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Posted March 25, 2010
How do you introduce young children to some of the most basic laws of physics without overwhelming them? Author Lynne Mayer has found the perfect way - by incorporating force and motion principles into a sweet story of a boy and his dog.
Newton and Me opens with Newton the dog dropping his play ball on his young master's head. Wake up, it's time to play! Newton and the boy rush outside to do all sorts of things. They play with the ball, push a toy truck, then the boy rides his bike and helps his mom move some rocks with his wagon. With each activity, a rule of force and motion is presented:
"Then Newton and I decided to go for a ride.
I hopped on my bike with my dog by my side.
The wind was blowing quite hard that day.
The wind at my back pushed me on my way.
But when I turned around to go home at last,
The wind pushed against my chest and I couldn't go as fast."
Physics is such a big part of everyday life, and Newton and Me does an excellent job of introducing force and motion to pique young readers' interest. The illustrations are bright and cheerful, particularly those of the very happy Newton. For parents, there are little physics related nuggets throughout, such as the dad reading the "Mechanics and Gravity" newspaper.
At the back of the book are several pages "For Creative Minds." Two pages of simple experiments (such as "can you throw anything in the air without it coming back down?), an overview of Newton and matching forces pictures.
Quill says: Newton and Me gently presents the most basic of physics concepts to young readers in a fun and playful way.
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Posted April 15, 2010
Can you guess why a young boy's dog might be named Newton? Newton's owner learns that a ball won't roll very far in the rough, grassy yard but will roll much farther in a smooth, hard surface. But it won't roll at all if you don't give it a push. He also experiments with throwing a ball up in the air, letting his toy truck roll downhill, trying to push his dad's car, trying to pull his wagon when it is full of rocks, riding his bicycle in a strong wind, and playing tug of war with Newton. What kinds of things did he learn along the way?
Sir Isaac Newton was a famous scientist and mathematician who discovered the law of gravity and the laws of motion. Physicists may study Newton's laws of motion theoretically in college classes, but author Lynn Mayer's rhyming text and illustrator Sherry Rogers's eye-catching drawings demonstrate in terms that are age appropriate how these laws influence experiences that we have every day and affect objects all around us. The "For Creative Minds" educational section at the end has two pages explaining "Force and Motion" followed by a matching activity, along with further information about Isaac Newton and his laws of motion. Sylvan Dell's website contains even more teaching activities and interactive quizzes. Who would imagine that physics could be so much fun?