Gillian King-Cargile is the director of NIU’s STEM Read program, which introduces young readers to the science, technology, engineering and math concepts behind popular fiction books. To do this, STEM Read creates free online lesson plans, interactive games, videos, collaborative writing prompts and live events that bring science and stories to life.
STEM Read was created and started out as an NIU field trip to talk about a few sci fi books with middle school students. It has turned into a full program offering professional development to teachers, standards-aligned lessons and classroom resources – now with a waiting list of schools wanting to participate.
Gillian’s latest adventure is to extend the STEM Read reach by producing podcasts in which she and P-20 Professional Development Director Dr. Kristin Brynteson interview authors, STEAM experts and educational leaders about hot topics related to recently released fiction. The podcast is co-produced with WNIJ, NIU’s public radio station and local NPR affiliate.
She is the author of The Toy and the Twister, The Toy and the Tide Pool, and The Toy and the Test Drive. These picture books – collectively the Stuffed Bunny Science Adventure Series – tell fun, fast-paced stories that incorporate STEM concepts aligned with Next Generation Science Standards for Kindergarten through second grade.