When G1 was little, it was all I could do to get him to read fiction because he was only interested in non-fiction books. Now that I’ve so successfully converted him to fiction, encouraging him to read the occasional non-fiction book is like making rocks bleed. Thankfully, a number of authors have found ways to combine fiction and non-fiction into fun reads, like the Horrible Histories, George’s Secret Key to the Universe, One Minute Mysteries, and Life of Fred. In our search for more stories that teach, we uncovered the following titles.
The Super-Secret Science Club
Follow Jenna and her classmates as they unravel mysteries and tackle critical missions, all while trying to survive middle school!
- Case of the Disappearing Glass – I’ll never forget my science teacher’s words the day he recruited us as spies: “I’m a member of a secret organization called the Rosalind Group, whose original mission was to find and prevent cases of stolen scientific research. But one day, everything changed, and I didn’t understand why. Eventually, I figured it out…we weren’t the good guys anymore… …the Rosalind Group is no longer protecting scientists from having their research stolen. We’re now the ones who are stealing it.” Apparently research wasn’t all they were stealing; they were stealing the scientists themselves! I suppose “kidnapping” is the proper word. And that’s where we came in. Six science-savvy seventh graders. One missing scientist. And the need for some serious out-smarting.
- The Secrets of Rosalind – What’s worse than being in seventh grade, and trying to solve a kidnapping? Being in seventh grade, and trying to solve TWO kidnappings. Especially when one of those is your own teacher. The very same one who got you into this spy business in the first place. Lucky for me and the other five members of the Super-Secret Science Club (we call it the S3C for short), help arrived right when we needed it: the day we realized Mr. Gregory wasn’t just on vacation. Her name is Claire, and what she told us that day is what set everything in motion for the biggest stunt we’d ever pulled in our twelve years on this planet.
The Math Inspectors
Join Stanley and his friends in this smart and funny first mystery in The Math Inspectors series, perfect for math lovers, math haters, and all kids ages 9-12.
When the Claymore Diamond is stolen from Ravensburg’s finest jewelry store, Stanley Carusoe gets the bright idea that he and his friends should start a detective agency. Armed with curiosity and their love for math, Stanley, Charlotte, Gertie and Felix race around town in an attempt to solve the mystery. Along the way, they’ll butt heads with an ambitious police chief, uncover dark secrets, and drink lots of milkshakes at Mabel’s Diner. But when their backs are against the wall, Stanley and his friends rely on the one thing they know best: numbers. Because numbers, they never lie.
Sixth-graders Stanley, Charlotte, Gertie and Felix did more than just start a detective agency. Using their math skills and their gut instincts, they actually solved a crime the police couldn’t crack. Now the Math Inspectors are called in to uncover the identity of a serial criminal named Mr. Jekyll, whose bizarre (and hilarious) pranks cross the line into vandalism. But the deeper the friends delve into the crimes, the more they realize why they were asked to help…and it wasn’t because of their detective skills.
It’s Christmas Eve in Ravensburg, and the town is bursting with anticipation for its oldest Christmas tradition. The annual opening of Douglas and Son’s Toy Store, home of the greatest toys in the world, is finally here. But this is no ordinary Christmas Eve, and the surprise that awaits them is beyond any of their wildest imaginations: a surprise that threatens to ruin Christmas! Stanley, Charlotte, Gertie and Felix call in a little backup, but will the team’s detective skills and math smarts be enough to unravel the mystery?
Summer vacation has finally arrived, and the Math Inspectors deserve a break. After all, their sixth-grade year was a busy one. On top of all the normal school stuff, Stanley, Charlotte, Gertie, Felix, and Herman made quite a name for themselves as amateur detectives. But when a relaxing day of roller coasters, riddle booths, and waffle eating contests turns into a desperate scramble to save a beloved landmark, the friends quickly discover that this case may be asking more than they are willing to give. In fact, there may only be one way out—to quit. Will this be the end of the Math Inspectors?
What causes condensation? Does temperature affect how well a balloon will fly? How do tiny bugs get into oatmeal? Through 15 mystery stories, this book memorably illustrates science concepts for students and reinforces the value of learning science through inquiry. Each mystery presents opportunities for students to create questions, form hypotheses, test their ideas, and come up with explanations. Focused on concepts such as periodic motion, thermodynamics, temperature and energy, and sound and sound transmission, these mysteries draw students into the stories by grounding them in experiences students are familiar with, providing them with a foundation for classroom discussion and inquiry.
More Science Mysteries by Science, Naturally!
Published by the Science, Naturally! company, these stories come packed with facts and ideas from multiple subject areas that are seamlessly woven together to create a great story! Each book provides a myriad of learning opportunities but readers will be so enthralled in the story that they won’t realize they are learning.
There’s a lot more going on in this town than meets the eye. This blended fiction mystery is served with a side order of the supernatural … or is it science?
All of this changes when his interest in robotics lands him an invitation to join four of his classmates in a secret group called The League of Scientists. John and his new friends Malene, Dev, Natsumi and Kimmey, pool their knowledge of biology, technology, logic, and chemistry to unravel mysteries that haunt the quiet town of East Rapids. The League is in a race against time to uncover the secret of the ghost who is terrorizing the middle school swimming pool.
Join the League as they run out the clock in Ghost in the Water, the first adventure in this new and exciting The League of Scientists science mystery series!
The passing of great Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci—artist, anatomist, engineer, inventor—marked the end of an era. The world hasn’t seen a visionary like him since.
… Until now. On a school trip to Florence, three American middle school students think they are in for a treat when a man who claims to be Leonardo da Vinci, brought back to life with a mission to better humankind, crashes their tour. Too bad he isn’t really the celebrated Master of the Renaissance … or is he? Tag along as Max, Tad, and Gina assist Leonardo on his quest while discovering the secrets of his life and teaching the Maestro about science, math, history, art, and more! Will the students be able to help Leonardo evade the mayor of Florence’s selfish grasp so he can complete his quest before his time is up… again?
Leonardo da Vinci Gets A Do-Over is the first adventure in this new and exciting Innovators in Action blended fiction series.
Ghost in the Water and Leonardo da Vinci Gets a Do-Over are both accompanied by a free Teacher’s Guide that is filled with hundreds of suggestions, activities and connecting points to help guide the learning during the reading of the book. The activities include everything from discussion topics, writing prompts, areas to research, hands-on activities and more.
Review from Amy, Home-Schooling Mom:
It has been very easy in incorporate a book into our daily reading. Prior to reading a chapter with my son, I review the Teacher’s Guide and determine which of the listed activities I want to do. I generally make this decision based on what I know my son will enjoy or an area that I want him to dig deeper in. Then we read a chapter together.
As we get to a topic in the reading, I pose a discussion question that naturally fits in. I often model the thinking that I want my son to do, so you might hear me questioning why something is happening or making “I wonder . . .” statements. At the end of the chapter we use the discussion or these questions to do further research and learn more about the “cool” things we learned in the chapter, including adding in some hands-on activities from the Teacher’s Guide that fit. When we are ready, we move on to the next chapter. Some chapters have taken us longer to get through than others because there is more we want to explore.
Whether you have a book lover, science lover or reluctant learner, these books are sure to add some fun and exciting learning. I used these books as part of my current teaching role as a homeschooling mom, however, as a former classroom teacher, I would excitedly use them in a more traditional classroom too!
I am very impressed with the Science, Naturally! books and would recommend them highly if you are looking to add some seriously fun learning to your homeschool or traditional classroom.
- Reading List: On STEM, History and the Story of the World
- Basher Books on Science, Math, Music and English
- Horrible Science
- The Magic Tree House
- Value Tales – Stories for Growing Good People