23 April is recognised as the World Book and Copyright Day by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). On 4 April 2017, Scientix published eight great science books selected by its Scientix Ambassadors to give you the opportunity to read some or all of them before the World Book Day. Save the date and join us on this occasion to celebrate great literature in the field of science!

Click on one of the buttons to see the two selected books per subject.

For the STEM Discovery Week 24 to 30 April 2017, teachers are invited to participate in a discussion in an open forum here about the selected books and share ideas on how they can be used in science lessons. Scientix will award the best ideas shared with this community.

The goal of the competition is twofold:

  • To raise general awareness about science and scientific literacy through a community based approach and peer-reviewed exchange of information.
  • To show how scientific literature can improve classroom discussions and activities.

You are welcome to use the forum here to introduce yourself and to get to know other colleagues interested in science literature. Scientix will use the discussion forum to inform you as soon as new discussion threads are added on 23 April. You will receive a notification by e-mail if you introduce yourself in the discussion thread.

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I, Robot - Pre- and post-reading tasks

Daniela Bunea, modified 7 Years ago.

I, Robot - Pre- and post-reading tasks

Community member Posts: 2 Join Date: 6/22/15 Recent Posts
I believe science fiction has always induced human mind to pursue scientific aims considered only hypothetical before. I am a teacher of English as a foreign language at a secondary school (students aged 11-19), and I have always tried to inspire my learners to engage more thoroughly with STEM subjects using science fiction stories (abridged at times, depending on their level of English).
Isaac Asimov is one of my favourite science fiction authors, and what I best admire about him is his never-ending enthusiasm, but also his ability to make us readers see the world from a different point of view while exploring concepts of society and technology with all their consequences.
I have prepared a learning unit on "I, Robot", supported by tasks to be done on the computer connected to the Internet available here: Various activities come together to integrate technology in the classroom. I have devised the tasks with great care, and I am set to keep adding to the site to make it even more useful. A wide array of apps have been used so far to develop the activities presented, such as: Padlet, Answer Garden, Hot Potatoes, My Language Exchange, Study Stack, Word Art, Learning Apps, Jigsaw Planet.
The scheme comprises pre- and post-reading activities. The students are asked to work as a whole class, in groups, in pairs or individually. The objectives range from improving each of the 4 main skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), opening towards creative thinking, encouraging critical thinking to increasing familiarity with vocabulary items for meaning-making, understanding the importance of key-words, recreational problem solving, expressing opinions and bridging the gap between work and play.
All the 16 activities of the learning unit are described in the Teacher’s Guide I am attaching. In short, my ideas for the Scientix competition are as follows:
Before reading:
As a lead-in activity, students go to and individually move the pieces of the puzzle to position them in relation to one another to have them connect and form the cover of the first edition of the “I, Robot” collection. Next, students bounce ideas off one another and seek information, explanations and advice about the Frankenstein complex nowadays. Isaac Asimov said he wrote the stories in order to get away from the Frankenstein complex – the worry that technology (especially robots) would destroy humanity. Does this complex still exist today? Are people still afraid of technology and what it might lead to? Students provide examples, descriptions, predictions etc. Next, students go to and collect examples of names of women scientists and women writers (science fiction was invented by a woman, Mary Shelley...) in the real world, and interesting women characters in fiction. They also add descriptions of life and achievements, pictures, links etc.
After reading:
In pairs, students pick a scene from the framing narrative and act it out.
Next, they go to and individually solve a crosswords puzzle by filling in empty spaces with words that best complete the summary of the story “Robbie”. After that, they each imagine they are Gloria, Mrs Weston or Mr Weston and write a thank-you note to Mr Struthers a day after the Westons’ visit at US Robots following their reading of famous thank-you notes here:
To get the summary of the story “Reason”, students go to and individually fill in each gap with the most suitable words.
Students then practise writing monologues – Gregory Powell’s thoughts when Michael Donovan left to get their spacesuits so that they could enter the mine in “Catch that rabbit”.
Students then go to and each uses the cards to study/recall “Evidence” with auto play, and then plays to see how many they know by putting them in the Know or Don't know stacks.
Students go to to see a model of a word cloud, then go to WordArt and individually turn the 3 robot laws into a visually stunning word cloud of their own.
Students then go to and individually match characters and descriptions.
Next they go to and individually vote for their favourite robot.
Students go to and individually play Hangman to guess a verb invented by Isaac Asimov.
As a whole class discussion, students talk about how different people deal with science and the unknown, and then about the connections nowadays between science and the world of work and daily life.
In groups, as a wrap-up task, students search for YouTube video clips that could stand proof to Isaac Asimov’s premonition that children in the 21st century might form intense emotional attachments to electronics, like in “Robbie”, and present their findings to the class.
I hope you like my ideas and will use my site with your students.
Thank you.
Maria Teresa de Paiva, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: I, Robot - Pre- and post-reading tasks

Community member Posts: 6 Join Date: 4/20/17 Recent Posts
Hello Daniela!

Very complete and interesting Activity based on "I, Robot" -  Congratulations! You had a lot of work, and, for sure, I'll "study" your ideas before start my work with students about the book!

About what Asimov could guess (the premonitions...), I found very curious the asteroid mining by big robots, because last year I was with some students at Web summit, Lisbon, “sponsored” by Planetary  Resources ( ), an US enterprise that has the same goal! And, last year too, a student of mine presented a work about microrobots at her coleagues, in class (because of High Tech Electrical Engines they sould choose to aply some basic eletricity concepts)!

These are the eight science books selected for the World Book Day and STEM Discovery Week 2017! In order to compete in our competition, start by:

  1. Read one or more of the selected titles
  2. Design an idea for a classroom activity based on your book
  3. Share your idea with peers in the discussion forum above during the STEM Discovery Week 24 to 30 April

Science books


This world famous book in the field of physics explores the origin of our universe, including the Big Bang and black holes, and the relevance of concepts such as space and time and other forces that govern our existence.

Author: Stephen Hawking

Originally published: 1988

Uncle Tungsten was a producer of tungsten-filament lightbulbs who ignited Oliver Sacks’ interest in chemistry, especially chemical reactions and the periodic table. This book is a fascinating story about scientific discoveries and inspiration during childhood.

Author: Oliver Sacks

Originally published: 2001

A brief history of time

Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a chemical boyhood

Technology books

A young boy, who is the outcome of genetic experiments, possesses great tactical skills playing computer games. This may be just what mankind has been waiting for in order to fight back against invasive alien species.

Author: Orson Scott Card

Originally published: 1985

This futuristic science-fiction describes the technical evolution of robots that are originally developed in order to serve humans. However, they eventually become so advanced that humans become obsolete.

Author: Isaac Asimov

Originally published: 1950

Ender's Game

I, Robot

Engineering books

Engineers can see a structure where there is none in place, possessing the ability to turn problems into solutions and solutions. This book collects narratives and case studies to show how engineering is used to innovate, standardise and optimise.

Author: Guru Madhavan

Originally published: 2015

This book is a collection of 25 entertaining experiments and activities in engineering in everyday situations, including step-by-step instructions, expected results of each activity and simple scientific background for each experiment.

Author: Janice VanCleave

Originally published: 2007

Applied minds: How engineers think

Engineering for every kid: Easy activities that make learning science fun

Mathematics books

Robert really dislikes studying maths, but this changes when he meets the Number Devil, who appears in Robert’s dreams to teach him maths and inspire him. With the help of the Number Devil, Robert gets to know fractions, geometry and other mathematic concepts.

Author: Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Originally published: 1997

Mr. Ruche receives a delivery to his house in Paris including a great number of maths books from Brazil. His parrot likes to talk about maths and together they give lessons to children. However, he soon discovers the real reason behind the delivery.

Author: Denis Guedj

Originally published: 1998

The number devil: a mathematical adventure

The Parrot's Theorem

STEM Discovery Week IN NUMBERS

SDW17 Infograph

This infograph demonstrates the main achievements accomplished and outreach during STEM Discovery Week 2017.




‘Make your own Poster’ with your favourite subjects and resources from the Scientix Resources Respository. Read more.


Organise or participate in an event dedicated to any STEM subject and opportunities from 24 to 30 April 2017. Read more.


Share ideas for classroom activities in relation to selected science books and discuss them in an open forum. Read more.