Dreams Do Come True!

Each of these picture books featuring women in STEM shows that dreams do come true! Reviewing NSTA’s list of outstanding trade books is how I found the first two books in this list. I was so inspired by these women’s stories that I kept going back and getting more of the books. I hope you and your students enjoy them as much as I do!

Shark Lady: The True Story of Eugenie Clark

Who was Eugenie Clark?

As a young girl, Eugenie went to the New York Aquarium and watched the sharks while her mother worked. She knew that when she grew up she wanted to study sharks. Despite people discouraging her, she went to college to become a zoologist. She was one of the first people ever to scuba dive and Eugenie swam with and studied sharks until she was 92!

Activities to do with the book:

Kids love to read about sharks! Why not research different types of sharks? Students can also design their own aquariums or study buoyancy.

If you don’t have a copy of Shark Lady you can listen to it here.

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code

Who was Grace Hopper?

When Grace Hopper was a child she read many books. She also loved taking things apart and putting them back together. Science and math were her favorite subjects in school. When she graduated from college she wanted to go into the military. It took her two years to convince them into taking her. Grace Hopper wrote computer code for the first computer ever built! The term “computer bug” came from Grace. Once, a computer wasn’t working. She found that is wasn’t working because there was an insect in it!

Activities to do with the book:

Coding of course! If your students aren’t already coding, introduce them to some free coding sites and activities. The Hour of Code and Scratch both offer free coding activities.

The Amazing Scientists Book Series

This is a great series of books featuring women in STEM! Each book is written in rhyme, which makes them very engaging. The illustrations are captivating.

The Doctor with an Eye for an Eye: The Story of Patricia Bath

Who is Patricia Bath?

Patricia Bath was born during a time when African-Americans were discriminated against. Her parents encouraged her to get an education. Patricia always loved science and went on to earn her Ph.D. She was the first African-American female to become an ophthalmologist. She got a patent for a device that can restore eyesight by treating cataracts.

Activities to do with the book:

Learn more about the eye by studying glaucoma or cataracts. Make a model of the eye. Study the eyes of different animals.

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Temple Grandin

Who is Temple Grandin?

Temple Grandin didn’t behave like other children when she was born. Fortunately, her parents could afford to hire tutors for her when she little. When she was older she went to private schools. She was teased a lot and got kicked out of school because of her behavior (she was later diagnosed as autistic). Temple when to live on her aunt’s farm. There, she became interested in horses and cattle. She eventually earned a degree in animal science. Temple invented the “squeeze machine” to calm people and animals. She also invented a cattle chute that is used in more than half of the farms in the United States.

Activities to do with the book:

Research different types of cattle, learn more about autism or invent something to use with animals.

The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Ray Montague

Who was Raye Montague?

Raye Montague toured a submarine with her grandfather when she was little. He told Raye that engineers built it. She decided right then that she wanted to be an engineer. When she was in college she was told that engineering wasn’t taught to black students, so she got her degree in business. She was hired by the Navy as a typist in the department where submarines were built. Raye watched and learned. Once, when everyone got the flu, she did all of their work by memory! She went on to get her degree in engineering and designed ships.

Activities to do with the book:

Study buoyancy and design a submarine that sinks under the water but doesn’t touch the bottom.

The Astronaut with a Song for the Stars: The Story of Ellen Ochoa

Who is Ellen Ochoa?

Ellen Ochoa’s family immigrated to the United States from Mexico. Ellen loved math and science, but people teased her because of this. She also loved to play the flute. She decided to go to college to study music. However, once she got there she decided to study engineering. She watched the first woman, Sally Ride, so up into space. Ellen was determined to do that. After much work, she became the first Hispanic woman astronaut. She also has several inventions.

Activities to do with this book:

Study forces and motion, make a hoop glider or a catapult!

Are you looking for more ideas?

This bundle featuring women in STEM fields has a story map outline, character traits sheets, as well as a biography of each woman with accompanying questions. There are other follow-up activities as well.

If you are interested in reading about other great STEM books click here.

I hope you enjoy these books as much as my students and I do!


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Originally posted at STEM Activities for Kids