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Jack and the Geniuses at the Bottom of the World

Author: Bill Nye and Gregory Mone, Nicholas Iluzada (illustrator)
Lower Age: 8
Upper Age: 12
Price: $13.95
Year Added: 2017
Product Video:

Anyone is capable of doing amazing things in the world, even if they’re not a “genius.” Jack explains at the very beginning he doesn’t consider himself a genius when compared to his foster siblings, Ava and Matt. However, that doesn’t make him any less equipped to contribute to solving the problems that they run up against in Jack and the Geniuses at the Bottom of the World. While reading about the misadventures of Jack, his siblings, and their new scientist friend, Dr. Henry Witherspoon, children between the ages of eight and twelve will see examples of engineering thinking and design as they find solutions to problems, generate unique ideas to solve tricky problems, and ultimately bring their ideas to life and into the action. A project of Bill Nye the Science Guy, this book also introduces children to real life science concepts as Jack, Ava, and Matt travel to Antarctica and solve the mystery of the missing scientist while developing designs using those concepts, such as water density and self-driving cars. The book promotes engineering thinking and design practices, while showing that anyone can be a part of a team of engineers and scientists - not only 'geniuses' - because everyone has the potential to persevere and think creatively about the world.

Teacher Guide:


Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about:

Define a problem, ask questions about the problem, make observations, learn about the problem, idea generation, plan a solution, try the solution, apply mathematics, apply science, work in a team


Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: A problem to be solved by developing a new or improved object, tool, or process, a user, constraints


Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift: Critical thinking, creative thinking, working collaboratively, design, problem solving, perseverance, logical thinking



Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews
    • Rating:  NA
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  • Parents Reviews
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  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews
    • Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “This book takes the reader through many adventures and experiences involving designing solutions to problems, coming up with unique ideas to problems, coming up with unique ideas and working through the design process to bring them to life. It really teaches readers about collaboration, problem solving, and creative thinking in a unique and engaging way.”
      • “Although it is geared more towards science learning in particular, the characters in the book practice creating different things to help get them through the problems they come up against. Largely, the book gives a good example of good collaboration skills in the way that Jack and his step siblings work together to solve the main problem in the book (the missing scientists). Also, it shows that anyone can be a part of a team of engineers/scientists - not just 'geniuses' - because everyone is capable of doing amazing things in the world.”