February 18th, 2015
I’ll admit it: I love science. I will go out of my way to read books and articles about science. This wasn’t always the case, though. My love of science started in tenth grade, and it was because of Mr. Paul Adams. He took chemistry, which could have been intimidating, and made it not only accessible but also fun. In between electron dot diagrams and chemical equations, he taught me that an engaging, entertaining teacher could make or break a science class.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be in school to find a great teacher; the library has plenty! I found one in Christine McKinley, host of “History Channel’s Brad Meltzer Decoded” and author of “Physics for Rock Stars: Making the Laws of the Universe Work for You.” She takes such concepts as the scientific method, Newton’s laws, and the ideal gas law and, combining them with stories from her life and advice for the rock stars who may read the book, makes them fun. In the first chapter, she relates how, as a junior high student, she used the scientific method to answer the question of whether it is better to be a smart kid or a cool kid. Later in the book, her knowledge of fluid dynamics lets her explain how to escape a (hypothetical) car crash into a lake, and look good while doing so! I listened to the audiobook from Hoopla, and Tavia Gilbert’s inflection made the book even funnier. There’s a little math in the book, but don’t be scared: the explanations are clear.
If you’re looking for more math help, you might consider “Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Breaking a Nail” by Danica McKellar (of The Wonder Years and Dancing with the Stars), as well as her three additional math books. She shows real-world applications that help anybody get a handle on math concepts—not just middle schoolers—and her books are my go-to when I need a little help explaining math concepts to my daughter. When she talks about using percents and decimals to help you figure out whether you can afford to buy a magazine with 7% tax, that’s a little motivation to understand the concept!
For a little more light reading, try a magazine. Popular Science is easily accessible on your smartphone, tablet, or computer using Zinio, as well as in paper format through the library. We also have Discover, National Geographic, and Smithsonian, all available in both print and electronic format.
Besides the “Physics for Rock Stars” audiobook, which I enjoyed so much, Hoopla also has television, movies, and other audiobooks about science. There are even five seasons of Bill Nye the Science Guy! Cecil County Public Library also provides a wide range of science and technology based classes through Gale Courses.
Sometimes it’s a little easier to understand science if an actual person explains it, rather than a book or a video. Cecil County Public Library can help you there as well, as we have a wealth of science-based programs, such as our Science Café series. We also have a wide range of programs for children, teens, and adults.
Whether you’re just starting to learn about science, are a homeschooling family or you would like to further your scientific interests, Cecil County Public Library has something for you.
What’s your favorite way to explore science?