Wednesday, April 29, 2015

STEM: Problem Solver (pt. 2) by Donald LeBlanc, MLS

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. To be ready for college, students need to study the intellectual foundations of these fields.  The basis of STEM requires the student to master the language of science, i.e., Math. Math can be a significant stumbling block in a student’s progression and the Friendswood public Library has a remedy in three books by Danica McKellar.  

 If you are of a certain age Danica McKellar will ring a mental bell as the love interest of the main character in the television show “The Wonder Years”. Miss McKellar managed to juggle an acting career and college, graduating from UCLA with a mathematics degree Summa Cum Laude. In the process of working on her degree she was a co-author on a published article and has her name on a mathematical theorem. She has written four New York Times best-selling books on precollege level math: Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking A Nail,  Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss , Hot X: Algebra Exposed , and Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape . 

Also available is a selection of math books online. EBSCO E-Books, found on the library’s web site, lists 690 books on math. This section has books on grade school math, high school, or college level mathematics. Other topics include math help for dyslexics, SAT test preparations, math for investors as well as careers for math majors. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friends of the Library Book Club

The Friends of the Library Book Club meets the 2nd Tuesday each month at 7:00 p.m in the Friendswood Public Library Activity Room.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

STEM Starts Here by Librarian Donald LeBlanc

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These books by David Macaulay engage young readers and adults with the foundations of STEM.
David Macaulay has been writing and drawing award winning books since 1973. 

Cathedral was his first book displaying his signature drawing style and historical text on building. Cathedral won a Caldecott Award, the first of many prizes Macaulay has acquired. A detailed history of the construction of a cathedral is described in line drawing and explanatory text. The process is explained from the cutting of trees for forms to the digging of the foundation. Descriptions of the laborer’s duties and skills are outlined. Construction of cranes to move the building materials around are described and illustrated. The design is explained in terms of engineering in how the loads are distributed and dissipated to produce a stable structure. The pictures are unique in style which captures your attention and the scale allows the drawings to dominate over the text.

Pyramid , another early work is another pre-primer for the engineer. Tools and the necessity of them to complete the task are again explained. The laborers’ tasks and responsibilities are explained and illustrated. The geometry of the design and how it was implemented is described and illustrated. The physical building process is illustrated in some detail again in a method that grabs the reader’s attention and brings credence to the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. The necessity of planning at several levels becomes apparent to the reader. The book is a work of genius in displaying the engineering arts by drawing rather than text.  Pyramid came out a few years after Cathedral.

In 1983 David Macaulay went wordy. Mill brought a quantum leap to his subjects in that the structure he describes has a revolutionary addition – moving parts. The added complexity required more text to explain the operation of the structure despite the exceptional illustrations. Moving parts usually require a means to control or regulate them and these mechanisms are introduced, explained and illustrated. As in all his books the historical environment is there, but more as back ground to explain the value of the structure in economic terms. Physics, economics, history, material science, statics, dynamics, all at grade school level, are delivered in a manner which invites curiosity rather than an unachievable challenge.

Mr. Macaulay was trained as an architect at New England College of Design. His connection to STEM is through math and engineering. A smattering of each is presented in his works. The lure of creating a unique building or structure as portrayed in his work is his inspiration and access to STEM. Check these books out and see if you or your kids have caught the bug.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Murder Most Texan author at FPL this Thursday

Thursday, April 9 at 7pm

Murder Most Texan author Bartee Haile talks about his new book at Friendswood Public Library.  Texas true crime writer and historian Bartee Haile unburies this collection of sixteen killings from Lone Star history and the details that have shocked and bewildered Texans for decades.