Image © Lisa K. Weber

STEM Game and Research Activities

Best Users: Elementary STEM Coordinators, Classroom Teachers, Library Media Specialists, Public Children’s Librarians, STEM-engaged Parents, Homeschoolers

Best Audience: Children Grades 03-06


There are so many sources of information in today’s world.  When students hear a story about a startling new discovery, do they ever wonder if it is really true?

The authors of Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive! (Walden Pond Press) are challenging readers to check the validity of sources in their fun, engaging book. Three non-fiction topics are introduced in each section of the book. Two of those stories are valid scientific topics and one is an invented topic, often the topic of an online hoax.

Awarding-winning Library Media Specialist and STEM Coordinator, Suzanne Costner partnered with Curious City to create a STEM Card Game and two companion research activities.

“As a school librarian with a passion for STEM topics, I saw this book as an opportunity both to explore interesting stories and to develop crucial information literacy skills.”
—Suzanne Costner, Library Media Specialist & STEM Coordinator

True or Lie: Stem Card Game
Using scientific topics pulled from the book’s sidebars, we created a 52-card card deck. In Round 1, Player 1 reads a statement to Player 2 from a card. Player 2 decides whether the statement is a “Truth” or a “Lie.” In Round 2, players choose a research topic from their amassed cards and make three game cards of their own – two truths and one lie on their chosen topic. In Round 3, players try to outwit each other with the game cards they have created. Each new game in the classroom grows the game deck with new STEM material!

DOWNLOAD Truth or Lie?: STEM Card Game (PDF)

“Preparing students for the ever increasing amount of information and misinformation in our world is a daunting task, especially when they are reluctant to complete the assignment. The game format of these activities was chosen to increase student interest and enthusiasm while still teaching them how to be smart information consumers and creators.”
—Suzanne Costner, Library Media Specialist & STEM Coordinator

What’s Your Source?
Provides you with links for students to explore for topic validation. Invite students to investigate who wrote each article and why. Give them the chance to compare and cross-check the information before making their final decision on whether the stories in TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: IT’S ALIVE! are a truth or a lie.
DOWNLOAD Two Truths and a Lie: What's Your Source? (PDF)
Reaching for Resources
Provides educators with links connected with the book’s chapters and sections to build information literacy lessons upon.
DOWNLOAD Two Truths and a Lie: Reaching for Resources (PDF)
Rationale, Curriculum Connections & Grading Rubric
DOWNLOAD Two Truths and a Lie: Rationale (PDF)
Curriculum and Game Creator
Suzanne Costner is a library media specialist and STEM coordinator in an elementary school. Before finding her perfect home in the library, she taught in other classrooms for 20 years. She loves everything about children’s and young adult literature, often reviewing books on her blog or for School Library Journal. Suzanne is also a science geek who enjoys building rockets and programming robots with her students. She has won many awards for the STEM program, and in 2017 she was named Tech Innovator Teacher of the Year for her school district and the C.A.P. National Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year.


Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!
By Ammi-Joan Paquette
and Laurie Ann Thompson
Illustrated by Lisa K. Weber
Published by HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN-13: 9780062418791
Age Range: 8 – 12 Years

Two Truths and a Lie is the first book in a fascinating new series that presents some of the most crazy-but-true stories about the living world as well as a handful of stories that are too crazy to be true—and asks readers to separate facts from the fakes!

Did you know that there is a fungus that can control the mind of an ant and make it do its bidding? Would you believe there is such a thing as a corpse flower—a ten-foot-tall plant with a blossom that smells like a zombie? How about a species of octopus that doesn’t live in water but rather lurks in trees in the Pacific Northwest?

Every story in this book is strange and astounding. But not all of them are real. Just like the old game in this book’s title, two out of every three stories are completely true and one is an outright lie. Can you guess which? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable. And they’re all accompanied by dozens of photos, maps, and illustrations. Amaze yourself and trick your friends as you sort out the fakes from the facts!

Acclaimed authors Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson have teamed up to create a series of sneaky stories about the natural world designed to amaze, disgust, and occasionally bamboozle you.

“Kid-friendly text and colorful sidebars and images combine to create an overall attention-grabbing effect. VERDICT Providing a framework from which to develop the tools necessary to think critically about information, this title is a fun and potentially useful curricular tool for teachers and librarians, as well as an entertaining read for tween science fans.” —School Library Journal
“It is up to readers to sort out the fakes from the facts. Sound advice is given on how to seek and evaluate information online, and, for the impatient, the fakes are revealed in an appendix. An engaging, entertaining compendium that will inform and confound.”
—Kirkus Reviews
“The authors’ casual tone should easily draw readers in, and activities at the end of each chapter underscore a key goal underneath all the fun: developing critical thinking skills.” —Publishers Weekly


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