Enjoy immersing yourself in the rhythmic language of the action-packed story about a witch who travels on her broom, repeatedly losing accessories but picking up new friends along the way. Although at first glance a book about magic doesn’t seem to have much to contribute to STEM education, there is an abundance of possible STEM explorations in these pages.
Starting by investigating the role of the wind, the children could focus on which items fall off the witch and why. Is there anything on the children that would fall off if they flew through the sky? What about their hats or shoes? They could stand on a chair and drop those items. How do they fall to the ground? Do they flutter or fall with a thud? Would this be different in the wind? Could they create wind to find out?
And how exactly does a broom fly through the air? Maybe they want to build their own model brooms and try out how to throw them so they travel furthest or fastest. Invite the children to compare the witch’s simple broom at the beginning with the “truly magnificent broom” in the end. Which of these brooms would be easier to build? Which one would fly further, longer, faster? Which broom would the children prefer to travel on? Encourage them to sketch and design their own brooms. Which materials do they need? Do lighter materials work better? Does a wider or a narrower broom fly better? How many people could fit on their broom? Which design would be most comfortable for the traveller? How does a broom take off? What keeps it in the air? Does it need an engine, a steering wheel, brakes?
Habitats are also an interesting topic to explore. Where does the witch meet all her new friends? Why do these animals live in these places? Are their needs met by the new magnificent broom in the end? Encourage the children to look at the landscapes in each picture. Does it look like the story is set in Australia? How are the landscapes different to what they see out of the window or in the wider area around your service? If a witch flew around here, which animals would she encounter along the way?
You can also talk about disguises and camouflage. How do the animals scare away the dragon? What do animals do in real life to defend themselves against other, bigger animals?
This could lead to an investigation of the sounds in the book: What do the animals’ voices sound like? What noise does the broom make as it takes off?
Give the children time to be inspired by the words and the pictures. Drawing their attention to the backgrounds, you could talk about the different kinds of weather the witch encounters and how these affect the story. How does the weather affect the children’s lives? How does the colour of the sky change throughout the book? What colours go with different weather? What colour is the sky where you are?
With our book recommendations, we want to spark an interest in children to discover STEM in their everyday lives. Most books go beyond the obvious STEM connections and can be a great starting point for exploring children’s questions and ideas further.
Learn more: Book a STEM workshop.
Article author: Kerstin Johnson
Content Editor & Resources Developer
With many years’ experience developing educational materials for print and online publishing, Kerstin aims to use her editing and writing skills to produce engaging and user-friendly content across all our platforms.