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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: science, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Coyote Moon- Blog Tour and Giveaway

Coyote Moon  by Maria Gianferrari illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline Roaring Brook Press, 2016 Grades K-5 Today I'm taking part in the Coyote Moon blog tour. The book officially hits shelves tomorrow. As part of the blog tour, I'm giving away one copy of Coyote Moon donated by the publisher. The details and entry form can be found at the bottom of this page. The engaging narrative of Coyote

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2. Gorillas Up Close

Gorillas Up Close   by Christena Nippert-Eng Photographs by John Dominski and Miguel Martinez Henry Holt and Company, 2016 Grades 3-6 The majority of the animal books in the 500s section of my school library focus on animals in the wild. Occasionally there are books about animals that were rescued and rehabilitated such as Winter's Tail: How One Dolphin Learned to Swim Again or Owen & Mzee: The

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3. Ursula K. LeGuin for Seattle Review of Books

An illustrated portrait of the author for Seattle Review of Books.

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4. Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions

Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton illustrated by Don Tate Charlesbridge, 2016 Grades K-5 Chris Barton and Don Tate collaborated on last year's successful picture book biography, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch. I'm pleased that the duo is back with the engaging picture book about engineer, Lonnie Johnson. Johnson was a creative and inventive child who

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5. The Great White Shark Scientist

The Great White Shark Scientist  by Sy Montgomery photographs by Keith Ellenbogen Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016 Grades 5 and up It's Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, and it's the perfect time to review the latest Scientists in the Field book, The Great White Shark Scientist. Author, Sy Montgomery, and photographer, Keith Ellenbogen, have teamed up on another exciting marine biology story

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6. Science & Celebration – Happy 4th of July

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Independence Day is here; this weekend fireworks will light up the sky around the nation in celebration. But…how are fireworks made? And…who thought to send brightly colored explosions into the sky?

For Arbordale celebration and science go hand in hand, so here is a quick history chemistry and physics lesson in fireworks!

History

The Chinese were experimenting with exploding tubes of bamboo as early as 200 B.C., but it wasn’t until 900 A.D. that Chinese chemists found a mix that when stuffed in bamboo and thrown in a fire produced a loud bang. Over the next several hundred years experimentation lead to the first rockets, but as fire power began to fly in the air, celebrations also began to light up the sky.

Soon firework technology began to spread across Europe to Medieval England. The popularity of celebrating war victories and religious ceremonies with fireworks displays grew. The Italian pyrotechnic engineers are first credited with adding color to their fireworks in the 1830’s. The Europeans brought their knowledge of fireworks to America, and the first recorded display was in Jamestown in 1608.

fireworks1John Adams predicted that fireworks would be part of the Fourth of July celebrations on July 3, 1776 with a letter to Abigail Adams where he said, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

And so on the first anniversary of the country and each year we celebrate with Pomp and Parade, ending the day with Illuminations!

The Science

The Chinese put bamboo in the fire and the air pocket would make a bang when it was heated to a certain temperature. Today we have much better technology and fireworks are a little more complicated. The basic science has not changed, but the delivery methods have gotten much more accurate and high tech giving celebrators a bigger better show.

We know a tube is our vehicle, but how does it travel to the sky?

A mix of combustible solid chemicals is packed into the tube, along with neatly arranged fireworks3metals. The metals determine the color (copper=blue/green, calcium=red), and the arrangement determines shape (circle, smiley faces, stars).

When the heat activates the chemicals, the excitement begins. The reaction is started by either fire or electricity through a fuse. As the heat begins to travel into the tube the chemicals become activated that reaction produces other chemicals such as smoke and gasses. The chemical reaction creates the release of energy; the energy is converted into the heat, light, sound and movement that we see up in the sky.

Physics takes over!

The Conservation of Energy Law says that the chemical energy packed inside that tube is equal to the energy of the released plus the energy left after the reaction. A professional firework in a large tube packed with chemicals creates a much bigger light show and bang than a tiny firecracker that jumps with a small bang.

The fireworks fly because of Newton’s Third Law. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” When the gasses are released from the chemical reaction they shoot down with force cause the firework to lift up into the air.

Finally, Why are fireworks always symmetrical?

fireworks2Conservation of Momentum says that momentum must be the same before and after the explosion. In other words, when the explosion occurs the movement must be balanced.

Now that you have learned a little about the science behind fireworks enjoy watching them on this Independence Day. But remember, fireworks are dangerous and best left to the professionals!


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7. Science Comics: Coral Reefs - Cities of the Ocean by Maris Wicks AND Dinosaurs - Fossils and Feathers by MK Reed and Joe Flood, 120 pp, RL 3


The fantastic publisher FirstSecond, whose motto is precisely and perfectly, "Great graphic novels for every reader," started a new non-fiction series for kids this year. Science Comics: Get to Know Your Universe debuts with superb creators and subjects, Coral Reef: Cities in the Ocean by Maris Wicks and Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers by MK Reed  and Joe Flood

Wicks, author of the excellent non-fiction graphic novel for kids, Human Body Theater, worked as a part-time program educator at the New England Aquarium and just spent two months doing scientific outreach for  Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on board the R/V Atlantis! Her passion and knowledge shine through in Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean and her introduction is definitely worth reading, especially when she tells readers that we, "make choices that impact the environment with every dollar you spend, every action you take, and every vote that you cast," and encourages us to plant a milkweed, listing all the benefits of giving Monarch butterflies a food source and breeding habitat that can trickle down and benefit the dying coral reefs. With humor and an understanding for her audience, Wicks starts big with a first chapter titled, "What is Coral?" describing the classification system. Chapter Two, "How and Where Coral Reefs are Formed," where I learned that, despite the fact that coral reefs occupy about 1% of the earth's surface, cora reefs are home to more than 25% of all the animals found in the ocean! Chapter Three, "The Coral Reef Ecosystem Explored" takes a closer look at the 25% of the sea life living there and Chapter Four, "How are Coral Reefs Connected to the Rest of the Planet?" is the longest and possibly most important chapter in the book. From start to finish, Wicks makes Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean as vibrantly bright and compelling as a healthy coral reef with her popping palette and engaging writing style. A glossary, bibliography and additional resources included in the back matter.




I have to, with great embarrassment, confess that, despite learning a fair bit about dinosaurs as each of my three children went through that phase of fascination, I tend to think of them as static. Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers, by MK Reed and Joe Flood, with an introduction by a dinosaur expert, changed my mind in a big way. In his introduction alone, Leonard Finkleman, Ph.D points out the many things that continue to be discovered about dinosaurs, as well as dinosaurs themselves, including the fact that once we didn't even know that dinosaurs lived on every continent. He goes on to write that Reed and Flood bring a "balance of science, philosophy, and history," to their book that is, "informative, funny, and, above all else, imaginative," noting that the lesson of Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers is that scientific discovery is very different from normal discovery. Finkleman writes, "Rather than limiting our imaginations, scientific discovery lets us imagine more about the world around us." With that in mind, Wicks and Flood follow paleontologists through history as they try to solve the greatest mystery of all, what happened to the dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers begins with a little time traveling, showing readers how ancient humans discovering dinosaur fossils thought they were anything from cyclopes to elephants to griffins. In the year 1800, these ideas changed radically when Mary Anning made remarkable finds on the Dorset coast, spending the next 35 years fossil hunting. They also detail the backhanded, sometimes dishonest machinations of the men who made these discoveries and pronouncements and delivered papers about these dinosaurs.



Joe Flood's illustrations are perfectly matched to the subject matter of Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers. While the illustrations of the dinosaurs are full of action and expression. The panels with humans present more of a challenge, because of the mostly Victorian time period and somewhat static nature of their roles int he story, yet Flood makes these compelling, especially through the expressions of the characters. There are notes, a glossary and further reading as well as two superb representations of the periods of the dinosaurs. Despite all this amazing information and illustrations, my favorite part of Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers comes at the end when the author and illustrator put themselves on the page an error in the text. There are 11 years between my oldest and youngest child. I learned that the big herbivore with the long neck was called the brontosaurus when my first child went through her dinosaur phase. By the time my youngest was going through his we learned that it was now reclassified as an Apatosaurus. On this page, Reed and Flood explain that, a few weeks before this book was due at the printer, researchers concluded that there was in fact enough difference between the two to make the Brontosaurus its own genus again, with a fact box noting that the Brontosaurus is now, "MK and Joe's least favorite dinosaur." With humor and knowledge, Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers proves that dinosaurs are anything but static.




Coming October, 2016 and February, 2017



Source: Review Copies

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8. Prairie Dog Song

Prairie Dog Song: The Key to Saving North America's Grasslands by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore Lee and Low Books, 2016 Grades K-5 Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trombore have earned many honors and praises for their picture books including the 2014 Robert F. Sibert Medal for Parrots Over Puerto Rico. Their new nonfiction picture book highlights the role prairie dogs play in maintaining the balance

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9. Under Earth, Under Water

Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizieliński (@hipopotam) started a revolution here in the UK, with the publication by Big Picture Press back in 2013 of their now famous Maps. With that beautifully produced book we started to see something of new departure for children’s non-fiction, with publishers realising that there was an appetite for gorgeously illustrated and finely produced information books which didn’t look or feel like school textbooks.

Since then we’ve seen several new non-fiction imprints established, dedicated to bringing us eye-catching, unusual and sumptuous non-fiction for children and young people, such as Wide Eyed Editions and 360 Degrees. This is great news, especially for younger children who report choosing to read non-fiction (42% of 7-11 year olds) almost as much as they do fiction (48.2% of 7-11 year olds, source), though you’d never guess this from the imbalance in titles published and reviewed.

underearthunderwatercoverIt’s wonderful to see the return of the founders of the non-fiction revolution with a new title, Under Earth, Under Water, a substantial and wide-ranging exploration of what lies beneath the surface of the globe.

Split into two halves, allowing you to start from either end of the book by turning it around to explore either what lies beneath the earth, or under the oceans, this compendium of startling facts and quirky, fresh illustrations makes the most of its large format (a double page spread almost extends to A2), with great visual and verbal detail to pour over and a real sense of going down, down, down across the expanse of the pages.

The Earth pages cover everything from burrowing creatures to plant life in the soil, via extracting natural resources to industrial underground infrastructure. Tunnels, caves, digging up fossils and plate tectonics are all included in this rich and varied buffet brought together though a simple concept – simply exploring what is underneath our feet.

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The Water pages explore aquatic life right from the surface down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, ocean geography, human exploration with the aid of diving equipment, the history of submarines and even shipwrecks.

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Lavishly produced, with gorgeously thick paper it is a delight to hold this book in your hands. Wonderful design, featuring lots of natural reds and browns in the Earth section and soothing shades of blues and green in the Water section, ensures exploring the diverse content is a visual treat as much as it is a spark for thinking about the world around us in new ways.

My only question mark over Under Earth, Under Water is the lack of an index. Maybe this makes it more like a box of treasures to rummage in and linger over, the sort of space where you can’t be sure what gems you’ll dig up. Although perhaps not a resource from which to clinically extract information, Under Earth, Under Water offers a great deal to explore and a very enjoyable journey to the centre of the earth.

burrow

There’s so much we could have “played” in Under Earth, Under Water. We toyed with making submarines, visiting caves, planting seeds to watch roots grow, but in the end the animal burrows won out, and we decided it was time to make our own. This began with papier mache and balloons…

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…which when dry were set into a cardboard box frame, and surrounded by layers of “soil” i.e. different coloured felt, to recreate the layering of different soil and rock types.

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Then the burrows needed filling! Sylvanian families came to the rescue, along with nature treasures gathered from the garden.

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And soon we had a dollshouse with a difference! (Can you spot the bones and other archaeological finds waiting to be dug up from the soil??)

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Whilst making our underground burrow we listened to:

  • Underwater Land by Shel Silverstein and Pat Dailey
  • Underground Overground Wombling Free….
  • Going Underground by The Jam

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading Under Earth, Under Water include:

  • Watching live video footage from NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer in the Mariana Trench!
  • Reading Above and Below by Patricia Hegarty and Hanako Clulow. This books explores similar territory to Under Earth, Under Water – but for slightly younger children – and makes great use of split pages.
  • Digging to see what’s under the earth in your garden. We did exactly this, as a mini archaeological excavation inspired by Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
  • Creating your own underwater volcano
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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher, Big Picture Press. The book was translated by Antonia Lloyd Jones although she is not credited in the book.

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    10. Bug Books for Budding Nature Detectives

    We've curated a list of some truly wonderful and entertaining bug books for kids ages 4 to 99. We've also included the game Bug Bingo, and it's the bees-knees.

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    11. Monthly Book List: Our Favorite Books For May

    The school year is coming to a close and it’s time to stock up for summer reading. We have five great books for you!

    This month, our book list features a sweet story about an unconventional animal family, an adorable picture book that celebrates determination, a nonfiction guide to becoming a backyard scientist, and a book that teaches you how to stand up to their fears. For mature readers, the first-ever graphic novel to receive a Caldecott Honor will make for an engrossing read.

    For Pre-K –K (Ages 3-6):

    little_pink_pupLittle Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby

    Get ready to say “Awww!” every time you turn the page! The real-life photos of a tiny little pig being raised by dachshunds is a heart-warming story that promotes acceptance and reminds us that everyone deserves love.

     

     

    For 1st and 2nd Grade (Ages 6-8):

    balloon_isabel_1A Balloon for Isabel by Deborah Underwood

    This adorable picture book is both a perfect read-aloud and an ideal graduation gift! It’s a joyful celebration of creativity, determination, and creative problem-solving. We can’t get enough of this one!

     

     

     

    For 3rd & 4th grade (Ages 8-10):

    citizen_scientistsCitizen Scientists by Loree Griffin Burns

    Anyone can be a scientist in this kid-friendly, non-fiction gem! Kids will learn how to observe, conduct research, collect data, and be part of four unique scientific discoveries that can happen anywhere — in a backyard, a field, or even a city park.

     

     

     

    For 5thand 6th Grade (Ages 10-12):

    liberation_of_gabriel_1The Liberation of Gabriel King by K.L. Going

    Warm, wonderful, and unforgettable, this is the terrific story of a boy whose best friend teaches him to stand up to his fears – from spiders to bullies and more. A perfect read for summer!

     

     

     

    Grades 7 & up (Ages 13+):

    this_one_summerThis One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

    Both hopeful and heartbreaking, this beautiful book is the first graphic novel to be awarded a Caldecott Honor. Mature teens will find it captivating and will readily relate to its coming-of-age explorations of complex friendship and family relationships.

    The post Monthly Book List: Our Favorite Books For May appeared first on First Book Blog.

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    12. Guest Post: Jennifer Swanson on Nonfiction Picks Up STEAM!

    By Jennifer Swanson
    for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

    If you’ve been to a bookstore lately, you may have noticed the STEAM-y new trend in nonfiction children’s books.

    No, I’m not talking about romance novels, it’s STEAM—Science Technology Engineering Art and Math. From picture books to middle grade, to YA, STEAM topics are hot right now.

    The STEAM books can include biographies and histories of scientists, artists, and engineers, but also topics that range from the simple:

    Miranda Paul’s book Water is Water (Roaring Brook, 2015). It gives a beautiful and lyrical explanation of the water cycle for young readers.

    To the complex:

    Nancy Castaldo’s book, The Story of Seeds: From Mendel's Garden to Your Plate, and How There's More of Less to Eat Around the World on Seeds (Houghton Mifflin, 2016), talks about the genetics of plants.

    And my own Super Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up (Charlesbridge, 2016) which introduces the reader to the cutting edge science through high performance sports.

    So, how do you jump on board this STEAM-y trend?

    Here are a few tips:

    1. Ask questions like a kid.

    Kids are naturally inquisitive. They are always asking how things work, why things happen, and where things come from.

    Tap into your kid-side and find a topic that you’re curious about. Then dig deep and look for the cool aspects of it. Kids love trivia. See if you can find something that will make your reader say, “Hmmmm…. I didn’t know that.” Or “Wow! That’s so cool!”

    For example: Your brain can store up to 2.5 petabytes of knowledge—That’s like 300 years of T.V. shows!

    2. Think like a kid

    Kids want to understand so when explaining things, break complex ideas into simple ones. The best way is to use kid-friendly examples, something that taps into the knowledge they have.

    For instance, instead of saying something is 10meters tall, say it’s 3 stories high.

    One hundred twenty yards becomes as big as a football field.

    A nanoparticle is 100,000 times smaller than the edge of a piece of paper.

    3. Talk like a kid

    Use kid-friendly language. Activate your words! Use short sentences to amp up the excitement or tension. Use longer sentences for explanation to make sure your readers understand the concepts you want to get across. Then mix things up. Put short sentences after long sentences. Add endings like, “Now that’s tiny!” or “Bet you didn’t know that.” It makes your tone more exciting and conversational.

    4. Be gross like a kid

    Sometimes the best way to capture your reader with science is to gross them out. They are, after all, kids.

    For example: Did you know that in one day, your feet can produce more than 1/4th of a gallon of sweat. (P- Ewww!)

    5. Tap into a kid’s imagination

    Children have very vivid imaginations. By using fun rhyming, rhythmic language, and amazing descriptions, you will grab their attention and get them to think. You can also fill your book with awesome illustrations and photographs to get your reader to visualize what is happening in the book.

    Following these tips may help you to STEAM into nonfiction with your own books!

    Cynsational Notes

    Jennifer Swanson is a self-professed science geek and the author of over twenty-five nonfiction and fiction books for kids. She is the author of Brain Games (NGKids, 2015) and the forthcoming Super Gear. Her book How Hybrid Cars Work (The Child’s World) received a starred review from Booklist and also a Top 10 Books for Youth 2012 Award from Booklist Online.

    Several of Jennifer’s other books have received “highly recommended” reviews from the National Science Teacher Association, as well as School Library Journal. Her favorite saying to her students is to “notice the science all around you.”

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    13. Pollution Control

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    14. A timeline of the dinosaurs [infographic]

    Dinosaurs, literally meaning 'terrible lizards', were first recognized by science, and named by Sir Richard Owen (who preferred the translation ‘fearfully great’), in the 1840's. In the intervening 170 years our knowledge of dinosaurs, including whether they all really died out 65 million years ago, has changed dramatically. Take a crash course on the history of the dinosaurs with our infographic.

    The post A timeline of the dinosaurs [infographic] appeared first on OUPblog.

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    15. Animal Bites- New Animal Planet Series

    Ocean Animals (Animal Bites series) by Laaren Brown Liberty Street, an imprint of Time Inc. Books, 2016 Grades K-5 Polar Animals (Animal Bites series) by Laaren Brown Liberty Street, an imprint of Time Inc. Books, 2016 Grades K-5 Today is Earth Day, and it's the perfect time to highlight the new Animal Bites series by Animal Planet. Published by Time Inc., the series was released earlier this

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    16. Rocket-Bye, by Carole P. Roman | Dedicated Review

    Rocket-Bye is one of the latest and greatest picture books from award-winning author, Carole P. Roman.

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    17. Pogo: A New Imprint from Jump!

     Jump! has been publishing nonfiction for children since 2012. The publisher known for Bullfrog Books for PreK-2 readers, has a new imprint released this year. Pogo features science books for grades 2-5. Books released under the Pogo imprint cover life science, earth science, physical science, and engineering/technology. Each book incorporates a variety of text features including sidebars,

    0 Comments on Pogo: A New Imprint from Jump! as of 4/19/2016 2:32:00 AM
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    18. How to Be an Explorer in Your Own Backyard: The Olinguito Activity Kit and Teacher’s Guide

    Have you ever wanted to take a trip to the cloud forest? Explore the Andes of Ecuador? Discover a new species? Well, you’re in luck.

    With ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito from A to Z! travel to the unique world of the cloud forest and discover the bounty of plants, animals, and other organisms that live there as you help a zoologist look for the elusive olinguito, the first new mammal species identified in the Americas since 1978.olinguito spread 1

    But the adventure doesn’t stop there. Anyone can learn to be an explorer in their own backyard with the FREE Olinguito Activity Kit and Teacher’s GuideLearn more about the cloud forest and other ecosystems, including all of the important animals and the adaptations that help them survive in their environment with the many interdisciplinary ideas, projects, and engaging activities.

    Content themes and subjects covered:

    • ecosystems and habitats
    • biodiversity
    • animal classification and adaptation
    • vertebrates and invertebrates
    • competition and predation
    • world geography

    Here’s a preview of the types of engaging projects and activities youOlinguito Activity Sheet.indd can find in the Olinguito Activity Kit and Teacher’s Guide:

    Observe an Ecosystem!

    You will need:

    • a notebook
    • a pen or pencil
    • a camera
    • a thick, old paperback book
    1. Make note of the time of day you are making your observations. Is it morning, afternoon, or night?
    2. Record all the plants and organisms you see, including trees, shrubs, bushes, grasses, ferns, mosses, and lichens.
    3. Record all the animals you see in the area, including insects, arachnids, mollusks, reptiles, birds and mammals.
    4. Gather fresh leaves of different shapes from trees and shrubs and put each separately between two pages of the paperback book. You may also gather small, colorful flowers or flower petals and put them between pages of the book.
    5. Take photos of any animals you see.
    6. Once you are back inside, place the paperback book under a pile of heavy books for a week or two to let you pressed leaves and flowers dry.

    Design a Cloud Forest Travel Brochure!Olinguito Activity Sheet.indd

    Have students research cloud forests in the Andes and create an informative and persuasive travel brochure. Include headings, subheadings, pictures, maps, and informative captions.

    • Where are the cloud forests located?
    • What plants and animals live there?
    • Why are cloud forests valued or important?
    • What is the climate like?
    • What will people see there?
    • What environmental and human threats do they face?
    • Why should someone make the cloud forest his or her next vacation destination?

    Create a Cloud Forest Alphabet or Glossary Book:

    • card stock
    • hole puncher
    • string or twine
    • art decorating supplies (crayons, colored pencils, markers. etc.)

    Alphabet Book: include the featured letter, a picture or drawing of the featured plant or animal, and the name of the plant or animal.

    Plant/Animal Glossary Book: include the name of the plant or animal, a picture or drawing of the featured plant or animal, and an informative description of the plant or animal: where does it live? what does it eat? how is it classified (plant or animal, vertebrate or invertebrate, etc.)?

    For more fun and exciting activity ideas, including I-Spy Fun and learning to create you own pressed leaf print, check out and download the FREE Olinguito Activity Kit and Teacher’s Guide.

    You can purchase a copy of ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito, from A to Z! : Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Unveiling the Cloud Forest on our website here.

    veronicabioVeronica has a degree from Mount Saint Mary College and joined LEE & LOW in the fall of 2014. She has a background in education and holds a New York State childhood education (1-6) and students with disabilities (1-6) certification. When she’s not wandering around New York City, you can find her hiking or hanging out with her dog Milo in her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY.

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    19. Human Body Theater: A Non-Fiction Revue by Maris Wicks, 240 pp, RL 4


    Human Body Theater: A Non-Fiction Revue, the new graphic novel by Maris Wicks is a fantastic way to learn a vast amount of information in a very fun format. Wicks is the illustrator of one of my favorite non-fiction graphic novels, Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas, written by Jim Ottaviani. In eleven acts, a skeleton takes readers through the main systems of the body, beginning with the skeletal system and working up at the excretory system just before intermission. After that, five more systems are visited, from the endocrine system to the reproductive, immune and nervous systems, ending with the five senses. And, as you can see, Wicks's illustrations are fantastic. Crisp and clear, with a bright color palette and images outlined in black, Human Body Theater is a treat to look at that you will find yourself poring over.

    After a quick introduction to the hardworking stage hands, the cells, bones then muscles are explored. I'll be honest, I have vague memories of learning about the human body in my high school biology class and it was largely uninteresting and forgettable. However, Wicks's illustrations and presentation are so inviting that I genuinely enjoyed my trip through the human body! I guess giving faces and smiles to things like a cytoplasm, a Gogli body and atoms is just entertaining enough to keep my attention. To illustrate how the heart and the lungs work together to supply the body with oxygen, Wicks brings two, pink oxygen molecules in tutus on stage to dance readers through the process. 



    The Blood Bus takes readers through the cardiovascular system and a peanut butter and banana sandwich explains carbohydrates then, with a note of glee exclaims, "But what's really exciting is that I'm going to get eaten!" The scene ends with the natural conclusion. There is a splash in the toilet on stage and the skeleton thanking the sandwich for an "informative performance." There are also brief forays into heartburn, constipation and the fact that stomach aches, constipation, vomiting and diarrhea can be caused by the brain and the benefits of relaxing and removing stress for the whole body.


    Human Body Theater very tactfully covers the reproductive system, starting with the endocrine system and hormones. Wicks very tactfully uses descriptions rather than depictions for this scene. While there is a sperm and an egg with faces that talk, along with anatomical images of the sex organs, many readers might not even realize what they are looking at. Menstruation and erections are covered along with other changes that puberty brings, like body odor, pimples, hair growth, voice changing and breast development. The scene ends with pregnancy, birth and infancy. After a romp through the five senses, the skeleton ends the show by putting on some skin, then quickly stepping behind the curtain for some clothes.

    In an excellent move, Wicks includes a glossary, with the ASL sign for each letter starting off each section, then a bibliography and suggested reading section!

    Besides being a first rate author and illustrator and graphic novelist, Maris Wicks has a background in oceanography and education, having worked at the New England Aquarium where she taught children about marine science. This month she can be found on the R/V Atlantis doing research for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. This all makes perfect sense because Wicks's next graphic novel, coming later this month, can be seen below!





    Source: Review Copy


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    20. 10 facts you should know about moons

    Proving to be both varied and fascinating, moons are far more common than planets in our Solar System. Our own Moon has had a profound influence on Earth, not only through tidal effects, but even on the behaviour of some marine animals. But how much do we really know about moons?

    The post 10 facts you should know about moons appeared first on OUPblog.

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    21. FROM THE BACKLIST: The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky

    The Librarian Who Measured the Earth Written by Kathryn Lasky; Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes Little, Brown and Company. 1994 ISBN: 0316515264 I am on a crusade to get some really terrific and often overlooked informational picture books into the hands of teachers and parents. These books, read aloud to middle and high school students, could be a gateway for important conversations and growth.

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    22. Defining biodiversity genomics

    Many say now is the century of biology, the study of life. Genomics is therefore “front-and-centre”, as DNA, is the software of life. From staring at stars, we are now staring at DNA. We can’t use our eyes, like we do in star gazing, but just as telescopes show us the far reaches of the Universe, DNA sequencing machines are reading out our genomes at an astonishing pace.

    The post Defining biodiversity genomics appeared first on OUPblog.

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    23. Resources for Teaching About Wangari Maathai and SEEDS OF CHANGE

    Today is Wangari Maathai’s birthday! Wangari Maathai was the first African woman, and the first environmentalist, to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Seeds Of Change: Planting a Path to Peacewhich tells Wangari’s story, continues to be one of the most popular books that we publish!

    In honor of Wangari Maathai’s birthday and upcoming Earth Day later this month, here’s a list of the many fantastic resources and ideas available to educators who are teaching about Wangari Maathai’s legacy and using Seeds Of Change: Planting a Path to Peace:

                                         Seeds of Change

    Elementary School:

    wangariMiddle School and High School:

    • Seeds Of Change won the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustration in 2011. The Committee Chair and Book Jury have prepared activities and discussion questions for Seeds Of Change in the 2011 Discussion Guide for Coretta Scott King Book Awards, P. 20-21.
    • Have students read and discuss author Jen Cullerton Johnson and illustrator Sonia Lynn Sadler’s joint interview with Lee & Low, which covers the environment, their travels, and Wangari Maathai’s achievements.
    • After introducing Wangari Maathai with Seeds Of Change, delve deeper with the Speak Truth To Power human rights education curriculum, a project of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. They present an in-depth exploration on Wangari Maathai, the Green Belt Movement, and sustainability issues.
    • In teaching standard 7 of the ELA Common Core, have students evaluate how Wangari Maathai is presented in a documentary compared to the Seeds Of Change biography. PBS’s documentary on Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement, Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, contains a classroom section full of video modules, handouts, and lesson plans.

    Seeds of ChangeWhat did we miss? Let us know how you are using Seeds Of Change in your classroom!


    Purchase a copy of Seeds of Change here!


    Further Reading:

    Remembering Wangari Maathai

    Planting Seeds of Change Around the World

    Compiling Rigorous Thematic Texts: Books Set in Kenya

    Reading for the Earth: Ultimate Earth Day Resource Round Up

    Book List: 11 Children’s Books About Human Rights

    10 Great Women of Color Whose Stories You Should Know

    School Library Journal: Inquiry and Integration Across the Curriculum: Global Citizenry

    Kid World Citizen: Introduce Kids To Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai: “Mama Mati


    Jill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

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    24. Poetry for the Birds: Woodpecker Wham and Every Day Birds (ages 3-8)

    Poetry can be a terrific way to explore different topics kids might want to learn more about. In particular, poetry and science make a great pair. Above all else, poets and scientists ask us to stop and notice the world around us.  I love these two picture books that celebrate our fine feathered friends, and do it with terrific word play and illustrations.

    Woodpecker Wham
    by April Pulley Sayre
    illustrated by Steve Jenkins
    Henry Holt / Macmillan, 2015
    Your local library
    Amazon
    ages 4-8
    Sayre’s dynamic verse brings alive the sound and movement of six different woodpecker species as they chop, bonk, tap, and slam, doing serious work.
    "Swoop and land.
    Hitch and hop.
    Shred a tree stump.
    Chop, chip, chop!"
    The bouncing, rhythmic verse and the bold illustrations make this a great read-aloud. As you read, ask kids which words they think have real pizzaz--notice Sayre's word choices. Whether she's showing how the birds fly or how their tapping sounds, Sayre chooses dramatic words. Encourage your kids to try using words like this on your next walk outside.
    Every Day Birds
    by  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
    illustrated by Dylan Metrano
    Orchard/Scholastic, 2016
    Your local library
    Amazon
    ages 3-6
    Short simple verses and cut-paper collage illustrations introduce young readers to common North American birds. Choosing birds that preschoolers like to notice, VanDerwater displays one bird on each page, highlighting a memorable characteristic for each.
    "Chickadee wears a wee black cap."
    "Owl swoops soundlessly late at night."
    The bold illustrations focus young readers on each bird, setting each bird against a simple background helps highlight the species and the poetry. I especially like how VanDerwater focuses on one key feature of each bird, highlighting it with strong language. The endnotes provide more detail on each species for adults to share, as kids as more quesitons.

    Together, the cumulative effect leads to a rhythm and rhyming scheme that makes for a lovely read-aloud for preschoolers. "Heron fishes with his bill./ Sparrow hops in brown./ Mockingbird has many voices./ Pigeon lives in town." Perfect for budding naturalists.

    Illustrations from Woodpecker Wham copyright ©2015 Steve Jenkins, used with permission of the publisher. Text from Every Day Birds written by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater. Illustrations copyright 2016 by Dylan Metrano. Used with permission from Orchard Books/Scholastic. The review copies were kindly sent by the publishers, Macmillan and Scholastic. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

    ©2016 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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    25. April Pulley Sayre, Author of The Slowest Book Ever | Speed Interview

    Which five words best describe The Slowest Book Ever? April Pulley Sayre: Chewy science for wondrous pondering.

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