Every day you answer questions-dozens, even hundreds of them. How do you find the answers to questions? How can you be sure your answers are correct?
Scientists use questions to learn about things. Scientists have developed a way of helping make sure they answer questions correctly. It is called the scientific method. The scientific method can help you find answers to many of the questions you are curious about.
What kind of food does your dog like best? Is your sister more likely to help you with your homework if you say please? Can throwing a dead snake over a tree branch make it rain? The scientific method can help you answer these questions and many others.Stephen Kramer's invitation to think like a scientist, illustrated by Felicia Bond's humorous and appealing pictures, will receive enthusiastic response from young readers, scientist and nonscientist alike.
About the Author
Stephen P. Kramer has had a lifelong interest in natural history. After receiving degrees in biology from Pacific Lutheran University and Northern Arizona University, he taught junior high school science for four years on the Navajo Reservation. He spends his time now as a househusband and writer. His first book for children was Getting Oxygen: What do you do if you're cell twenty-two? Mr. Kramer lives with his wife and two sons in Vancouver, Washington.
Felicia Bond is both writer and illustrator of Tumble Bumble, The Day It Rained Hearts, the Poinsettia books, and many others. She painted the art for numerous other award-winning books, including those in the much loved If You Give . . . series and the contemporary classic Big Red Barn. She lived for many years in New York and currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Read an Excerpt
" Whump, whump" went the tires of Pete's bike. The sounds were so close together they seemed like one noise.
"Hey!" screamed Pete. He pointed to the side of the road. "Lookout! Get over!"
Jim could barely see the outline of Pete's arm in the darkness, but he swerved to the left. He coasted along the shoulder of the road until he caught up with Pete. Pete had stopped and was looking back.
" What's wrong?" asked Jim.
Pete shook his head. "A snake! A huge snake ... I rode over it! On the side of the road! I didn't see it until too late ... I couldn't even turn. "
"Probably just an old inner tube," said Jim. "Come on, let's go
" Was not," replied Pete, shaking his head again. "Want to go back and see?"
Jim hesitated for a moment. "All right," he answered. "I'm not scared."
Pete unhooked the flashlight from the frame of his bike. The boys laid their bicycles in the weeds beside the road and slowly walked back. The flashlight made a faint yellow spot on the pavement.
Pete shined the flashlight far ahead. "Up there," he said. "That's where I rode over it."
Jim looked around. "I don't see anything."
Pete shone the flashlight at the edge of the road. For a moment everything was still. Then, suddenly, the back half of a very large gopher snake disappeared into the roadside weeds.
Jim took a slow step backward. "You rode over that?"
Pete nodded. "I told you it wasn't an inner tube. " He shone the flashlight directly on the spot where the snake had disappeared. "Think it's hurt?"
Jim shrugged. "It seems to be crawling all right."
"Maybe we should come back and lookaround tomorrow."
"OK," Jim agreed. "Let's wait until there's a little more light."
The boys turned and walked back to their bicycles. Pete kept the beam of light on the road.
"You know," said Jim, "my grandpa would call that a rain snake. "
"What?" asked Pete.
"A rain snake. He'd say you could make it rain for sure with a snake like that."
"Well," said Jim, "my grandpa grew up way back in the hills. When he was a boy, the farmers would sometimes use a dead snake to make it rain. They'd find a large tree with a strong low branch and throw the snake over the branch. A big snake like that would bring rain for sure."
Pete leaned over and picked up his bike. "You believe that?"
"Naw," answered Jim quickly. Then he scratched his head and looked back down the road. "But, well, I never tried it. I don't know. My grandpa says they did it a lot. Maybe it'd work for some people, sometimes...."
What do you think? Can throwing a dead snake over a tree branch bring rain?
Every day you answer questions-dozens or even hundreds of them. What should I wear today? What assignments do I need for school? Can I cat an extra piece of toast and still get to the bus on time? What should I do tonight?
Some questions you answer correctly. Others you don't. Some questions are important. You spend lots of time thinking about them. Other questions aren't important. You guess at the answer or just choose an answer automatically.
This book is about questions. It will show you how you usually answer questions, and why you sometimes get wrong answers. It wi I I also show you how to use the scientific method. The scientific method can help you answer questions correctly.
In some ways this is like a book of riddles. You will be reading stories and parts of stories. Each story has a question. Some of the stories will show you how easy it is to answer questions incorrectly. Other stories show you how to find the correct answers to questions. Finally, there are a few questions that are left unanswered. If you're curious about any of them, you'll have to find the answers yourself.
Let's begin by telling some stories that show how you answer questions every day.How to Think Like a Scientist. Copyright © by Stephen Kramer. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.