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Wild is the Wind

Little Scientists recommends 'Wild is the Wind' by Grahame Baker-Smith
  • Author: Grahame Baker-Smith

Wild is the Wind vividly explores wind patterns, bird behaviours, and weather in an age-appropriate way. It’s a good starting point to investigate the STEM in nature with children in your service or classroom!

Book summary

Following a migrating bird from Africa to Asia, the book takes the reader through bright blue skies, past cyclones, raging waters, and the vast desert. Wind-formed ridges, caves, and plateaus illustrate the power of wind and how it shapes the Earth. On the bird’s migratory journey, the reader meets wind-powered human innovations, such as hot air balloons, sailing ships, and wind turbines. The author combines poetic prose with scientific language, as well as including hidden images within the illustrations of swirling winds.

Spark STEM explorations

🌀 Take the children outdoors to explore wind using their senses. For example, you can ask them: What noise does wind make? Does it always sound the same? How does it feel on the skin? Does wind look like anything?

🌀 Set up a wind-blown art activity, in which the children can brush paint onto a piece of paper and use straws to blow the paint around the page. Ask them to compare the difference in shapes and sizes of paint splotches when they change the amount of breath used to blow through the straw. To extend this activity, encourage them to identify the shapes and patterns in their artwork.

🌀 Support the children to make a daily weather chart, where they can record their observations about the weather, such as rain levels, wind speed, and temperature. Over time, encourage them to spot patterns of weather during the year in different seasons.

🌀 Use natural materials and items around your service to support the children to retell the story of Wild is the Wind. For example, feathers can represent the birds and blocks can represent different buildings. Invite the children to reflect on the different stories they can create about wind. You can even encourage them to incorporate song and dance to tell the stories in a more interactive way.

🌀 Take the children to a local park to bird-watch. They can describe the way different birds look and their behaviours, such as how often they appear during the day.

🌀 At the park, you can also ask the children to discuss their observations of clouds by exploring their shapes and how fast they move.

Could this be the start of an inquiry-based STEM project?

As you can see, this picture book can lead to fascinating STEM explorations, which could spark an inquiry-based STEM project led by the children in your service.

An inquiry-based STEM project is designed with a specific objective of finding something out e.g. “Can wattle seeds grow in space?”. This is very different to an open-ended activity like “Exploring gravity.” A project should build upon the interests of children and stem from their questions and observations. It should engage with a topic over several weeks or months so that children can explore hypotheses with ample time for discovery and reflection. You can read more about inquiry-based projects here. We also recommend this summary of an excellent inquiry-project called “Can We Save Humpty Dumpty?” by Glasshouse Early Education Centre in QLD.

Developing an inquiry-based STEM project is a key component of certifying your service as a Little Scientists House, the only STEM certification program for early learning services. Becoming a Little Scientists House allows you to showcase to the community that your service is committed to best practice in early inquiry-based STEM education. Learn more here.

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