Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: Scien-Trickery


Helping children develop critical thinking skills is essential, and Scien-Trickery by J. Patrick Lewis is a great book for the job. J. Patrick Lewis uses riddles to explore various science topics making learning fun and unique.

This creative book shows a different approach for children reviewing main points in science. The fascinating book is a cluster of 16 different riddles of appealing topics. Each riddle has its own creative title such as “Push Me, Pull Me,” for magnets and “SHHHHHHHH!” for sound. Both the titles and the illustrations on each page give clues to the reader as to what the answer to the riddle is. On page 14 the riddle titled “The Old Switcheroo” states

My father’s the arc,
My mother’s the spark.
Without them you would
Be left in the dark.

Answer: Electricity

All the riddles are similar to this one and demonstrate critical thinking for the student. The student is able to think outside of the regular text book and apply the information that he or she has learned to solve interesting riddles. The main topics discussed in the book are: Magnets, Humidity, Sound, Electricity, Gravity, Germs, Rust and Dinosaurs. These riddles not only focus on scientific terms but also on everyday situations that they can relate the riddle to. The book relates to the everyday life of students and ignores the schema that science is not applicable to real-world situation.

Curriculum Connections
Scien-Trickery, does not introduce new topics to students. The riddles are more of a review of what the student already knows making the reader population older. The riddles that focus on magnets, electricity, and sound review topics considered in physical Science. If teaching in Virginia this book would be great to review SOL’s 4.3d and 4.3f which are focused on understanding electricity. This could also help reinforce topics similar to K.3 focused on magnets and push pull, as well as 1.2 b focusing on sound production.

Additional Information

  • Kids Science Experiments focuses on easy experiments that explain more complicated ideas. This experiment shows student how to create and see electricity with tissue paper. This activity would be great to us as a reinforcement of the reading.
  • Lesson Plan: Exploring Magnets and Magnetism is an entire day projects that focuses on teaching magnets and how they work. Students will participate in an experiment and follow through with all the processes. This activity is recommended for students to apply what they have learned in their reading and to further extend their knowledge on magnets and scientific experiments.

Book: Scien-Trickery
J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrator: Frank Remkiewicz
Silver Whistle
Publication Date:
32 pages

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