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. See the book trailer (below right) that introduces this program to kids.

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 and video below to learn more.

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.

Aspirnaut programs have since taken place on North Haven, Islesboro and Vinalhaven.

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


download the We Can’t All Be Rattlesnakes & The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate Question Sheets