448050911201448 Two Must Read Books to Teach Students Failure is Okay | Polka Dots and Protons - Interactive Science Notebooks & More

My goal is to make interactive science notebooks engaging for 5th grade and middle school science students while improving science test scores. NGSS expert, teacher, tpt author, mom, & widow

Two Must Read Books to Teach Students Failure is Okay


Two must reads to teach students about failure are: Mistakes That Worked and Rosie Revere Engineer.

Sometimes our ideas and experiments don't work. Oftentimes our hypothesis is wrong. Sometimes our projects crumble. Oh well. It happens to all of us.

I have learned that most students struggle with failure and worry about how it will affect their grade. This year, I plan on emphasizing learning from our mistakes is the goal and documenting them accurately. When we screw up, we often want to embellish the truth. I would rather have students explain exactly what went wrong and document it. Include pictures. What would you do differently? What did you learn? Learning what doesn't work is a big part of what real science is all about.

Last year, I started off my middle school Maker Studio class with a story from Mistakes That Worked by Charlotte Jones. Each story is short, really short, and can be covered in a few minutes. They are funny too.

Here is the description on Amazon: Popsicles, potato chips, Silly Putty, Velcro, and many other familiar things have fascinating stories behind them. In fact, dozens of products and everyday items had surprisingly haphazard beginnings. Mistakes That Worked offers forty of these unusual tales, along with hilarious cartoons and weird and amazing facts. Readers will be surprised and inspired!


Before beginning our engineering projects, I read Rosie Revere Engineer to my K-5 students. Yes, I read the book 12 times, once to each of my elementary lab classes. Am I weird if I didn't get sick of it? Some students have the tendency to burst into tears when their bridge collapses or their marshmallow catapult is a bust. With the commotion of doing engineering projects, I didn't need crying too. Nope, no crying in science. We read Rosie Revere Engineer and I even acted out the part where Aunt Rosie is proud of little Rosie. I am Aunt Rosie and a little Rosie comes up and I pretend to smother her with Aunt like love, a big squeeze and air kisses. This is a great opportunity to talk about how things don't always work out. We act out crying over our project before we start. Will we really cry? No!!!