Elementary Science

Literary text to Support Science Instruction

Literary of fiction can also be used to support science. One picture book I hae used in the past to support my rocks & minerals unit was a book called Rocks in His Headby Carol Otis Hurst.

I used this book in Morning Meeting as I tried to integrate science into my whole day. The story is about her father's passion for rock collecting in this gently humorous picture book. "People said he had rocks in his pockets and rocks in his head. He didn't mind. It was usually true." As a boy, he collected rocks. He kept collecting rocks as an adult too. Then the Depression hit and he had to close his gas station and he had to find a job. When he didn't find a job, he went to the science museum, and the director noticed him. First he worked as a janitor and thenhe was named Curator of Mineralogy.

So I know how I used this book but I was wondering how someone else might use it? I am also trying to figure out how to use the best literature with student when there is only 1 copy in the library? What do you think?

Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33995 Activity Points

Hi Kathy,

I haven't read that book yet, but I will looking it up now! Here's how I would use this book:

I would begin by using the National Science Education Standards,K-4, Standard D Properties of Earth Materials and the Atlas of Science Literacy Rocks and Sediments conceptual strand to focus my lesson planning. Then, using the 5E Method, I would use this book to engage my students in learning about the rock cycle and to introduce my students to the vocabulary related to rocks and minerals. This book also has excellent cross-curricular ties that can be built on such as linking to a study of the Great Depression in Social Studies and learning about idioms like "rocks in his head" in language arts.

I have also run into the problem of only having one copy of a book for an entire classroom. I've used to different methods to deal with this problem. One method is reading the book during small group instruction. I set-up various stations related to a common topic. Several of the stations are independent work/practice stations, and one station is a reading station that is located at my kidney bean table. Then, working with 4-5 students I read through the book with a small reading group. Another method is to use a document reader or an opaque projector to display the book up on your whiteboard or screen so the entire class can easily see the book.

Thanks for sharing this book! I can't wait to try it out with my students!

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
41030 Activity Points

Hi All: I used several versions of the three little pigs to introduce my middle school students to the properties of matter. "The Three Habenaros" uses materials from the desert to build homes, everyone is familiar with the original book and there is one called "The Three Little Wolves and the Bfig Bad Pig" that if my memory serves me right is about urban building materials. For a younger level, reading portions of "The World of Pooh" and using the images of Tiger looking into a mirror to start an activity about reflection or showing the image of Pooh and Christopher Robins floating in an umbrella is a great starting point for learning about sinking and floating. In short the images in these books can unlock curiosity and serve as a starting point for new learning in an inquiry fashion.

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101510 Activity Points

Kathy asked, "I am also trying to figure out how to use the best literature with student when there is only 1 copy in the library? What do you think?"
I loved how Maureen set up stations as she used the book you mentioned, Kathy.
I went to a workshop in Denver a couple of summers ago. The presenters were from Jefferson County Schools. They modeled the BSCS 5 E Instructional Model and used Eric Carle's "Very Hungry Caterpillar" as the engagement phase for a lesson on Moth and Butterfly life cycles. The text was read and shared with the whole class via the classroom document camera. The presenters used "I wonder..." questions as they paged through and read the book. I now use this lesson model in my pre service teacher courses.
I loved the many literacy strategies that they shared as they continued with the lesson and progressed through the other 4 Es. The fictional book helped to illicit from their students both facts and and misunderstandings about butterflies. Also, Mr. Carle calls the pupa stage of the butterfly a cocoon in his book. It is important to teach the children the correct terminology and point out that fictional writings are not necessarily factual or truthful.
One of the literacy strategies that was used in this lesson model was a T-Chart of what the presenters called Wimpy and Muscle Words. Students would be observing actual butterfly larva specimens during the EXPLORE phase of the 5 Es. If they said the bodies were segmented, that would be placed in the muscle word column. If they said the worm had lines or dents, those were wimpy words. For appendages (muscle word) they might have said legs (wimpy), etc.

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86463 Activity Points

Hello everyone. My name is Etta Kimbrough and I am a student teacher through Southern Illinois University Carbondale. I am working on a similar assignment where I need to incorporate literature into a science lesson. My science lesson is a beginning lesson on magnets and magnetism for K - 4th grade. Students are using magnets of different types and sizes to manipulate materials like paper, wood, water, metals, and other magnets. While I understand to utilize the NSTA science standards and 5 E learning model in constructing the lesson, my dilemma is in finding literary books that would be good to incorporate into the lesson. While the library had plenty of non-fictional, scientific type books, I was hoping for possibly a fictional story that had magnets as part of the main element of the book. The librarians, nor I, could find anything. We looked under opposites attract, push and pull, magnets, and only found informational texts. Does anyone know of any fictional works that could be used in a lesson on magnets? I think that is one of the difficulties in incorporating literature into science; you find all of the non-fictional, scientific, informational types of books and not necessarily other types of literature. Of course, it does depend on the subject you are teaching and I guess magnets is one of those such subjects that doesn't have a lot of fictional works. I don't feel that it is a bad thing that sometimes you only find non-fiction books, but I guess what I am trying to say is that I think it would be better if more books about a particular subject of study could be found across many different types of literary genres.

Etta Kimbrough
Etta Kimbrough
210 Activity Points

Etta, There are two books, Picture-Perfect Science Lessons and More Picture-Perfect Science Lessons from NSTA Press. These books contain inquiry lessons on various topics. For each lesson, one or two trade books are suggested and used with the lesson that is written in the 5E format. I’ve attached the one chapter--The Magnetic Dog--which goes along with what you’re working on. The authors use two trade books with the lesson. Kathy

Attachments

That Magnetic Dog (Obsolete)

Kathy Sparrow
Kathy Sparrow
46710 Activity Points

Kathy, Thank you so much for this valuable resource. I really appreciate your help. Etta

Etta Kimbrough
Etta Kimbrough
210 Activity Points

Mindy from Tech Engineering posted an excellent resource to use with The Three Little Pigs in a separate topic. Click here to see her post.

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
41030 Activity Points

Hi Etta,

The Magnetic Dog chapter from picture perfect science lessons is an excellent resource! Another great resource that I've used with my students is More Everyday Science Mysteries. The link will take you to a chapter called "Magnet Derby". To search for fiction books that incorporate science topics, try the advanced search tool and search for trade books.

Best of luck with your student teaching!

Maureen

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
41030 Activity Points

I am wondering how the books and short pieces of texts that are mentioned here can be used not only for science but also for literacy instruction? For example, one of my all time favorites is Sheep in a Jeep that I have used multiple times when teaching a force and motion unit with students of all ages. The first thing I would do is read aloud the book straight through from beginning to end. Prior to reading, all students could work on using clues/pictures to identify main ideas by taking a picture walk through the book before any text was read. During that first reading, I would have kids clap their hands each time they hear a word that means "push" and put a finger on their nose each time they hear a word that means "pull". A vocabulary lesson is occurring without each being intentional, the intentionality is around the science content. The second reading is when we begin to explicitly use the book for literacy.All students could work on using clues/pictures to identify main ideas by taking a picture walk One thing you could with K-2 students is identify rhyming words and record them on a chart. For older students, you do a lesson on synonyms and homonyms and dictionary skills. They could research more complex vocabulary for some of the words "tug" "steep" "steer" Do you agree this could be used for literacy as well as science? What are other literary books that are currently being used in classrooms for science and literacy? Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33995 Activity Points

I am really enjoying this thread since tonight I just happened to spend a lot of time online researching some literature that I could use for an integrated science and language arts lesson. This current unit that I am working on will focus on rocks, but my next unit is going to focus on force and motion, so thank you Kathy for the great sharing and suggestions. I completely agree with you that Sheep in a Jeep would work well for both a science and language arts lesson. In the past, when I have worked with synonyms, I have made synonym wheels that the students can later refer to when they are writing. To make a wheel, you cut out two cardstock circles of the same diameter. With Sheep in a Jeep, you could make 2 wheels—one for “push” and one for “pull.” The key term (i.e. push/pull) would be written in the center of the front circle. Then along the perimeter of the second/back circle, the students could write the synonyms that they found for each word. Attach the two cardstock circles using a brat fastener, and cut out a little peekaboo niche in the front circle. Then students can turn the second/back circle and various synonyms for push/pull will appear through that peekaboo niche. The students can refer back to these wheels later to help them improve their word choice during writing. The book I decided to use this week in my class is Everybody Needs a Rock. I am going to start by reading the book with students, and then we will go outside for a rock hunt to find our own “perfect rocks.” We will spend some time in class exploring the rocks—testing their hardness, looking at their color, luster, etc. And then the literature connection that I hope to make will be to write a class poem about our rocks. Everybody Needs a Rock is written in a free verse poetic style, so I was going to help students identify some of the elements of free verse poetry, and then see if we can write our own poem about rocks together.

Jennine Tambio
Jennine Tambio
1355 Activity Points

I never would have thought to use children's books this way to teach Science! I'm glad that some of these books are easily accessible too. Thank you!

Tamara Leong
Tamara Leong
1015 Activity Points

I also like the idea of having a whole set of curriculum which encompasses language arts, math, science. With such a balance of all the subjects into one unit I think students will grasp concepts much faster and can see the connection the different subjects can have with each other. I wish the book companies would realize this or the curriculum coordinator for the schools in each state can think of something like that. What do you guys think?

Michael Leslie
Michael Leslie
2110 Activity Points

Michigan State University has a Science methods website with a subsection devoted to science in children's literature. https://www.msu.edu/~stanawa8/Science%20and%20Children's%20Literature.htm There is a list of reviewed trade books that can be used in elementary science instruction. These reviews include a brief description of the text and the science standards addressed.

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68525 Activity Points

This article from the Journal of Early Childhood Education provides an overview of use of literature to teach science concepts in the early years. Included in the paper is a list of the books considered in the study, organized according to the concepts address and suggestions on use of the text.

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68525 Activity Points

In this article you will find a discussion of how to use picture books to teach science process skills.

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68525 Activity Points

This earlier article also from the Journal of Early Childhood education includes a great list of books appropriate for linking science and literature. This is an older article and the prices are inaccurate, though many of the texts are still available.

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68525 Activity Points

When I read through this thread I must admit that it did not occur to me that literature might me a way to connect science for ELL. Yet instructional tools effective for ELL are essential to reach the growing number of students who fall in this category. I was excite to find this piece specifically addressing the use of literature to engage ELL in science content.

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68525 Activity Points

Pam - thank you for posting these amazing resources! Can you repost your link to U Mich? It is not working for me and I really want to see it! Thanks so much - Caryn

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

Thank you for posting the link to the article about ELL achievement in science. As an ESOL instructor who is able to see my ELLs only 1-2 times a week, I try to multitask while providing language instruction. Even with students who still need basic social vocabulary I have to teach topics like adjectives, verbs, or nouns using content words. I started with hesitation, mainly becuase I was not that knowledgeable in science. However, I realize there is no other way. The article here confirms what I start seeing with my ELLs. Their vocabulary grows because they use it for language excercise and then successfully in their classrooms completing tests or projects, having conversations with their classmates, or conducting experiments.

Juraj Duracka
Juraj Duracka
1390 Activity Points

Michael asks, "I wish the book companies would realize this or the curriculum coordinator for the schools in each state can think of something like that. What do you guys think?"
The NSTA Press and Science Store has lots of offerings to help science teachers connect with children's literature. One of my favorites is a free offering of 5 chapters from "Why Read Picture Books in Science Class?" by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan, the authors of the Picture-Perfect Science Book series. Besides including the Table of Contents for the other chapters in their book (where you can glean great ideas for children's books to use), the first five chapters provide the research and the strategies to incorporate children's literature into science inquiry lessons. I love how the ladies provide a section on how to find the perfect book and what to consider in so doing. I am wondering - Who has been to one of their workshops or has used their ideas in their classrooms? I signed up for their all day workshop at the New Orleans NSTA conference next month. I can't wait.
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86463 Activity Points

Carolyn have a great time at the workshop and thank you thank you for posting the free chapters from the book - I had not seen that before. to everyone: My school currently has a book of the month program - we buy a copy of one book for every classroom K-5th grade. A lesson plan (DI and grade appropriate) comes along with it. Families receive a blurb about the book in our school newsletter - that way a whole family can have a conversation based around the same book. It is a really nice idea and I'd like to extend it to science with a science book of the month. Any ideas?

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

It was called to my attention that the link top the Michigan State site was not working. Try this instead. https://www.msu.edu/~stanawa8/Science%20and%20Children%27s%20Literature.htm It worked for me Pam

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68525 Activity Points

Checkout Picture Perfect Science Lessons by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan (3-6). If you are interested in using picture books to guide inquiry, this is a must have. The book covers how to combine science and reading in a natural way with classroom lessons in physical science, life science, and earth and space science. Here are some titles that are featured in this resource book: [i]Batteries Included The Secret of Flight Down the Drain If I Built a Car Bugs! Dr. Xargle's Book of Earthlets A House for Hermit Crab Rice is Life Oil Spill Sheep in a Jeep Weird Friend: Unlikely Allies in the Animal Kingdom[/i] For K-4 ideas checkout More Picture-Perfect Science.

Dawn Nishimoto
Dawn Nishimoto
3015 Activity Points

Dawn, I so agree with you about the Picture Perfect Science books. I have used Dr. Sheep in A Jeep, and The Magnetic Dog to name a few. Another excellent resource we shouldn't forget is Christine Royce's Teaching through tradebooks which can be found in each month's Science and Children. This month's column is on Balance. There is a lesson for grades K-3 and one for grades 4-6. I have attached this month's column and you can find many others right here in the Learning Center. Kathy

Attachments

balance_(1).pdf (0.18 Mb)

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33995 Activity Points

by Michael Leslie, Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:57 AM
I also like the idea of having a whole set of curriculum which encompasses language arts, math, science. With such a balance of all the subjects into one unit I think students will grasp concepts much faster and can see the connection the different subjects can have with each other. I wish the book companies would realize this or the curriculum coordinator for the schools in each state can think of something like that. What do you guys think?

Hi Michael,

I completely agree with your statement that integrating subjects helps student achievement and comprehension. I recently taught in a district that had fantastic pacing guides for each subject, but unfortunately each individual pacing guide did not have correlate with other subjects. For instance, we read were slated to read The Very Hungary Caterpillar in the fall, and them scheduled to learn about butterfly life cycles in the spring. While this is one simple example, I spent hours revamping the "approved" schedule to integrate subjects and create cross-curricular connections. Additionally, since I was not following the pacing guides, I had to get approval from my administrator to teach "out of order". Setting up textbooks or district curriculums to encourage integrating subjects or thematic teaching would be a huge benefit to our students! Does anyone who favors integrated curriculums know of any research-based data that demonstrates increased student achievement by integrating subjects?

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
41030 Activity Points

One of my favorite books to use in science was the Firebug Connection by Jean Craighead George. I used it early in the year to introduce "inquiry thinking" Students get caught up in the mystery of figuring out what is happening to the firebugs( or lightning bugs as I called them). We were able to connect the steps the character goes through in the books to planing and carrying out an investigation. Great book. Do others have awesome books to use in specific units? Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33995 Activity Points

I use many books to support my third graders science knowledge. I also use a resource book to incorporate expository writing into my science program. The book is called Writing in Science by Betsy Rupp Fulwiler. The info for the book is as follows: Writing in Science How to Scaffold Instruction to Support Learning Betsy Rupp Fulwiler, Seattle Public Schools ISBN 978-0-325-01070-0 / 0-325-01070-6 / 2007 / 224pp / Paperback Imprint: Heinemann Grade Level: K-5 This has been a tremendously useful resource for use in my classroom!

Susan Grandick
Susan Grandick
3870 Activity Points

Susan, I am familiar with Betsy's work. I am curious. Do you follow her format and have a science writing time separate from investigative work? For those who do not know this resource, Betsy recommends that science writing be at a different time than the hands-on work. During science writing time, students might receive explicit instruction on how to write a conclusion using the data collected earlier. Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33995 Activity Points

Susan and Kathy - I have been reading this in the context of our new STEM lab (a converted classroom) Trying to encourage teachers to use the lab but also not to consider the lab where they do science, or have them only do the boring parts - like writing about their data- in their classroom. It has been hard to make everyone happy as they learn to juggle these ideas. Any ideas?

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

How to Make Writing in the STEM lab an exciting opportunity? Caryn as I think about this question, I begin to think about student engagement. If the unit and/or the investigation interests students or has some relevance to them, then the writing will not be boring.

I am interested in knowing if teachers have a special unit, they might want to teach in that new STEM lab... I think I would like to teach a Structures unit in the lab. Maybe in the classroom, I read Pop's Bridge by Eve Bunting aloud to the students to activate prior knowledge, but back in the classroom I ask students to brainstorm and record what they think they know about Structures. That brainstorm might include pictures, etc. I think students might enjoy this series of intitial science activities no matter what room.

My Structures example is just that, an example.

Other thoughts??

Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33995 Activity Points

Kathy - I think that is a great example and I am going to "run with the idea" next week! Thank you!
It was as if NSTA Press heard my query and delivered "Science the Write Way"! What a great resource - different authors sharing best practices for all kinds of writing in science!

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

Kathy, Since I am always looking for ways to squeeze in Science time because of all the required minutes for reading and math instruction, I find it necessary to have my science writing time separate, that way during the inquiry part we can focus on the investigations. I do talk to them about things that we can write about in their science notebooks and briefly discuss how we will approach that writing while I am walking around questioning students about their work. Students often have their own ideas about how they might write about their investigations. It then becomes an opportunity for me to lead them into new directions if there is a better way for them to record data or explain what they have observed.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

Margaret said "I find it necessary to have my science writing time separate, that way during the inquiry part we can focus on the investigations" I think that is a great way to approach science wrting. Betsy Fulwiler recommends just that. During that time she talks about teaching students how to write conclusions, intructing them in all the necessary components of a conclusion and then students use their data from their investigations. Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33995 Activity Points

That's the way I teach all aspects of science writing. With our limited time schedule it's just not feasible to do the investigations and teach writing skills and have students write in their notebooks. I usually have to stretch out writing lessons throughout the day by modeling a chart such as a venn diagram during morning meeting with a starter question such as How are pond snails different from guppies? That's gets them thinking about the previous days' investigations. They may have already written down their observations about each separate critter, but now it's time for a comparison. Later in the day they will make their own chart. I find that with young children and venn diagrams it's easier to give them a template that they can glue into their science notebooks.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

Hi Margaret, I like your idea of providing a template for your students. With all of the time constraints in our typical day, I've also found that it can be difficult to "fit" in everything that I want to teach in a day. At first I saw this as a real challenge. However, over time, I realized that this was a hidden gift. By incorporating writing and reading into other subjects such as science and social studies, I have been able to help my students develop an understanding of how subjects are related to each other. Maureen

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
41030 Activity Points

Maureen, That's exactly how I perceive it. When you hear students verbalize the connections between learning about writing with other subject matter, it is truly a bonus! I try to connect writing to all the subjects I teach.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

Margaret, I think I want to be a student in your classroom. The way you discuss connections and integration gives me goose bumps. I am thinking that when and if you begin implementing the Common Core in ELA you will easily nclude science as part of your instruction. Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33995 Activity Points

Our district has begun implementing the common core standards in kindergarten. The plan is to work their way up through the grades. It seems that second grade won't get any training until at least next school year, but I have ordered a resource to help me get familiar with them and get my feet wet now. I'm on a state committee that is reviewing the new science standards, and I can see that there will be many ways to make literacy connections to the required science content, processes and skills. BTW...Kathy, you are welcome to join my class anytime! The more the merrier! This week we begin inquiry activities on balance and motion. That is, if the weather doesn't interfere with school again!

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

Margaret, Field trip !! Unfortunately, I will have to live vicariously through your posts, so keep sharing your thoughts and ideas about connecting literacy to science. Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33995 Activity Points

Thanks for the list of children's book for science! I also love "Everybody Needs a Rock" by Byrd Baylor to introduce geology. The students can then find their perfect rock and use it to talk about properties of rocks. I also like "How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World" by Faith McNulty. The students really enjoy the book since all of them have experience with trying to dig a hole to the other side.

Shawna Fischer
Shawna Fischer
2300 Activity Points

Shawna, I love Everybody Needs a Rock! Not only is it great for getting the kids jump started with talking about the properties of rocks, but it is great if you teach descriptive writing. Students can describe their rocks to a friend (Knee to Knee and Eye to Eye), and then write about it.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

Margaret, Thanks for the suggestion! I will have to try that this year. I like the kids to go look for their rocks, but since I live in Hawaii most of the rocks look the same. They are always jealous of my rock collection from the mainland:) Sometimes I bring them back some unusual rocks I find at my parent's house in Washington. They have more ownership when it is their very own rock.

Shawna Fischer
Shawna Fischer
2300 Activity Points

I enjoyed reading all the great ideas in this topic. I just learned of a book called "If Rocks Could Sing". It's an alphabet book, each letter is a rock that has been found by the author. She also explains that it took her years to find the "k". I learned about this book in a conference and the speaker shared picture of rocks and had us share what we saw. She also brought the rocks themselves. When I had the rocks in my hand it was very hard to see images but looking at a scanned imaged really brought out the shadows and niches. It really takes some imagination and close observation to see other images in rocks. I think this would be a great companion to the book shared in the first post. Maybe using many different books about rocks that lead to different centers is a way to utilize only 1 copy of great literature.

Kehau Samuelu
DonnaLynn Samuelu
3485 Activity Points

DonnaLynn, Thanks for the reference to the alphabet book "If Rocks Could Sing." I will have to have it. Not only will it go with our study of rocks, but I will add it to my alphabet book collection. I use that for a reading center in my classroom and after students have used it for awhile, I challenge them to write their own alphabet books. I think I could also challenge them to find some of the rocks in the book. We live in an area that has many different kinds of rocks, and a lot of our students travel around quite a bit.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

Thank you so much for the Sheep in a Jeep idea. I can't wait to use this book with my first graders. :)

Sandra Slaven
Sandra Slaven
1950 Activity Points

There are some amazing trade books that you can order called iopeners. They are leveled so you can use them in guided reading groups. Our school purchased them and theyare great for teaching text features. They are just the right hook to catch hesitant readers. Also, National Geographic Explorer Magazine for elementary students are not costly and provide a full months full of science and language integration. I use them during reading centers. The website provides activities and each month the teacher edition comes with outstanding posters that tie in PERFECTLY with any concept. they laminate pretty well and can be used year after year.

Jenn McAdoo
Jenn McAdoo
2080 Activity Points

Jenn, Thanks for sharing about the iopeners. I am always on the lookout for leveled readers to use in guided reading groups, particularly nonfiction books.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

Jenn, I want to ditto your recommendation for the NationalGeographic Explorer, Pathfinder magazines. These magazines also provide a built in differentiation as well asl iteracy integration. I am going to have to investigate iopeners...They are new to me. Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33995 Activity Points

I also agree with the literary text to science text bridge. Student can get different kinds of perspectives on the same topic where one might not get through, like the textbook but say a story book on the same topic might make complete sense to them. For my fifth grade science class on the solar system we read a book called post cards from mars which is a little young but goes into each planet and then I have the students make their own post cards to their parents on a planet of their choice which is kind of a summary of sorts. The students like the book and the activity and it gives me an assessment to see how well they understand the subject.

Michael Leslie
Michael Leslie
2110 Activity Points

I attended a workshop today on the common core for lang arts and mathematics. One of the things they modeled was using literature in science to develop vocabulary. The interesting part was using read alouds within a certain lexile range...for 2nd and 3rd it might be 450-850. You would begin with a book in the lowest lexile (all on the same science topic) and gradually increase the difficulty with each book you read. This helps develop vocabulary for all students at the lowest and highest levels. I would then put the books in a basket or box for students to read during Read to Self time. Not only are you helping students to get a better understanding of the science concepts you are working with but you are also helping them to become better readers.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

I don't know if you all have had a chance to read your NSTA express yet that just showed up in your email, but there is an offer for Discover magazine that is too good to pass up. "What science topics are you so passionate about that they compel you to teach certain things in certain ways? Now NSTA has a new member benefit to provide you content that will help you do just that. We're pleased to be able to offer all current NSTA members a very significant discount on Discover Magazine—both the print and digital editions—available only to you. Subscribe for one year to either the print or digital edition and pay only $10 for each, or, choose both and pay only $15. That's an enormous (nearly 67%) discount off of the regular subscription rates, and still only half of the current best "off the street" discount of $19.95." I just subscribed to both print and online for $15.00. I use this magazine in my middle school classroom a lot to just read to the students when there is an extra 5 or 10 minutes for whatever reason. They love the stories, and everything is so up to date, it empowers them as they share what they learned with their parents, family members or friends at home. I know the reading level of the magazine might be high for quite a few elementary grade levels, but the content is fascinating. A good friend of mine lets me "borrow" her two daughters, one of which is just going into school, the other still a year away to read articles to. They can't wait for me to stop typing and read the "20 Things You Should Know About Autopsies" - okay, parts of that article may need to be skipped over, but still, they love NCIS and CSI and recognized the word "Autopsy".

Sandy Gady
Sandy Gady
43095 Activity Points

Sandy said.

I know the reading level of the magazine might be high for quite a few elementary grade levels, but the content is fascinating. A good friend of mine lets me "borrow" her two daughters, one of which is just going into school, the other still a year away to read articles to.



Short text like ones Sandy described from Discovery or others similar to it, are perfect to use use with elementary teachers if we teach students how to read it. Using a "close reading model" of complex text after an investigation would not only deepen sciece knowledge but also address one or more of the Common Core Reading standards for a particualr grade level. I see possibilities of using a Discovery article with 3rd thrugh 5th grade student. Not on their own but with support of an instruction model. I will go into more detail on that in a follwo up post.

What are others thinking as they get closer to implement the Common Core in their classrooms?

KAthy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
33995 Activity Points

Sandy, thanks for the information the NSTA member discount for Discover magazine! What a fantastic deal. I also like to use periodicals to supplement, and enhance, science education in my classroom. Kathy said the "Short text like ones Sandy described from Discovery or others similar to it, are perfect to use use with elementary teachers if we teach students how to read it. Using a "close reading model" of complex text after an investigation would not only deepen sciece knowledge but also address one or more of the Common Core Reading standards for a particualr grade level". I completely agree. Although we focus on teaching reading at the elementary level, we tend not to focus on technical reading. As an elementary teacher, I strive to give my students opportunities to read authentic science materials from sources other than our text book. As Kathy suggested, it is very important to not only introduce our students to the material, but also to teach them how to read and interpret the information they read. Using models like the Close Reading Model help students develop the skills to effectively read technical material. By teaching young students the skills to read technical material, we are setting them up for success as they move through school.

As Sandy pointed out, so material in periodicals may be above grade level. Here are a few grade-level resources that I like to use:
Scholastic Science Magizines
Science Weekly
National Geographic for Kids
I'm sure there are many more resources and look forward to hearing about other resources from fellow educators!

Maureen

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
41030 Activity Points

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers