The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way

Having a much younger third son to homeschool while I edit for Home Education Magazine gives me a chance to revisit resources I used with his considerably older brothers, who are now young adults in college. Today’s read-aloud was several chapters from The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way, by Joy Hakim. This book captivates my 11-year-old son  just as it did his older brothers some years ago.

Like they did, he peppers me with questions born of Hakim’s interesting approach and lovely writing style. The text’s side-by-side photos of a spiral hurricane and a spiral galaxy transfix him, priming him for an understanding of Hakim’s well-wrought connection that explains why pictures of the spirals are so eerily similar:

Hurricanes are clouds of moisture. Galaxies, a trillion times larger, are mostly clouds of gas (even thought the stars in them grab center stage). Both water and gas are fluids, substances that flow according to the universal laws of science–in this case, the physics of fluid dynamics. (page 14)

Ah, a beautifully presented case for why we should be interested in the physics of fluid dynamics.

That alone would be enough to recommend Hakim’s book, but I also have her lovely melding of myth, poetry and science in those opening chapters, illustrating humanity’s quest for understanding the universe. My literary son immediately grasped her point, that every culture has its creation stories, and I think Hakim would be pleased with his observation, “We have ours, too, Mom, and every culture thinks its story is right.”

As so often happens during read-alouds of Hakim’s books, we have to stop for a side conversation about that. This made the journey through The Story of Science series (there are two other titles) a long one with the older kids–so many rabbit holes to explore.

Indeed, the best recommendation for Hakim’s books is that I savor the opportunity to spend that time rabbit holing with my youngest son all over again. Like when I visit a wise ol’ friend, I have no doubt I will learn something more and enjoy the process of sharing what I’m learning.

For more about The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way, visit Joy Hakim’s website.

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