Curiosity, dead chooks, science and the S.T.E.M. push

Curiosity, questioning and science are recurring themes on my blog. How could a post entitled “Curiosity, dead chooks, science and the  S.T.E.M. push” not appeal to me? While I don’t think I’ve written about dead chooks, yet, when I was six I was the best chicken catcher in the family and I definitely saw a few chooks running around with their heads chopped off!
In this post Sheryl Gwyther talks about the awakening of her scientific questioning at age four when seeing a similar a spectacle. The transcript of a talk delivered to other authors “Children are born scientists … It’s called curiosity” (my words exactly!) is included in the post. Sheryl urges authors to include science in their writing for children and suggests three rules for doing so:
Never be didactic
Create characters that children can connect with
While she doesn’t say it in so many words, I think the message of keeping the science accurate is implied. (I have questioned the inaccuracy in The Very Hungry Caterpillar in previous posts.)
Sheryl’s closing paragraphs motivate and inspire writers. She says,
“We have the opportunity, the passion and hopefully, the commitment to reach out to young Australian children through stories about the wonder of science, and the responsibility for their future custody of this planet.
Great stories, cleverly laced with scientific understanding not didactic waffle.
Great stories to make them feel and think, and question.
Great stories – for the sake of their future on this planet.”

Some of the authors from my celebration of Australian picture book series are doing just that:
Kim Michelle Toft
Narelle Oliver
Jeannie Baker
Please read Sheryl’s post in its entirety. She offers much good advice and inspiration. You can find out more about Sheryl by following these links:
Sheryl Gwyther SCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor Queensland Public Profile
Author webpage
Author blog

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

14 thoughts on “Curiosity, dead chooks, science and the S.T.E.M. push

  1. Charli Mills

    Oh, I love this quote: “Children are born scientists … It’s called curiosity”! I’m still a child by that standard. 🙂 That’s why I like your posts — you present a topic, get me curious and then walk me through discoveries, including the ones that pop up in my mind as I read. I’m headed out to get more firewood so I will return to read Sheryl Gywther’s post in full. already, I’m like that while she is for science, she also is for arts and history. Ah! It’s why I love historical fiction — I can delve into research, apply critical thinking and imagination both to come up with a plausible story.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Charli. It’s a great quote. We are both children of curiosity, exploration and discovery! I’m pleased you enjoy my posts and that they get you thinking, as yours always do for me. Maybe S.M.A.G. should be S.M.A.G.T. Society of Mutual Appreciation, Gratitude and Thinking. 🙂 I see you have already posted about your firewood collection. I’ll be over shortly to read. Applying critical thinking and imagination to research is a great way of coming up with a plausible story. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Charli Mills

        S.M.A.G.T. would be a great extension! Yes, it is good to get mutual thinking going on! I also came back to finish reading Sheryl Gwyther’s post. Much of what she says can be true of adult fiction, too. Often, I think it takes an engaging literary story to get people more interested in finding out more about the environment, or thinking of the impact of our choices on other parts of the world, or considering what insights history might give us on our culture today.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Norah Post author

          Thanks for popping back to read and comment, Charli. I think there is a great place for fiction in any education. Reading something interesting in fiction can spark an interest in other areas. You have mentioned a few important ones there in your comment. Thank you.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Norah Post author

            Definitely ‘C” for curiosity. What about “Q” for questioning, or even “I” for inquiry or inquisitiveness. Oh dear, this acronym could become quite cumbersome! But it’s nice to think about. Thanks for adding curiosity! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Sherri

              Count me in too Norah…can’t add anymore to what both Charli and Geoff have already said, other than yes, yes and more yes!!! I too love that quote about children being natural scientists, so important to harness that and let their curiosity blossom. It’s wonderful that you bring such enthusiasm and joy of your love of learning and discovering and exploring into your posts… it’s catching! SMAGTC rules, yay 😀

              Liked by 2 people

  2. sherylgwyther

    Thanks for your comment, Norah! And yes, I love those great examples of illustrators and authors who bring science into literature. And it saddens me to see so many kids don’t even get the chance to explore their environment anymore without parents hovering. I really appreciate my parents forgetting about me in the day times … I ran wild, literally! So many adventures.

    Liked by 1 person


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