Books & Mentor Texts Used in the LEAP Lab
"The Most Magnificent Thing" Engineering Design Process
1st/2nd Grades: Intro to EDP. Build magnificent marshmallow/toothpick structures.
"What Do You Do
With an Idea?"
Engineering Design Process
3rd/4th Grades: Intro to EDP. Create a 'Shelter' for the 'idea' using makerspace supplies. Criteria and constraints.
"Papa's Mechanical Fish" Engineering Design Process
5th/6th Grades: Intro to EDP. Create a 'grabber' that will retrieve the "Whitefish" from the bottom of a bucket of water.
"Rosie Revere, Engineer"
Create a prototype of an invention that solves a simple problem. (The bus is too bouncy, drinking fountains are too high, etc.) Extension could be to market the invention using Apple Clips to create a commercial.
"Iggy Peck, Architect" Engineering
Create bridges out of Keva planks, K'nex or other items.
"Ada Twist, Scientist"
Structure and properties of matter. Make slime! Diffferent kinds.
"Oscar and the Bird:
A Book About Electricity" Circuitry
1st-4th Grades-Read and discuss before simple circuits unit.
"Not a Box"
Kindergarten-Give kids a box, have them turn it into something!
"Not a Stick"
Kindergarten-Give kids sticks (craft sticks, pipe cleaners, pencils, etc.)-have them turn them into something different!
Intro. to Cubelets
1st/2nd Grades-Read before introducing Cubelets. Robots can't 'think', they are programmed to do what they're programmed to do. No intuition!
"If I Built a Car"
K-3rd Grades-Create a model of a futuristic car.
4th Grade: Create balloon cars, improve upon them.
"If I Built a House"
4th-6th Grades-Create a model of your dream house! Include criteria and constraints.
Introduce different types of construction materials to the kids. Keva Planks, Lego, k'nex, Strawbees, Hashtag blocks, Magnatiles, etc. Ask each group to build the biggest tower they can in 5 minutes. Once finished, compare the towers. Talk about the differences and similarities. The groups can then switch to the next area where there is a different type of block and build with a new challenge. (Build a bridge! Build a doghouse! Build a little chair, etc.)
"The Water Princess"
Social Issues/Earth Day
1st Grade-Water filter experiment with dirty water and 2 different paper towels, TP, coffee filter, Tissue Paper and baby wipes. Students make own filtration system after observing most effective filter.
"One Plastic Bag"
4th Grade-Create bracelets out of plastic bags. Brainstorm other products that can be made from bags or other reusable materials.
"Rube Goldberg and the Simple Normal Humdrum
4th-6th Grades-Discuss chain reactions and Rube Goldberg machines. Create one!
"Little Robot Alone"
This book can help Illustrate that coding is a step-by-step system.
"Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code"
3rd-6th Grades-Inspirational story about a pioneer of code
"Switch On, Switch Off"
1st/2nd Grades-Good introductory book to the concepts of circuits.
1st-4th Grades-Inspiration for creating in the Makerspace!
"Peter and Pablo the Printer:
Adventures in Making
3rd-6th Grades-Discusses what 3D printing is.
"We Build Our Homes"
Kindergarten-read and discussed how birds work together to create their homes. Go on a nature walk to find items birds might use to make a nest. Try to construct own nests. Also create nests out of found objects in the room. Engineer beaks to pick up items out of homemade 'bird box'.
"The Tale of Despereaux"
Video Production/3D Printing
4th Grade literature circle book. Many projects can be done with it, reinact a scene using stop-motion video, 'Interview' a character using a green screen, design and 3D print an object that represents one of the characters, design the dungeon maze and navigate a robot through it....
"Room on the Broom"
Kindergarten-Using hangers from the ceiling, try to balance the weight of the brooms. Use table scales as well.
Create brooms out of 2 TP rolls, 3 pipecleaners, 4 craft sticks, construction paper, scissors and tape for all of the animals to fit on.
"The Day the Crayons Quit"
1st Grade-Watch a video (Reading Rainbow) of a crayon factory. Melt down crayons. Talk about how they change. Pour them into molds. Observe differences and similarities.
Create a container with Legos that holds EXACTLY 24 crayons.
Kindergarten-Discuss where snowflakes come from. Create snowflakes out of coffee filters. Watercolor paint them.
"We're All Wonders"
Create different types of launchers, catapults, slingshots, etc. to send Auggie to the 'moon'.
"Doll-E 1.0" Circuits/Coding/Design
1st/2nd Grades-create dolls or 'action figures' in the makerspace. On Scratch, record about 6 different sounds. Create the code for the left and right arrow keys. Hook it all up using a Makey Makey. Interactive dolls!
"What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?"
Kindergarten-Create a new type of tail for an existing animal. Why is it helpful? What does it do? Why does that animal need it? (Could also create different, noses, teeth, ears, feet, etc.)
Create a SUPER ANIMAL by using 3-4 unique features from other animals.
"Balloons Over Broadway"
3rd Grade: Create a float and attach it to a Dash robot to parade through the hallways before Thanksgiving. Criteria and Constraints!
3rd Grade-Blow out eggs, create designs using a black sharpie, water color the rest of the egg. (Easter!)
"Robots, Robots Everywhere"
Kindergarten-Create 'Climbing Robots' out of construction paper template of robot and yarn.
"Heroes of the Environment"
"The Ballad of Valentine"
Design-Create ways to get a note to someone else. (Pulley, zipline, boat, paper airplane, etc.)
"Robot in Love"
Fun book to read Valentine's Day week
"Boy + Bot"
"11 Experiments that Failed" Engineering Design Process
"The Girl Who Thought
The Flight of Apollo 11"
"Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla"
Create a 'Healthy Habitat' for Ivan. Research what gorillas need and design an ideal area for a gorilla to live if they HAD to live in captivity. Cardoard design it or use Makerspace materials. Measure out the different areas. Be innovative with water and food sources.
"Who Was..." Biographies Coding/Video Production
After reading a biography of their choice, students can create a timeline out of butcher paper of important dates. They should code the Dash robot to stop on each spot and record their voices saying the important fact for each date. Or, students can make a commercial advertising their person, or a stop motion video or record a book talk.
"Twenty-One Elephants" Engineering/Design/Math
This story is about PT Barnum, of Barnum & Bailey's Circus, parading 21 elephants across the newly constructed Brooklyn Bridge to prove it's sturdy. Students will build sturdy bridges out of various materials and balance 21 'animals' on them.
"Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon"
This book teaches perseverence, determination, and looking a problems in a unique, creative way. It encourages readers to take risks and be themselves!
This book is great for teaching about animal adaptations. Students create their own animal with unique adaptations or add on to an existing animal's adaptations. Later, they can code an interactive project explaining their animal using Scratch and Makey Makey circuit boards.
Create chain reactions with dominoes, Keva planks, found items.
"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind"
Use to teach about wind energy and renewable resources. (Energy Unit, 4th Grade)
"Beauty and the Beak"
Inspirational book about how impactful 3D printing can be. In this book, a bald eagle had lost most of its beak and scientists 3D printed it a new, working one!
"Golf-O-Rama: The Wacky Nine-Hole Pop-Up Mini Golf Book"
I use this book with my older students to introduce the mini-golf engineering challenge.
"Skeleton Meets the Mummy"
Fun Halloween book I use with 2nd graders. They must create a container for a zipline to whisk the skeleton to safety.
"The Thrills and Chills of Amusement Parks"
A great book to use with a roller coaster unit. Discusses laws of motion. (Non-fiction)
"Made By Maxine"
A child maker who creates a float for her pet goldfish to be able to participate in her school's animal parade. Perseverence.
"I Need My Monster"
Discuss the traits of the boy's monster. Challenge students to create a monster that has all of the attributes that the boy's monster has with
Play Doh and materials from the Makerspace.
"If I Built a House"
1st/2nd Grades: Discuss the story and then have students create their own 'Dream Houses' out of Legos. Film the students describing their creations in front of a green screen and use the DoInk app to add the students into their actual Lego houses.