Extract Your Own DNA

Extract Your Own DNA

In the movie Jurassic Park, biologists extract dinosaur DNA from mosquito-like bugs that were preserved for millions of years in amber. Today's scientists have not yet turned this fiction into fact, but you can easily see your own DNA in your own home.
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Magnetic Field Viewer

Magnetic Field Viewer

From Electricity

You can see magnetic fields in action with this easy-to-make viewer.

Build a Craft Stick Catapult

Build a Craft Stick Catapult

From Engines!

Ancient armies used catapults in battle. But the catapult has been used as recently as World War I. In that war, soldiers used catapults to toss hand grenades at the enemy. Today, catapults are used to launch planes off the decks of huge ships called aircraft carriers. Because the runway is short on an aircraft carrier, the catapult helps get the plane into the air quickly. Try making your own!

The STEM in Your Closet

The STEM in Your Closet

From The Science of Fashion

Have you ever really thought about what kind of science, engineering, and technology actually go into making your clothes? Now is your chance! The zipper on your jacket was at one time an engineering miracle. The shirt that has built-in protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays is a scientific innovation that helps to keep you healthy. There is a world of science and engineering in your closet. Just open the door.

Get to Know the  Constellations

Get to Know the Constellations

From The Stars

There are dozens of constellations in the night sky. Some of them are very recognizable once you learn what they look like.



Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children's Literature
Rating: Recommended  - -Superior in style, liveliness, integrity and format.
"Good addition to STEAM collections in middle and high school. Designed to allow readers to discover the science behind classic and modern SF stories, many of which have inspired today’s inventors (think flip phones, small, hand-held tablets and Star Trek). QR codes provide links to primary sources and a chance to dig deeper into the subjects presented. Questions and STEAM activities help foster critical thinking skills. Topics included are de-extinction (even if we can bring back dinosaurs is it a good idea?); robots, androids and artificial intelligence; living on Mars; aliens and alien worlds—deep space exploration; faster-than-light travel; and time travel (think Doctor Emmet Brown’s time travelling DeLorean). Timeline of ideas and their related inventions, glossary, metric conversions, resources and index. Get this pre-bound."

School Library Connection
"By exploring the intersection between the arts and sciences, this book provides an engaging discussion of how works of science fiction can influence actual scientific innovation and vice versa. This title is best for middle and high school libraries looking to expand their STEAM collection or with a substantial sci-fi fan base in their community. The suggested activities included in this title provide many opportunities for collaboration, high-level thinking, discussion, and debate. Recommended"

Archimedes Notebook 
". . . What I really like are the hands-on investigations. You can extract your own DNA, calculate the likelihood of intelligent life in the universe, and play around with centripetal force. My favorite, though, is measuring the speed of light using a microwave, a bar of chocolate, a ruler, and a calculator. Who can resist an experiment that involves chocolate?" Read the complete review online.

Publishers Weekly
In this intriguing addition to the Inquire and Investigate series, Wood explores the science behind cloning, time travel, and other science fiction staples . . . Comics, sidebars, and experiments offer a variety of approaches to the topics (such as using a microwave and chocolate bar to calculate the speed of light), and QR codes provide links to supplemental online resources. It's an engrossing look at how science and fiction converge and diverge." Read the complete review online.

"This latest addition to the award-winning Inquire and Investigate series will be a welcome acquisition for librarians wanting to spice up their STEAM collections. Accessible text, multiple subheadings, guiding questions, and follow-up activities, plus a bevy of graphics (sidebars, cartoons, fact blurbs, bulleted lists, charts, graphs, vocabulary lab exercises, scannable QR codes, primary resources), tackle six familiar science fiction themes: cloning, robots, colonizing Mars, interstellar travel, time travel, and aliens. Fictional characters, settings, and gadgets mesh with science fact and theory, making the technical going easier (and a lot more entertaining)... an excellent way to capture students' imaginations, whether they're of the science and technology or literature and video-arts persuasion."

School Library Journal
"Blockbuster hits like Star Wars and Jurassic Park have plots, settings, and technology that could exist only in the far distant future. But as science advances and new discoveries are made, fantastical sci-fi technologies might be closer to reality than one may think. This title compares fictional stories with real-life scientific breakthroughs, including artificial intelligence, cloning, space travel, and beyond. Older examples such as H.G. Wells's The Time Machine and more contemporary movie releases like 2015's The Martian are cited. After presenting a work of sci-fi and its fictional aspects, the author uses information and theories about the subject to explain how possible or impossible it is presently and in the future (for instance, the chances of humans traveling to Mars or cloning a woolly mammoth). Accompanying the main text on each page are additional facts, photos, and short comics infused with a bit of corny humor . . . VERDICT Jam-packed with high-interest material, this selection will be useful for science classes or literature units that cover the books mentioned within."

Learning Magazine
"Alien civilizations. Artificial intelligence. Time Travel. This book explores the actual science behind popular science fiction ideas such as these. The book includes STEAM activities to foster critical thinking skills."


Detailed Book Description

Alien civilizations, artificial intelligence, time travel–is there any truth in these exciting ideas? In The Science of Science Fiction, readers ages 12–15 explore the science behind classic and modern science fiction stories, many of which inspired today's inventors and innovators.

  • Encourages intellectual exploration of appealing science fiction franchises such as Star Wars and Jurassic World.
  • Draws readers along critical thinking pathways as they connect science fiction to fact.
  • Provides a number of exercises in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) that can either be done in a classroom or at home with a parent.
Available In:
Hardcover, $22.95
Paperback, $17.95
Includes: Table of Contents | Timeline | Glossary | Resources | Index | Metric Conversions Chart
Specs: 8 x 10 size | 4-color interior | 128 pages
Subject: Language Arts | Science



The Science Behind Science Fiction

Chapter 1
Cloning Ancient Creatures

Chapter 2
Robots, Androids, and Artificial Intelligence

Chapter 3
Living on Mars

Chapter 4

Chapter 5
Faster-Than-Light Travel

Chapter 6
Time Travel

Metric Conversions