Science and Poetry: A Stellar Combination!

Science and poetry are a powerful mix. Here is evidence for my observation:

  • STEM-themed poetry can spark or expand student's interest in specific science topics. 
  • Teachers can use science poetry collections to introduce or support a unit of study. 
  • Students can use STEM poetry collections as models to write their own poems to demonstrate synthesis of STEM concepts. 

Let's look at some recent stellar picture books that combine science and poetry.

The cover of ICE CYCLE a children's science poetry collection by Maria Gianferrari. Cover shows an iceberg floating on blue water against a pink sky.

In Ice Cycle, by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Jeiting Chen, readers discover the many types of ice that form on land and sea. Each poem focuses on a different characteristic of ice or place it can grow. 

Ice Cycle is a great collection to use in conjunction with a study of the water cycle or properties of matter.

The cover of the children's poetry collection Animals in Surprising Shades, showing a beach scene with colorful creatures.

Animals in Surprising Shades, by Susan Johnston Taylor, illustrated by Annie Baskt, takes readers on a journey around the world to discover creatures with fascinating coloration. Each poem is written in a different poetry form, from acrostic to concrete, haiku to nonet. 

Animals in Surprising Shades pairs nicely with a unit on animal adaptation. With its range of poetry forms, it is also a great choice as a mentor text for a poetry unit. 

The cover of the children's poetry collection The Dirt Book, showing a cross section of a forest with trees, roots, and creatures living in the soil.

Looking for a book to support the Next Generation Science Standard of "Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems?" Then check out The Dirt Book, by David Harrison, illustrated by Kate Cosgrove. This poetry collection includes fifteen fascinating poems about soil- what it is, how it's made, and who lives in it. Nonfiction back matter provides more information about the creatures who make their homes beneath the ground. 

The cover of the children's poetry collection The Last Straw: Kids Vs. Plastic, showing an ocean scene with the sun rising on the horizon.

The Last Straw: Kids Vs. Plastic, by Susan Hood, illustrated by Cristiane Engel is a great choice to support a study of environmental stewardship. Through seventeen poems, readers learn about the growing plastic problem and meet some young activists who are speaking out for change.  

Extensive nonfiction back matter provides a timeline of the history of plastic, ideas for alternatives to single-use plastics, a list of the top-ten products that pollute oceans, and more. Put The Last Straw on your list of books to share for Earth Day and beyond. 

Cover of the children's poetry collection After Dark Poems About Nocturnal Creatures, showing a full-moon night scence with a racoon, cougar, luna moth, and wolf in a forest.

After Dark: Poems About Nocturnal Creatures, by David Harrison, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis, teaches readers about the hidden lives of nocturnal animals through twenty engaging poems. Nonfiction back matter provides more information about the animals featured in the poems. This book is another one that pairs well with a study of animal adaptation. 

The cover of the children's poetry collection Deep Deep Down, The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench, showing an underwater scene in dark blue, with bioluminescent sea creatures

In Deep, Deep Down, the Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench , by Lydia Lukidis, illustrated by Juan Calle Velez, readers venture into the deepest ocean valley on Earth. Lyrical text investigates the vibrant creatures that live in this secret underwater world. A great book to augment a study of ecosystems or animal adaptations. 

I hope these STEM-packed titles help ignite your students' passion for science AND poetry! 

Montage image showing a headshot of children's author and poet Michelle Schaub and four covers of her picture books Dream Big Little Scientists, Fresh-Picked Poetry A Day at the Farmers Market, Finding Treasure A Collection of Collections, and Kindness is a Kite String

About Michelle Schaub

Michelle Schaub is a language arts teacher and award-winning children's poet. She is the author of the picture book poetry collections Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market and Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections. She is also the author of two picture books in verse, Dream Big, Little Scientists and Kindness is a Kite String: The Uplifting Power of Empathy. Her poems appear in several anthologies, including  Great Morning! Poems for School Leaders to Read Aloud.  Michelle loves visiting schools and speaking at conferences on the power of poetry to boost literacy. Find out more at:


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