To say I absolutely love the book featured in this post is an understatement! The Baddies is by the same author as Room on the Broom – Julia Donaldson.
I’m sure many of you reading this have some favorite Room on the Broom engineering; it is perfect for integrating the engineering design process with our youngest STEMsters.
The Baddies is just as entertaining and lends itself nicely to some engineering challenges as well! Because of its hysterical characters, embedded onomatopoeia, and fun rhyme scheme, I’m definitely ordering this one for my personal collection!
Featured Picture Book:
The Baddies (2022)
By Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Three “baddies,” a troll, a witch, and a ghost, are overheard bragging about their “badness” by a little mouse who challenges them to a contest to steal a little girl’s hanky. They each give it their best shot, only to be outsmarted by the little girl who ends up giving her hanky to the little mouse to keep her family warm.
Related Themes and Standards:
Friction (if you do the hovercraft activity mentioned below)
1. Engineer a way to get a hanky from one spot to another without touching it. (You can get cheap handkerchiefs at most dollar stores, or you can order a dozen HERE)
2. If you have access to drones, have students engineer an attachment to transport the girl's hanky to a safe location.
3. Since one of the characters was a ghost, have students design and engineer a hovercraft that would carry a hanky from one spot to another. Science Buddies has a nice lesson HERE or this one HERE uses paper plates instead. Better yet, show your kids this video, provide lots of different materials and let THEM figure it out through the engineering design process!
4. The bridge in the story didn’t hold the troll very well. Have students engineer a bridge and test it to see what the maximum weight the troll could be.
5. The kids will laugh at the little girl’s toffee flying out of her pocket and getting stuck on the witch’s nose. Create a simple cardboard witch and have students engineer catapults or other inventions to launch “toffee” at the witch’s nose. (You could add velcro or two-sided tape to the witch’s nose and the kids could launch cotton balls or small pompoms to represent the toffee.)
6. In the end, the little girl gives her hanky to the mouse family for a blanket. Have students brainstorm other uses for a hanky and create a promotional video demonstrating the new use using Canva, Flip, or another video creation platform.
Have you used this book to integrate STEM? I'd love to hear about it! #BetterTogether
STEM Advocate and Picture Book Author