Have you noticed Spigot's awesome recommended reading list? These books are carefully selected and reviewed by Patricia A. Richwine, Ph.D. I caught up Pat and here's what she had to say:
1. Tell us a bit about yourself ~
I grew up in Ohio and always wanted to be a teacher. I earned my three degrees; BA, MA and Ph.D. at The University of Akron. I’ve lived all of my adult life in NJ and just recently, in 2008, moved back to Ohio where most of my family lives. Right away my husband and I became involved with family activities that keep us very busy.
2. Have you always been interested in science?
As an undergraduate student I was an elementary education major with a minor in mathematics. I was interested in all content areas and liked to teach them all. My math interest spilled over into science. At one time I team taught science with another teacher who taught social studies. I began writing about my science interests and presenting at science conferences. Because my passion is children’s literature, I would always try to use science- related trade books in my presentations. When I began teaching at the university level, the first course I taught was for pre-service teachers about how to teach science and mathematics. My interest in science just seemed to increase with each new course I taught and with each new presentation I made.
3. How did you first get involved with Spigot Science?
While teaching at Georgian Court University, my colleague, Dr. David Cochran and I often shared our common interest in children’s literature. Dr. Cochran also knew of my interest in science and mathematics. When he and Valeria Girandola proposed the idea for Spigot I was thrilled to be involved. I started out on the Virtual Advisory Board (VAB) and from there came the idea of writing the book reviews for each issue.
4. What in your opinion is the most important scientific fact children should be taught or made aware of?
I don’t think there is any one scientific fact all children should know. Rather, I think that all children should be encouraged to develop a spirit of inquiry and a curiosity about science and the world around them. That being said, I think one fact that needs to be made clear about science is that the facts are evolving and changing. That’s what makes science more exciting with each new discovery.
5. Do you think kids are more interested in science today? Is the school curriculum doing enough?
Yes, I think kids are more interested in science today because the world is so open and accessible to them. They have easy access through the Internet and there are so many fantastic, non-fiction books about every topic imaginable. Kids, and adults, can read about science and environmental issues in the news on a daily basis. This really helps to peak their interest.
6. What do you look for in a good science book? Where do you find the books you review?
I have some general criteria I use to select books. I think about the audience. What would be age and interest appropriate and what is the purpose for the selection? I also look at literary merit, accuracy and appeal. Books need to be well-written and contain accurate information. Design and artistic style go along with appeal. Authors, illustrators and publishers are making books in a great variety of exciting formats. I find most of the books for my reviews through my county public library system. I think it’s important to review books that teachers and students might be able to find in their own libraries or at sites like Amazon.com.
7. Science was so boring when I was in school (30 years ago) how is it different today?
Science used to be an "add on" to the school curriculum. Now it’s really an integral part of education and of life in general. There are many great resources that provide hands-on and minds-on learning for students. There are also lots of teacher friendly sources that make teaching science more exciting.
8. How are publications like Spigot helping teachers and children?
Publications like Spigot make science come alive. Because each issue of Spigot addresses a specific topic it really provides breadth and depth to science learning. The format of Spigot is also great for teachers because it incorporates all content areas and relates them to the theme of the issue. Spigot could be a significant asset for homeschoolers, too.
Check out Patricia's book reviews for Spigot's new Oceans Issue.
- Wild Oceans by Lucio & Meera Santoro,
- Explorer: Oceans and Seas by Stephen Savage,
- Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Big Blue Ocean by Bill Nye with Ian G. Saunders,
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Oceans by Camilla de la Bedoyere,
- Oceans; Dolphins, Sharks, Penguins, and More! by Johnna Rizzo,
- Scholastic Atlas of Oceans,
- DK Guide: Ocean by Dr. Frances Dipper
- Navigators: Oceans & Seas by Margaret Hynes
- Oceans; Surviving in the Deep Sea by Michael Sandler
- Hands-0n Projects About Oceans by Krista West
- Sweeping Tsunamis by Louise & Richard Spilsbury,
- Flotsam by David Wiesner
- Tracking Trash; Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns,