Why I picked it up
I am always looking for strong, engaging biographies to be used with students. I have noticed that my children have been interested in Einstein lately, perhaps because they have been learning about his inventions in science and hearing about his intriguing life has caught their attention. However, the one thing I noticed was that they didn’t really understand a lot about Albert Einstein, the man, they just knew random facts. This began my search for a way to explain the complex thinking of Einstein to kids without boring them. This book hits that mark!
Why I finished it
As soon as I picked it up, my seven-year-old and my ten -year-old closed in and began nosing through the book along with me. I began reading the story to them and they were involved right away! They smiled, questioned, and connected with the story as it explained, in a simplistic way, Einstein’s complex ideas and discoveries. Through the eyes of a child, the book emphasized the importance of questioning and critically thinking about things that happen in everyday life. My children automatically got the main message of the book and now have a new appreciation for Einstein.
Who I would give it to
The obvious connection for this book is elementary teachers studying Einstein. However, this book also lends itself to elementary teachers who are teaching biographies, asking questions, inquiry, and scientific discoveries. I would also recommend this book to kids who show any interest in science, as it encourages the mindset of a scientist.
One of the top six most powerful reading comprehension strategies is to ask questions. Teachers are always looking for mentor texts and ideas to help students understand the power of asking yourself questions. The author, Berne, illustrates the importance of asking questions and constantly thinking about everything you hear and see. Teachers should use this story as a springboard for students to begin discussing WHY asking questions is so important. As students read the story and begin asking their own questions about Einstein’s life and his inventions, the teacher should make an anchor chart about why asking questions is important. From this point, teachers can move into an inquiry lesson or continue teaching and modeling asking questions as a comprehension strategy.
Teachers who have access to technology could set up a wall on Padlet. This site, formally Wallwisher, allows the owner to set up a “wall” with a title and description. While the owner does have to create an account, students can add posts on the wall without an account. Teachers could have students pose questions about books they are reading as a class, science experiments they are conducting, or even research projects they are working on.