Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Children's Book Review: Galactic Academy of Science book series

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received these books, free of charge, from Tumblehome Learning, via JKS Communications, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about them.

christmas reindeer scary

We all know how hard it can be to get kids interested in Science and Math, much less reading during their free time, but this new series of books is sure to get them excited about all three!


With time travel and mysteries that need solving, the Galactic Academy of Science (G.A.S.) series instructs readers on how to think like scientists. Under the guidance of a Dude or Dudette from the future, the middle school characters are faced with treacherous, present-day crimes that require a historical knowledge of science in order to be solved. From investigating problems to analyzing data and constructing explanations and solutions, this series blends elements of sci-fi with educational methods that distill the key thinking habits of scientists and engineers.

We were sent the following books from the series to review:

Baffling Case of the Battered Brain  cover

Baffling Case of the Battered Brain by Pendred Noyce 

Is the awkward stranger taking bribes to throw games? When Clinton hits his head in the championship soccer game, the stranger gets him benched, and Clinton’s team loses. Determined to nail the bribe-taker, Clinton and Mae take on a new G.A.S. mission—a journey across three continents and 4,000 years to learn about concussion and the brain.

 The Cryptic Case of the Coded Fair  cover

The Cryptic Case of the Coded Fair by Barbara and Robert Tinker 

Dr. G and his companions are using coded messages in a plot to corrupt the International Science Fair. Quarkum Phonon, a Dude from the future, calls on four middle school students for help. Benson and Anita work on their computers while two new G.A.S. recruits, Ella and Shomari, travel through time, facing kidnappers, thieves, and spies in their scramble to learn about codes and ciphers. Across two millennia and five countries, they meet Julius Caesar, Thomas Jefferson, Alan Turing, and others, while learning about substitution ciphers, frequency analysis, wheels, cylinders, book codes, the Verginère Table, the Enigma, and public and private keys. But will they break Dr. G’s code in time to save the science fair? A computer-based online extension that allows readers to create and decode their own secret messages is also included.

 The Perilous Case of the Zombie Potion  cover

The Perilous Case of the Zombie Potion by Pendred Noyce 

When a corrupt Dude from the future threatens to harm Sam’s mother unless he steals a zombie potion from his scientist father, Clinton and Mae know they have to help. This time-traveling journey on the science and history of death takes the G.A.S. crew to China, Italy, Belgium, Haiti, New Guinea, Arizona, and Indonesia. Along the way, Sam faces his greatest fears and grows braver, but when disaster threatens his father’s research camp, can he figure out how to save his father, outwit the evil Dr. G, and turn the tables on the bullies who have been tormenting him?

 Confounding Case of the Climate Crisis cover

Confounding Case of the Climate Crisis by Owen Liu  

Something strange is going on during Anita and Benson’s field trip to a greenhouse as their guide is making wild claims about carbon dioxide and their science teacher, Mr. Fazmel, has mysteriously disappeared. That’s when Quarkum Phonon, a Dude from the future, sends Anita and Benson on a Galactic Academy of Science mission to learn about the origins of climate change and the ways communities around the world are dealing with its impact. With stops around the world—from a Hawaiian volcano to Greenland and Geneva—Anita and Benson sift through the evidence for climate change. On their return home, the students face the question: what can a couple of kids do to reduce CO2 emissions and slow down climate change? A portion of all profits from this book will go to support local projects helping people in the developing world adapt to climate change.

and Miss Grace's favorite one :

The Furious Case of the Fraudulent Fossil  cover

The Furious Case of the Fraudulent Fossil by Barnas Monteith

On a museum visit, Benson and Anita meet a famous paleontologist showing off his newest fossil find: a missing link between dinosaurs and birds. But something doesn't feel right. Then a Dude from the future sends them back in time to visit an ancient Chinese scientist, dig a huge sea monster out of a cliff, and outwit a fossil thief. Benson and Anita need to root out and expose a fraudulent fossil.

The Furious Case of the Fraudulent Fossil  sample 1

The series is aimed at kids ages 9-12, grades 4-7. While Miss Grace is younger than that, the books are a challenge for her, and we read them together. As you can see, they have full color illustrations and graphs, to really catch your kid's eye, and keep them reading!For older kids, they would definitely spur the reader to find out more about all the interesting topics in the books!  for Miss Grace it was easier to say "Mom, is that true?". And Mom did her Wikipedia imitation! LOL

The Furious Case of the Fraudulent Fossil  sample 1

There are side pages with info on the different topics, that are really wonderful! In fact, the books would be great for home schoolers, as they offer a great way to engage kids in topics they may think of as totally boring! Add in reading comprehension and vocabulary, and you've got to love books that teach just about all your subjects at once! A parent's dream! These are books that Miss Grace can grow into, and that we can discuss and you for extra teaching and we're both thrilled with them!

Additional books in the series so far include The Harrowing Case of the Hackensack Hacker,  The Vicious Case of the Viral Vaccine and and The Desperate Case of the Diamond Chip

Tumblehome Learning has products for all ages (elementary through high school) though! They have Math card and board games, word and food puzzles and games, Tangram puzzles, graphic cartoons, fossil jewelry kit, viral vaccine kit (don't worry, it's a geometric model only), and even a diamond cutting kit. Imagine the fun of giving your child a matching book from this series, and a fun discovery kit for Christmas! You're seeing how much fun this could be aren't you? Making the books more relevant to your kids by having hands on experiments after they read it! Talk about enforcing science principles! You may end up with a scientist or two in the house! I know I'll be picking up the rest of the books and a couple of the kits myself for Miss Grace! 

tumblehorne learning

About Tumblehome Learning:

Tumblehome Learning (THL) was formed in 2010 by a group of dedicated STEM activists, writers, and software and curriculum developers. THL has launched initial books in three series and a number of coordinated activity kits. More information can be found on our products page.
At Tumblehome Learning, we provide tools for students to become inspired to learn more about the natural and man-made worlds around them. In the spirit of Robert Noyce, the inventor of the integrated circuit, original founder of Intel and one of the fathers of Silicon Valley, we want every child to know that they too can change the world through their exploration of science. They too can “go off and do something wonderful.”

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great series for my son when he get a little older. Now more than ever STEM subjects are so important.


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