Thursday, May 16, 2013

STEM Friday: From Milk to Ice Cream

From Milk to Ice Cream
written by Stacy Taus-Bolstad
2013 (Lerner Books)
Source: Orange County Public Library

Check out STEM Friday for more math and science links

Lerner Books has published a terrific series of books called Start to Finish. In each book, primary age readers are guided through a process that leads to the production of an item that is familiar to them. Some of the titles include From Wheat to Bread, From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate, and From Maple Tree to Syrup. When I read such books, I usually focus on teaching lessons on sequence and procedural text. Those are great topics, but I have left out another area that these short nonfiction texts could be used to address. My second grade class is currently studying economics and this series of books would be ideal for starting discussions about economic terms like goods, consumers, and producers. The start of this book begins with the milking of the cows. So I would ask my class, what does it cost to pay for the milk that goes into ice cream? Cows have to be fed, machinery has to be purchased, and so forth. My big idea would be for students to understand that there are a lot of costs that go into the items that we purchase. Another area for study is pasteurization. Why does the milk have to be heated? What happens if it is not heated? A third possible use of From Milk to Ice Cream would be to investigate permutations which is combinations of things. In the book, photographs are shown of flavors being added to the ice cream mix. What if you served strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, and cookie dough ice cream in two scoop cones? How many different combinations could you serve?

I like the text of this book because a child who is reading on a Level H or I (can you tell I'm in the middle of doing end of year reading assessments?) can handle the decoding and get a good dose of nonfiction. Trying to find solid nonfiction for these readers is not always easy, so the Start to Finish  series would be a good purchase for your classroom or school library.

1 comment:

  1. When my oldest was "second grade" level we took a field trip to an ice cream shop where we "studied" the diversity of ice cream flavors and did that very math problem you mention (combinations & permutations). Then we ate ice cream - of course!


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