Aspirnaut Program at Vanderbilt University

Aspirnaut and Island Readers & Writers have teamed up to excite kids about reading and science. At the core of the program are two fantastic books, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and We Can’t All Be Rattlesnakes. The students loved these books and the scientists did too.

With the support of their teachers, students read and discussed each book guided by questions designed to stimulate their thinking about the nature and science. Through story scientific methods: observing, recording, researching, testing – were introduced and discussed. Three customized book-related science experiments, designed by Dr. Stephanie Zieger from the Aspirnaut Program at Vanderbilt University, were then conducted drawing on the concepts and methodologies introduced in the books. For each session a lab kit was developed for all Frenchboro (our pilot program school) students. Lab instruction and demonstrations were conducted using Internet conferencing between Frenchboro and Vanderbilt University.  The kids loved this program and we did too! Click on the blog link below to learn more.

Student evaluations resulting from the pilot program were used to refine the program for young readers. Check out the discussion guides, vocabulary words, suggested readings, and the crossword puzzle appearing on the For the Educators page of this website.  You and your friends can participate in these activities at home as well as at school. These awesome worksheets were prepared for IRW by library educator Nina Emlen.

Read about the program at the Frenchboro School’s Blog.

This collaboration grew out of a field trip taken in the summer of 2010 to the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory as part of the Friends Over Books summer reading. IRW then partnered with Drs. Julie and Billie Hudson Co-founders of Aspirnaut and Frenchboro teachers Doug and Michelle Finn to develop the program.

Islesboro, North Haven and Vinalhaven, ME (April 9, 2012).
“We Can’t all be Rattlesnakes” by Patrick Jennings was the group read for students in four island schools.  For over a month, students in grades 3 & 4 participated in an Island Readers & Writer’s Literary Links to Science program designed in partnership with the Aspirnaut program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

The day opened with a lively book trailer introducing kids to an exciting adventure of reading, discovering, and experimenting — all designed to inspire a passion for reading and learning.