I'm continuing my research on supplementary materials to use in our Science classrooms. My goal is to find resources that take students beyond the textbook into the real world, providing the opportunity for inquiry and discovery. In my last blog I posted two websites that I found to be a good jumping off point for my research. They offered short Science articles for kids to read, videos, and photos to enhance any Science unit plan. You can click here and here to browse through them if you didn't get a chance last post.
My focus this week shifts from websites to children's literature. I've been in a lot of schools around the Des Moines area and one thing I've noticed is that Science is not regularly scheduled. It may be once or twice or week or maybe even every other week, sometimes not at all. This should not stand in your way of exposing students to Science! Children's literature is a wonderful gateway to keep Science in your classroom. There is an abundant amount of research explaining how non-fiction and fiction trade books increase content vocabulary, motivation, and comprehension. I found one article published in the The Reading Teacher written by Danny Brassell titled Inspiring Young Scientist with Great Books. (Find it in the December 2006/January 2007 issue, Vol. 60, No. 4. It's a PDF otherwise I would provide a link). It focused on the success a 3rd grade teacher had from using Science trade books for read alouds throughout the day. She saw an increase in motivation, curiosity, and vocabulary specifically regarding Science.
Using children's literature to incorporate other content areas such as Science and Social Studies is not a new concept in the teaching world, but finding excellent books to use can be overwhelming, difficult and time consuming. Luckily, I found a wonderful resource that will not only save you time, but bring Science into your classroom. NSTA.org (National Science Teachers Association's website) offers a lot of great things for teaching Science, so I suggest spending sometime browsing. For the past 37 years they have sustained a partnership with the CBC (Children's Book Council) to produce a list for Outstanding Science Trade Books for students K-12. This is no regular book list. For the first year NSTA and the CBC have arranged the books according to the National Science Education Standard they most fully support. A full summary, suggested grade level and links for supplementary material that can extend and support learning is also provided.
Go to the list, check out the books and report back to me! Are there any in particular you liked or didn't like?