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8th Grade Book List: History of Science & Science Fiction


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Hey guys, I'm back for the annual event: help with creating a book list for my rising 8th grader!

 

Next year our focus will be on Big Science and the history of science.  I have basic spines and read-alouds chosen, I'm looking for help and suggestions in three specific categories.

 

1) Nonfiction for independent reading.  These could be biographies, or books about specific scientific discoveries.  The main criteria is they need to be interesting and engaging!  I don't want to slog through a bunch of boring biographies looking for a few well-written ones, I want to pick you guys' brains for the very best books you and your kids have enjoyed.  They can be directed at MG/YA readers, or they can be directed at adult readers, but if so, not too technical or difficult please - something a 13 year old strong reader could understand and enjoy mostly independently.  Biographies of woman scientists, or books about women in science are a plus.

 

2) Literary Fiction - stories that delve into human's struggle with their place in the universe, new scientific discoveries, the rapid cultural changes caused by new technologies, etc. and the morality/responsibilities of the scientist/creator -  The paradigm example I have in mind is a book like Frankenstein.  Short stories are fine, too.

 

3) Good Sci Fi - classic or modern.  Again, I'd like books that either look at the future implications of current technologies (genetic engineering? AI?) or, if older books, with existing technologies or the cultural changes they cause.  I'd like books that are meaty enough to really dig into and discuss.  I'm not specifically focusing on dystopias, but dystopias as a result of the current trajectory (or the perceived trajectory during the cold war, for example) are fine, as long as they aren't too brutal/bloody/dark.  Dd's reading maturity has taken a big jump this year, she is ready for more grown-up books, but I don't want to load up on super brutal or depressing things. 

 

Thanks!  As always, once I get a list together, I'll share it, but I want to put it out there and see where the thread goes - I look forward to seeing your suggestions! 

 

ETA: I should say, she has read a ton of MG sci fi/dystopias already - authors like Nancy Farmer, Margaret Petersen Haddix, Lois Lowry, DuPrau, and endless fantasy/sci fi series directed at middle graders. I'm looking for a little bit more grown-up books, although trying to stay away from heavy sex, drugs, and rock & roll - if that makes sense.

 

ETA2: Edited to correct my counting error  :D

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The Story of Science / Joy Hakim ?

 

And are you only looking for natural sciences or also subjects like Philosophy?

Just asking as I'm planning 17th century European history and I am researching several scientists an philosophers but according to dh philosophers are scientists... ;)

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Yes, we've done the first two Hakim books, and we'll cover the 3rd book next year.

 

For the nonfiction/biographies, I'm looking to span the whole range of human history, so philosophers/natural historians are fine, too.  It doesn't have to be just post-enlightenment scientists.

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I'm currently reading a book called Napoleon's Buttons which is about how different molecules impacted history. It's really interesting and could definitely be read by an 8th grader. I also thought of The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells when you were talking about scientific literature. Michael Crichton books deal with a lot of the science versus ethics ideas that are found in Frankenstein. I probably wouldn't consider Crichton quality literature, but it does fit your parameters and could possibly lead to some good discussions.

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Hi Rose,

I did something similar with my older son when he was in 8th grade. At that time I started a thread looking for book ideas...primarily biographies...but you may find some suggestions that interest you.

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/274322-what-are-some-dont-miss-scientist-biographies/?hl=%2Bscientist+%2Bbiographies&do=findComment&comment=2960589

 

It was a great year! :-)

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I'm currently reading a book called Napoleon's Buttons which is about how different molecules impacted history. It's really interesting and could definitely be read by an 8th grader. I also thought of The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells when you were talking about scientific literature. Michael Crichton books deal with a lot of the science versus ethics ideas that are found in Frankenstein. I probably wouldn't consider Crichton quality literature, but it does fit your parameters and could possibly lead to some good discussions.

 

Dr. Moreau definitely fits the bill.  Napoleon's Buttons looks good; I had been thinking of Sam Kean's Disappearing Spoon and should probably pick one of the two - I'll check them both out. Thanks!

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My go to list is nmoira's science reading year list. :001_tt1:  (I miss her!) But, you probably don't want to sift through them all.

 

Besides helping me find The Disappearing Spoon, it contained such gems as "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time." There were others that DH & I both enjoyed. It is such a treasure trove in there. (I think I saw one of those John Muir ones on there.) Longitude was an engaging read. It would fit with your category #1.

 

Did you have a category #2 & I missed it? (Counts, 1, 3, 4. Hm)

 

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My go to list is nmoira's science reading year list. :001_tt1:  (I miss her!) But, you probably don't want to sift through them all.

 

Besides helping me find The Disappearing Spoon, it contained such gems as "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time." There were others that DH & I both enjoyed. It is such a treasure trove in there. (I think I saw one of those John Muir ones on there.) Longitude was an engaging read. It would fit with your category #1.

 

Did you have a category #2 & I missed it? (Counts, 1, 3, 4. Hm)

 

Good point! Apparently I  can't count.  :lol:

 

I miss nmoira too. 

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Hey guys, I'm back for the annual event: help with creating a book list for my rising 8th grader!

 

Next year our focus will be on Big Science and the history of science.  I have basic spines and read-alouds chosen, I'm looking for help and suggestions in three specific categories.

 

1) Nonfiction for independent reading.  These could be biographies, or books about specific scientific discoveries.  The main criteria is they need to be interesting and engaging!  I don't want to slog through a bunch of boring biographies looking for a few well-written ones, I want to pick you guys' brains for the very best books you and your kids have enjoyed.  They can be directed at MG/YA readers, or they can be directed at adult readers, but if so, not too technical or difficult please - something a 13 year old strong reader could understand and enjoy mostly independently.  Biographies of woman scientists, or books about women in science are a plus.

 

3) Literary Fiction - stories that delve into human's struggle with their place in the universe, new scientific discoveries, the rapid cultural changes caused by new technologies, etc. and the morality/responsibilities of the scientist/creator -  The paradigm example I have in mind is a book like Frankenstein.  Short stories are fine, too.

 

4) Good Sci Fi - classic or modern.  Again, I'd like books that either look at the future implications of current technologies (genetic engineering? AI?) or, if older books, with existing technologies or the cultural changes they cause.  I'd like books that are meaty enough to really dig into and discuss.  I'm not specifically focusing on dystopias, but dystopias as a result of the current trajectory (or the perceived trajectory during the cold war, for example) are fine, as long as they aren't too brutal/bloody/dark.  Dd's reading maturity has taken a big jump this year, she is ready for more grown-up books, but I don't want to load up on super brutal or depressing things. 

 

Thanks!  As always, once I get a list together, I'll share it, but I want to put it out there and see where the thread goes - I look forward to seeing your suggestions! 

 

ETA: I should say, she has read a ton of MG sci fi/dystopias already - authors like Nancy Farmer, Margaret Petersen Haddix, Lois Lowry, DuPrau, and endless fantasy/sci fi series directed at middle graders. I'm looking for a little bit more grown-up books, although trying to stay away from heavy sex, drugs, and rock & roll - if that makes sense.

 

HG Wells is always good fiction reading

 

Dd read a biography of Thomas Alva Edison that was quite engaging, I'll look for the title.  We also enjoyed the Longitude book another poster recommended. 

 

Carry on Mr. Bowditch is probably too young, but it was an interesting read about Celestial Navigation. 

 

We found some books about Madam Curie that were interesting.

 

If you do a google search about women in science, you will find some topics about women who were instrumental in the space race. 

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Sam Kean books - Disappearing Spoon, Violinists Thumb (I haven't read these yet. I have The Violinist's Thumb right next to me on the desk ready to go)

 

Asimov's I, robot (or any of a number of things he has written, like the Foundations trilogy)

 

Card's Ender's Game (the whole series really gets at a number of things like man's place in the universe, the nature of life, what constitutes life, etc)

 

 

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Here are a few ideas:

 

The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes

Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel

Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped Our History by Dorothy H. Crawford

 

 

These are on my high school lists, so they may be more than you need. I have not read them either, so I can't say whether they have appropriate content or not. :)

 

These are more age-appropriate:

 

Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science by Susan Hughes

Dr. Jenner and the Speckled Monster: The Discovery of the Smallpox Vaccine by Albert Marrin

 

Oh...and maybe this one:

 

Magnificent Minds: 16 Pioneering Women in Science and Medicine by Pendred E. Noyce

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Here are a few ideas:

 

The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes - this looks awesome! I will read it myself, whether or not we use it.

Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel - I love Dava Sobel.  All her books, including this one, will be in the list of options

Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped Our History by Dorothy H. Crawford 

 

 

These are on my high school lists, so they may be more than you need. I have not read them either, so I can't say whether they have appropriate content or not. :)

 

These are more age-appropriate:

 

Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science by Susan Hughes - Cool! put it on hold

Dr. Jenner and the Speckled Monster: The Discovery of the Smallpox Vaccine by Albert Marrin

 

Oh...and maybe this one:

 

Magnificent Minds: 16 Pioneering Women in Science and Medicine by Pendred E. Noyce - this looks great, in my Amazon cart!

 

Thanks for these suggestions.  Shannon is totally freaked out by diseases - when we studied the Black Death she had nightmares. So I will skip those, I think, even though I find that stuff fascinating! But thanks for the other suggestions, they are great!

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Those look very interesting, thanks!

 

Yes, A View from the Oak is a favorite here. I'm looking forward to reading it to Morgan, and I'm sure Shannon will tag along for a re-listen, too.

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These Charlotte Mason living book science lists may prove useful. ~ http://charlottemason.tripod.com/hisci.html ~ Scroll down a bit and you'll see little tan tabs that take you to specific fields. It's aimed at high school, but plenty of it will be accessible to an 8th grader. There's a good mix of biographies, Sam Kean kind of books, and more.

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There are some bbc documentaries to watch -- especially "The Story of Science" and "Chemistry a volatile history". Also, check out "The Poisoners Handbook". It's a cool book, but the photographs and footage in the American Experience documentary is more engaging. It's about early forensic science.

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Listening in.

 

Any chance I could have access to your reading list for last year?

 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebeckah Skloot. My bookclub read this fantastic book. I understand there is a junior version out there.

 

I recently read and really enjoyed, HOW WE GOT TO NOW With Steven Johnson. Six innovations that Made the Modern World.  I just learned that PBS put out an 6 part series that complements the book. It discusses the impact of six ideas that have impacted history.  This was avaiable on audio with our library.  I enjoyed Steven Johnson's writing style. The science was very accessible.

 

 

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James Burke Connections - I haven't read it, but the documentary series that grew out of the book is delightfully done, and interweaves historical and scientific contexts. His doco series The Day the Universe Changed is also wonderful.

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Our young teen enjoyed reading Classic Feynman: All the Adventures of a Curious Character

which is a compilation of two of Richard Feynman's earlier books -- "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" and "What Do You Care What Other People Think?".  The edition I've linked above is wonderful because it includes a CD of Richard Feynman telling some great stories of his time at Los Alamos.

 

 

A non-book possibility to consider that my teen loved (and our whole family continues to enjoy) is the music of Tom Lehrer. I suggest An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer (This is not for the easily offended even though many of his numbers were first recorded in the fifties and sixties.) You may be most familiar with his songs The Elements (look on Youtube) or Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.  Be aware that only some of the songs are science related.

Regards,
Kareni

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Listening in.

 

Any chance I could have access to your reading list for last year?

 

 

Here is what Shannon read in 7th  as supplements to the Big History Project:

 

Texts – Science Supplements

The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins (12 chapters) – great! We listened to the audio version

McHenry:  The Elements – some good material, but a little light for 7th grade. We didn’t do the crafts/activities

Dr. Art’s Guide to Planet Earth (6 chapters) - great

Dr. Art’s Guide to Science - great

Evolution – Daniel Loxton - great

Bones, Brains & DNA – Ian Tattersal - great

The Third Chimpanzee for Young People – Jared Diamond - excellent

The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Young Reader’s edition – Michael Pollan – excellent, one of her favorite reads of the year

 

Texts – History Supplements

From Then Till Now – Christopher Moore - this was ok, but a little too brief.  A short 10-chapter survey of world history

A Compact History of Humankind: The History of the World in Big Eras – Meredith Ryley, ed. – meh. Not that well written, confusing, too much info crammed in

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Harari – excellent!

 

Video or Online Courses

Coursera:  Emergence of Life  - interesting, but over her head. Not recommended for a serious science credit at this level

Open2Study: Human Anthropology – excellent.  Easy to understand, 4 week class, just right

 

Documentaries, Videos, Etc.

HHMI Docos:

The Day the Mesozoic Died

                Evolution: Fossils, Genes, and Mousetraps

                Bones, Stones and Genes: The Origin of Modern Humans

                                Human Evolution and the Nature of Science

                                Genetics of Human Origins and Adaptation

Your Inner Fish

Journey of the Universe

How the Universe Works

Chasing the Elements

Stated Clearly videos – Evolution

Crash Course World History videos

Guns, Germs & Steel

The Botany of Desire

 

Introduction to Ecology

Ecology & Environment: The Cycles of Life – Sally Morgan

Eyes Wide Open – Going Behind the Environmental Headlines

Science 101: Ecology – Jennifer Freeman

Watersheds: A Handbook for Healthy Water

Crash Course Ecology

HHMI: A Biologist in Gorgonzola

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Bumping, for other ideas.  There must be other good sci-fi, but I'm not thinking of anything much at the moment.

 

Of Bradbury short stories, which are your favorites? There Will Come Soft Rains sticks out in my mind, but I'm not remembering other specific ones. I remember liking some of the Chronicles, but not others. I supposed I'll have to re-read the whole thing and decide what is appropriate.

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Thanks deerforest, I'll pre-read both of those. It's been years since I read The Handmaid's Tale so I definitely need to review it to decide if she's ready for it.

 

Yes, definitely pre-read both. My upcoming 6th grader wouldn't be ready for either in 8th, but kids are so different! 

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Have you looked at the booklist for Build Your Library's year 8? It has many of these, plus a few more.

 

Yes, that's actually part of what inspired us to choose this theme. I'm definitely including some of the books from that list.  We've covered about half of them already, which is why I'm looking for some more suggestions to flesh things out.

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The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Fiction dealing directly with genetic engineering and the ethics behind it.

 

I have to thank you for this recommendation. I'm listening to the audio now. I haven't finished it yet, but at this point I think it should be required reading for all teenagers *and* their parents - not just for the bioethics & genetic engineering aspects, but for the whole exploration of what it means to be human, what is the self, parenting, pedestals, perfectionism, and letting go.  It's just excellent.  I listened for two hours while I was driving yesterday, and I'm having a hard time not playing hookie from life to finish listening to it.  As it's my 9 year old's birthday party today, that's not an option . . . but tempting! 

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A Sound of Thunder and The Veldt are my kids' 2 favorites.

 

 

These are both excellent.  Does anyone else have any favorite Bradbury short stories that I can check out while I've got a couple of collections handy? I don't have time to read them all, but if there are any others that stand out I'd love to be pointed in that direction.

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I have to thank you for this recommendation. I'm listening to the audio now. I haven't finished it yet, but at this point I think it should be required reading for all teenagers *and* their parents - not just for the bioethics & genetic engineering aspects, but for the whole exploration of what it means to be human, what is the self, parenting, pedestals, perfectionism, and letting go.  It's just excellent.  I listened for two hours while I was driving yesterday, and I'm having a hard time not playing hookie from life to finish listening to it.  As it's my 9 year old's birthday party today, that's not an option . . . but tempting! 

 

I found it when I was searching for sci-fi that explored the ethics of genetic engineering. We are using Science Matters as a spine next year and I thought we would approach that chapter a bit differently. I thought my dd would find it more interesting to look at the ethics than the science. I had three checked out to preview and as soon as I read this one I knew it was a keeper. I'm so glad you liked it!

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I found it when I was searching for sci-fi that explored the ethics of genetic engineering. We are using Science Matters as a spine next year and I thought we would approach that chapter a bit differently. I thought my dd would find it more interesting to look at the ethics than the science. I had three checked out to preview and as soon as I read this one I knew it was a keeper. I'm so glad you liked it!

 

Yeah, it's great. I'd love to see your plans when you get them together!!!

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Yeah, it's great. I'd love to see your plans when you get them together!!!

 

Here's what I have so far - I hope the formatting works once I post.  Week 22 and on still needs to be finished. Maybe some documentaries or more reading... I'm kinda stuck right now...

 

Week 1-2

*Isaac Newton by Krull

Eureka physics videos (http://animatedscience.co.uk/eureka-physics-videos) 1 - 13

 

Week 3-4

Science Matters p.3-20

Eureka 14-24

Who Was Einstein?

 

Week 5-6

SM p.26-55, outline or summarize each section

Eureka 25.-28

Magnetism and Electricity

 

Week 7

*Light by Stille (and/or Hamilton)

Eureka 29-30

SM p. 55-66, outline or summarize each section

 

Week 8-12

The Elements Ch. 1-7

SM p.67-79 (skipping Bohr atom), outline or summarize each section

SM p.94-121

 

XMAS BREAK - 3 weeks

The Elements Ch. 8, and final test

SM p.121-136

SM Ch. 8-9 optional

 

Week 13-15

Science Encyclopedia for background info

Cosmos documentary

SM p.165-232

 

Week 16

*Rocks by Walker; Cosmos Episode 7

*Nature and Science of Rocks by Burton, Cosmos Episode 8

SM p.233-239, outline or summarize each section

 

Week 17-18

Science Encyclopedia

SM p.239-272

finish Cosmos Episodes 9 -13

 

Week 19-21

**Genetics: Breaking the Code… by Mooney Intro

SM p.272-291, outline or summarize each section

 

Week 22

SM Ch. 17 covers genetic engineering, cloning, stem cell research. I would like to find a good fiction book to explore one of these topics for the next two-three weeks. lol. I still need to update my plans to include Jenna Fox

 

Week 25-29

*Billions of Years, Amazing Changes

SM p.304-325, outline or summarize each section

*not complete*

 

Week 30

SM p.326-345

 

ETA: Trimmed this up to make for easier reading

 

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3) Good Sci Fi - classic or modern.  Again, I'd like books that either look at the future implications of current technologies (genetic engineering? AI?) or, if older books, with existing technologies or the cultural changes they cause.  I'd like books that are meaty enough to really dig into and discuss.  I'm not specifically focusing on dystopias, but dystopias as a result of the current trajectory (or the perceived trajectory during the cold war, for example) are fine, as long as they aren't too brutal/bloody/dark.  Dd's reading maturity has taken a big jump this year, she is ready for more grown-up books, but I don't want to load up on super brutal or depressing things. 

 

 

- The Invisible Man (Wells) -- invisibility first leads to feeling invincible, then to insanity

- Island of Dr. Moreau (Wells) -- ethics of blending humans and animals

- I, Robot (Asimov) -- 3 laws of robotics introduced

- Caves of Steel (Asimov) -- robot and human detective team in futuristic New York City

- Wind in the Door (L'Engle) -- sequel to Wrinkle in Time; Meg goes into a cell of her brother to save him/restore balance to the universe

- Flowers for Algernon -- the original short story NOT revised longer version (which has adult relationship/scenes)

- House of Stairs (Sleator) -- behavior modification on humans

- Uglies (Weserfeld) -- ethics of cosmetic surgery

- The Martian (Weir) -- straight up survival-on-Mars story loaded with science how-to (math, chemistry, botany, rocket science)… the only negative: a LOT of very unnecessary 4-letter words scattered freely throughout the book, and a few times characters mention "getting l*id" (but don't go into details)

 

Not read these yet, but they look interesting -- PREVIEW first:

- Feed (Anderson) -- computer implants in the brain in a future society 

- The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Pearson)

- R.U.R. (Capek) -- 1920s Czechoslovakian play, one of the founding robot stories in sci-fi -- factory makes artificial people out of organic material who rebel and cause the extinction of humans
- War With the Robots (Harrison) -- more robot short stories from the 1960s

 

 

ETA:

A personal favorite here is the post-apocaclyptic A Canticle for Leibowitz (Miller), which shows the cycle of destruction, the Catholic church keeping alive the flickering light of literacy and knowledge, and the rebuilding and advance of technology, back to the point of self-destruction again. A number of Latin words/phrases and Church traditions, which make it a bit of a tougher read, so may be better suited for high school. (Paul Briens' free online study guide is very helpful.) Anathem (Stephenson) makes a great go-along with Canticle, with a very similar 3-part structure, but this time it is the mathematicians and scientists who are the cloistered monks who keep alive the knowledge and technology. Very fun! :)

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For John Muir, I really like Supreme Court Justice William O Douglas' children's biography "Muir of the Mountains", http://www.amazon.com/Muir-Mountains-William-O-Douglas/dp/0395072301. It is mostly quotes from "My First Summer in the Sierra" and other Muir books, strung together with enough other text to make a compelling linear narrative. Make sure you find the older version, the modern version illustrated by Dan San Souci, http://www.amazon.com/Muir-Mountains-William-O-Douglas/dp/0871565056, is gorgeous but less than half the length of the original.

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Bill Bryon's "A Short History of Everything" is a great book for an advanced 8th grader to cover a lot of history of science.

 

Neil Stephenson's "Anathem" would be a very heavy lifted for most 8th graders, but could be very worthwhile for a mature, philosophical kid. It is completely clean, unlike anything else he has ever written. Lots of philosophy, cog sci, and history of science mixed in with pure space opera... weird book but really delightful for the right reader... Probably no more difficult than "The Martian" which I also enjoyed.

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Two science biographies I really enjoyed are:

 

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

 

Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks - he also has another autobiography but this is just about his childhood. 

 

 

We are reading Fabre's book of Insects right now which I would describe as essays, and it is really worthwhile.

 

 

For science fiction I would make a few suggestions:

 

A lot of Arthur C. Clarke's books deal with questions around science and its place.  The Space Odyssey series are classic of course, but his Rama books would also fit the bill I think.  But almost all of his books would be good bets.

 

The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson raises all kinds of interesting questions about science and technology, how it shapes and is shaped by culture, and its appropriate use.  There is some sex, I think the last book in the series is by far the most explicit and that one might be something to wait for a bit. 

 

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller - this is explicitly about technology and its potentials.  It's also one of the earliest "literary" science fiction novels.

 

For Literature:

 

Frankenstein or Dr Jekyll might be possibilities.

 

Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott might be an interesting addition if it isn't too difficult.

 

Copenhagen by Frayn is a play - again you would have to look and see if it is at her level, though if you could find it on Youtube that might be more accessible (Actually, I just looked, there seems to be a radio version with Benedict Cumberbach.)

 

 

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Just a little update - thanks for all the great suggestions! I'm working on refining and pre-reading the list now.  Cutting it down to something manageable from all the great suggestions is always a challenge. Here's where I'm at at the moment, but I'm still waiting for some of the suggested books to come from the library so I can preview, so this list may change:

 

Correlated Fiction – Read and write a book review

1.       Itch – Simon Mayo (book review)- chemistry

a.       Itch Rocks

2.       A Sound of Thunder – Ray Bradbury (after Chaos)

3.       Remarkable Creatures – Tracey Chevalier (Mary Anning) (IR) – fossils/geology

4.       The True Adventures of Charley Darwin – Carolyn Meyer (book review) - Evolution

5.       My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell (book review) – Natural History

6.       Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton (book review)

 

Literature- read, discuss, composition

7.       The Golden Compass – Phillip Pullman

8.       The Subtle Knife– Phillip Pullman

9.       The Amber Spyglass– Phillip Pullman

10.   Paradise Lost - Milton

11.   Frankenstein – Mary Shelley (1818) (Lit Study)

a.       The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein – Peter Ackroyd

12.   The Island of Dr. Moreau – H. G. Wells (1896) (Lit Study)

13.   The House of Stairs – William Sleator

14.   The Adoration of Jenna Fox (2009) (after The Science of Self)

 

History/Science Spines & Correlated Nonfiction:

1.       String, Straight-edge & Shadow: The Story of Geometry – Julia Diggins (done)

2.       The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, The Royal Society & the Birth of the Modern World – Edward Dolnick

3.       Story of Science: Einstein

a.       Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon – Steve Sheinkin

4.       Mchenry’s Carbon Chemistry (11 chapters/5 weeks)

a.       Uncle Tungsten: Memoirs of a Chemical Boyhood – Oliver Sachs

b.      The Disappearing Spoon – Sam Kean

c.       Napoleon’s Buttons – Penny LeCouteur (we probably need to choose just one of these, but we can't based on a thumb-through, I'll have to read them all to decide)

5.       McHenry’s The Cell (9 chapters/5 weeks)

a.       The Violinist’s Thumb – Sam Kean

6.       Exploring the Way Life Works (8 chapters/10 weeks)

a.       The Double Helix – James Watson

b.      The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

7.       McHenry’s The Brain (4 weeks)

a.       The Dueling Neurosurgeons – Sam Kean

b.      The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat – Oliver Sachs

 

 

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Thanks for posting your tentative plan, Rose! I love that you do that -- when I throw in ideas on a thread like this, I always love seeing what the OP finally decides to go with, because it's always more interesting and creative than something I would have come up with. :)

 

Just throwing in a quick comment about The Disappearing Spoon -- I got it based on so many recommendations here, but I am really struggling with it. I've only gotten through the first chapter, but it is all technically-focused and actually pretty poorly written (from a Composition point of view). A friend of mine suggested that I keep going, as he says it does get more interesting once you get into the chapters on the specific elements, as those are the chapters with the anecdotes and interesting properties. I'll try and get back to it and slug it out this summer, and hopefully be able to give you an update.

 

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is an interesting set of anecdotes and then observations about how the brain works based on the specific examples where the brain wasn't working properly. Don't feel you have to finish the book -- you could easily read just a few chapters and get the idea, if the book ends up not clicking for your DD. :)

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Thanks for posting your tentative plan, Rose! I love that you do that -- when I throw in ideas on a thread like this, I always love seeing what the OP finally decides to go with, because it's always more interesting and creative than something I would have come up with. :)

 

Just throwing in a quick comment about The Disappearing Spoon -- I got it based on so many recommendations here, but I am really struggling with it. I've only gotten through the first chapter, but it is all technically-focused and actually pretty poorly written (from a Composition point of view). A friend of mine suggested that I keep going, as he says it does get more interesting once you get into the chapters on the specific elements, as those are the chapters with the anecdotes and interesting properties. I'll try and get back to it and slug it out this summer, and hopefully be able to give you an update.

 

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is an interesting set of anecdotes and then observations about how the brain works based on the specific examples where the brain wasn't working properly. Don't feel you have to finish the book -- you could easily read just a few chapters and get the idea, if the book ends up not clicking for your DD. :)

 

I like it when people post their decisions, too!  I always get a lot from other people's lists.

 

Thanks for the word on The Disappearing Spoon - if it ends up being less readable/more technical than the other options, I will happily drop it. I actually haven't read any of the three Sam Kean books yet, but I hear them talked up a lot. I will definitely be pre-reading them before assigning them.  

 

It's funny that, despite studying neuropsychology, I haven't read the Sacks book either.  Thanks for the suggestion of how to approach it, potentially.

 

I will pre-read or listen to the audio book for everything on this list, so I do reserve the right to drop things that don't grab me! And Shannon isn't required to read something that she really doesn't like, once she's tried it.  We can always substitute something else. Readable and engaging are important criteria, for sure. 

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Without reading all of the responses, I'll suggest a few:

 

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (history of science-we used as RA)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (of local interest-and the science is fascinating, plus some ethics thrown in)

A Brief History of Time or A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Relativity Simply Explained by martin Gardner

 

More later as I think of them

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