I am so excited to have Laurie Wallmark here today to discuss her debut picture book and WOW is all I can say. Laurie’s narrative of Ada Byron’s life is full of imagery as well as information about a truly extraordinary woman. Ada had such focus and passion, two attributes anyone would surely benefit from. Thank you Laurie for sharing Ada’s life with us. There is much we can learn from her and you have so vividly brought her story to life. Oh and did I mention the illustrations? Just spectacular. April Chu has recreated the time Ada lived with intricate details and a softness that compliments and enhances the text. So without further gushing—after a brief description of the book, Laurie will discuss possibilities for using Ada in the classroom. Be sure to check out the Teacher’s Guide for even more ideas.
ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE (Creston Books, October 2015) is a picture-book biography of the world’s first computer programmer. Ada was born two hundred years ago, long before the invention of the modern electronic computer. At a time when girls and women had few options outside the home, Ada followed her dreams and studied mathematics. This book, by Laurie Wallmark and April Chu, tells the story of a remarkable woman and her work. Kirkus Reviews describes the book as a “splendidly inspiring introduction to an unjustly overlooked woman.” [starred review]
Picture books are an ideal medium to engage children’s interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Whether fiction or nonfiction, picture books can be the inspiration for a wealth of activities and classroom discussions. Here’s just one example of how my picture book biography, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine can be used in the classroom.
Ada loved math and wanted, more than anything else, to be a professional mathematician. She became the world’s first computer programmer when she coded a complex mathematical algorithm. Reading about Ada’s life provides the perfect excuse for a teacher to show how fun STEM can be.
A math game that was popular during Ada’s time was “buzz.” In this game, the students count aloud from one to a hundred. For younger students, instead of saying the word “seven” when it appears in a number, have them shout “buzz” instead. This is a fun way for them to practice counting, not to mention listening.
“Buzz” is easily adapted for older students. For them, in addition to “buzzing” on the number “seven,” they also have to “buzz” on multiples of seven. Once the students master their sevens times tables, the teacher can switch to a different number. This game provides an enjoyable way for children to memorize their multiplication tables.
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine has an associated curriculum guide created by Marcie Colleen. All activities were created in conjunction with relevant content standards in English language arts (ELA), math, science, social studies, art, and drama. The guide is Common Core aligned in both ELA and math for grades one to four. You can download a free copy here.
Laurie Wallmark writes exclusively for children. She can’t imagine having to restrict herself to only one type of book, so she writes picture books, middle-grade novels, poetry, and nonfiction. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. When not writing or studying, Laurie teaches computer science at a local community college, both on campus and in prison. The picture book biography, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, October 2015), is Laurie’s first book.
Join Laurie as she travels from blog to blog to introduce her debut picture book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine. All stops are listed at: http://lauriewallmark.com/blogtour.php