Chemical engineer sparks curiosity with STEM children’s book series Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Dianne Plummer, a chemical and mechanical engineer, hopes her book, “Science in the Sun”, will inspire parents and children to see Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)as fun and exciting and propel more youngsters toward the fields.

The first-time children’s book author plans to launch the first in the series of 10 books in February to coincide with International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Interestingly, Plummer’s drive aligns with the government’s thrust to advance STEM education. Last year, the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Mico University and the Students’ Loan Bureau signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the provision of $2.5 billion in scholarships to 1,250 new student-teachers. 

Plummer said her inspiration for creating the book came from her desire to see more young people enter industries supported by STEM but also from witnessing a deterioration in the quality of entrants to the fields over the years. 

“Working in the field, you realise that many of the kids don’t know much about science,” Plummer told Loop News.

Having also previously launched her natural make-up line, Your True Shade, she is hoping that children will see the endless possibilities and avenues to innovate that STEM offers.

“I remember what got me into science was when my mom bought me a little chemistry set, and I started mixing up things…and trying to find out what would happen if I threw this unto that,” she said.

“I just saw science as a game. It was fun,” she said. 

Plummer credited her mother, who was an early childhood teacher, for not only piquing her interest but indulging her. Something she is hoping more parents will begin to do with their children.

Plummer believes that children should be introduced to science through books as early as age three, as introducing them at high school is too late. 

The idea is to introduce children as young as three years old to science through the book “because introducing it to them at high school is a bit too late,” she reasoned.

She stressed the need for early exposure to capture not just children’s curiosity and imagination but their hearts for science to culture their passion. 

“Based on where countries are going now in terms of development and based on where Jamaica wants to go, we need engineers and technical people. The way I believe that we can start doing that is by introducing science to younger children. We can’t start when they are in high school. We have to start when they are young to ignite that little spark so that when they move up they will already have that love for technology and science,” she said.

“Science in the Sun” is aimed at children ages three to seven and follows the life of two siblings, Berlin and Christie – named for her grandmother- as they explore their world through science with the help of their parents.

Available on Amazon, the book details the “thrilling escapades” of the characters “from magnifying ants and creating their volcanic eruptions to mixing colours in water and unravelling the wonders of light refraction.” 

Plummer said she intends to publish 10 books in the series.

“My dream is to inspire children…to become future STEM stars, where curiosity sparks remarkable discoveries,” Plummer says in the book’s overview. 

“Making STEM an exhilarating adventure for kids, a gateway to curiosity and discovery. Creating thrilling experiences where each page sparks curiosity, fuels imagination, and unlocks the wonder of science!”