We are always on the lookout for books that are educational as well as entertaining. When you have a reluctant reader, books that stimulate discussions about science and engineering are especially useful – one book to encourage reading skills and STEM learning – just what we are always looking for. For that reason, we were interested to learn about the Galactic Academy of Science series.
“With time travel and mysteries that need solving, the Galactic Academy of Science (G.A.S.) series instructs readers on how to think like scientists. Under the guidance of a Dude or Dudette from the future, the middle school characters are faced with treacherous, present-day crimes that require a historical knowledge of science to be solved. From investigating problems to analyzing data and constructing explanations and solutions, this series blends elements of sci-fi with educational methods that distill the essential thinking habits of scientists and engineers.”
The Desperate Case of the Diamond Chip
When the Russian scientist Professor Gufov accuses Clinton of stealing his invention, all Mae and Clinton want to do is get away and work on their science project. But that’s before a Dudette from the future tells them about the Galactic Academy of Science and sends them on a mission back in time to beef up their scientific knowledge. Mae and Clinton meet Dmitri Mendeleev, Niels Bohr, John Bardeen, William Shockley, and Robert Noyce. They break up a séance, escape the Gestapo, jump from a plane, and return with enough understanding of how electronics work that they can tackle the mystery of the Russian scientist and search for the missing diamond chip.
The Furious Case of the Fraudulent Fossil
On a museum visit, Benson and Anita meet a famous paleontologist showing off his newest fossil find: a missing link between dinosaurs and birds. But something doesn’t feel right. Then a Dude from the future sends them back in time to visit an ancient Chinese scientist, dig a huge sea monster out of a cliff, and outwit a fossil thief. Benson and Anita need to root out and expose a fraudulent fossil.
The Vicious Case of the Viral Vaccine
Mae and Clinton are fighting about whether a new vaccine is safe. But when protests against the vaccine threaten to turn violent, Selectra Volt insists that the two middle schoolers go on a mission together to find the truth. Mae and Clinton travel through time from ancient India to Europe, Australia, and North America. They witness the fight against smallpox, rabies, polio, and other viral illnesses as they visit Louis Pasteur, Jonas Salk, Macfarlane Burnet, Maurice Hilleman, and Andrew Wakefield. Will they return in time to uncover a vicious plot involving the new vaccine?
The Harrowing Case of the Hackensack Hacker
The new tablet Anita and Benson bought for the engineering fair crashes whenever a creepy face flashes on the screen. The Dude from the Future Quarkum Phonon, while briefing them on a new mission for the Galactic Academy of Science, fades away with a look of terror on his face. Now Anita and Benson must race against time to learn about computer hacking, expose the enemies of G.A.S., try to save Quarkum and foil the computer virus that threatens to destroy the future of Earth.
The Baffling Case of the Battered Brain
Is the awkward stranger taking bribes to throw games? When Clinton hits his head in the championship soccer game, the stranger gets him benched, and Clinton’s team loses. Determined to nail the bribe-taker, Clinton and Mae take on a new G.A.S. mission—a journey across three continents and 4,000 years to learn about concussion and the brain.
The Cryptic Case of the Coded Fair
Dr. G and his companions are using coded messages in a plot to corrupt the International Science Fair. Quarkum Phonon, a Dude from the future, calls on four middle school students for help. Benson and Anita work on their computers while two new G.A.S. recruits, Ella and Shomari, travel through time, facing kidnappers, thieves, and spies in their scramble to learn about codes and ciphers. Across two millennia and five countries, they meet Julius Caesar, Thomas Jefferson, Alan Turing, and others, while learning about substitution ciphers, frequency analysis, wheels, cylinders, book codes, the Verginère Table, the Enigma, and public and private keys. But will they break Dr. G’s code in time to save the science fair? A computer-based online extension that allows readers to create and decode their own secret messages is also included.
The Perilous Case of the Zombie Potion
When a corrupt Dude from the future threatens to harm Sam’s mother unless he steals a zombie potion from his scientist father, Clinton and Mae know they have to help. This time-traveling journey on the science and history of death takes the G.A.S. crew to China, Italy, Belgium, Haiti, New Guinea, Arizona, and Indonesia. Along the way, Sam faces his greatest fears and grows braver, but when disaster threatens his father’s research camp, can he figure out how to save his father, outwit the evil Dr. G, and turn the tables on the bullies who have been tormenting him?