection of fossil images.)

The Futures Channel (multimedia...)

Volcano World (satellite images, current eruptions, volcanic history calendar, earth volcanoes, other world volcanoes, eruption videos,observatory links, expedition journals and photos, and factual information.)

MS Nucleus (A full K-12 Science curriculum, including a collection of lesson plans and various sorts of Flash online interactives--storybooks, activities, and slideshows. It's free, but they do ask for an email so they can send you updates. )

Fossil Facts and Finds (Offers lesson plans, activities like crossword puzzles, and plenty of information on fossils and their formation.)

Ology (American Museum of Natural History Web site for kids ages seven through twelve and, designed as a place for kids to explore, ask questions, get answers, meet OLogists, play games, and see what other kids are interested in. )

Ignite Learning (A couple videos on earth science--i don't know about these--kids might find them stupid.)

I found all these here.
posted by RedEmma at 12:06 PM on November 25, 2007

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