Posted in nonfiction, picture books, science

Watching the Earth Turn

At the entrance to COSI (Center of Science and Industry) in Columbus, Ohio is a beautiful pendulum. We live fairly close by and COSI is a familiar place to my children. The pendulum has always fascinated them and now that they are older, it is a place they can wait while I stand in the ticket line. You do have to wait for several minutes to see the pendulum at work. After reading Come See the Earth Turn I have a much greater appreciation for the pendulum. I understand much better what the pendulum is demonstrating — that it actually proves the earth turns. What a wonder.

Come See the Earth Turn: the Story of Leon Foucault is written by Lori Mortensen, illustrated by Raul Allen (Tricycle Press, 2010) and was included on the National Science Teachers Association’s 2011 list of Outstanding Science Trade Books. It tells the story of Leon Foucault, an unlikely hero. A sickly infant, a slow child in school, but also a boy who was good at building things, gifted with his hands. Though not formally trained as a scientist, he made some amazing discoveries through his adeptness with machinery and, even more importantly, his keen sense of observation and wonder about the world around him. Many others had tried unsuccessfully to prove that the earth turned on it’s axis, but Foucault was the one to find a way to demonstrate it.

The huge pendulum at COSI knocks over a small pin every few minutes. Crowds of children gather around it. Do they realize they are actually seeing the earth turn?

For more great nonfiction books, check out today’s Nonfiction Monday! And come back next week, Monday, July 4, when I’m hosting! I’m so excited!

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