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Archive of Science

Page history last edited by Melissa Gibson 10 years, 12 months ago


Integrating Literature Ideas & Best Practices - Science


Book Title Author Activity / Idea / Weblink
Grade level
Submitted by
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Snowflake Bentley
Barrett, Judi and Martin, Jacqueline

SC-04-1.1.1: Students will explain how matter, including water, can be changed from one state to another. Read either book (or both). Either demonstrate an experiment of changing ice to water or water to steam, or create a lab sheet and have the students perform the experiment themselves. Allow students to create a comic book along the line of the illustrations in Cloudy, that shows what happened during their experiment. Comic idea from: Kaye, P. (1995). Games for writing: Playful ways to help your child learn to write. New York: Farrar Straus.

Flossie and the Fox

Patricia McKissack

Create a science timeline for animal speed - maybe with a flannel board and flannel animals. Begin with the animals in the story, rat, cat, fox, dog, human, rabbit and put them on the timeline where the story indicates they might go. Then research to check, and add other animals - tiger, bear, giraffe, turtle, etc. Which one is the fastest? The slowest? Use CC SC-EP-3.4.3

Students will describe the basic structures and related functions of plants and animals that contribute to growth, reproduction and survival.

Sylvester and The Magic Pebble William Steig Read book, have students recall why Sylvester turned himself into a rock and what foods the donkey's took on the picnic. Have students right down the foods that the donkey's ate and have them right down what food the lion was going to eat. Once they have done that have them put the foods in order (plants, animal, animal,) once they have done this they will have created a food chain without knowing it. For 4th grade you could talk about which animals in the story where herbivores and which where carnivores. K-3 could even discuss the season of the year, winter, spring, summer and fall. K-4 Sanders
Gary Paulsen
After reading and discussing the story, have the students make a list of all the animals and plants that were important to Brian's survival. Have them list 5 important facts about each plant/animal. Then have them write a paragraph as to why or how each if them were important. Make a connection to today by asking the question: Since we do not go out and hunt and fish for our survival, who ensures that we survive today? Write a paragraph explaining your answer.
Diane Haase
Gary Paulson

Each student is to create a food web depicting the animals listed in the story (choke cherries, cottontail rabbits, trout, mosquitoes, wolves, moose, etc. found on p.193 – and within various parts of the text). After making the web, pick one animal, plant, or insect from the web and discuss its importance to the food chain within the habitat where Brian was living. What would happen if that creature became extinct? How was Brain affected by its existence? Follow up and make a giant class food web incorporating the students’ answers.

5-7 Lauren Nichols
Encyclopedia Brown series D.J. Sobol Students could use the scientific method to solve the mystery posed in the book. Students will define the problem or situation. Then students will create their hypothesis and guess who they think is the guilty party. Next, students can test or undergo an experiment. Students will use the results from their experiment to form final conclusions on who they think is guilty. Role-play could also be used and give students an opportunity to interview prime suspects. How could mysteries help students understand the scientific method? 3-6 Shannon Compton
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears Verna Aardema Students could use this book to see how animals react with each other. How animals depend on other animals to function and survive. You could have students identify symbiotic relationships between all the animals. You could also have students identify the habitats of these animals from the story and from the pictures. After reading this book students could identify relationships that they have with each other and the people around them to help them survive. They could compare relationships of animals to their on relationships with other people. 3-6 Jeremy Sanders
Tale of Peter Rabbit, The
Beatrix Potter Students will learn about the life cycle of a rabbit, and use a graphic organizer to list the appropriate stages of life of a rabbit. Students will also use a graphic organizer to list survival skills, and basic needs. Students will compare their list to the survival skills and foods taken by Peter in the garden. K-2 Sarah Howard-Montgomery
Drinking Gourd, The
F. N. Monjo Students will learn star patterns and locate/identify the Big Dipper. Slaves who wished to escape from slavery would flee to the north. They would follow the Drinking Gourd (the Big Dipper) and this would lead them north, to freedom. http://home.ccil.org/~kmiles/dln/2-96/drinking.html All Ages Jennifer Phillips
Stellaluna Jannell Cannon Stellaluna is a great book to use when talking about bats and characteristics of bats in science. After reading the book aloud to the students, make a t-chart comparing and contrasting the characteristics of bats versus birds. Students can discuss their physical features, what they eat, how they fly, and nocturnal elements of bats. To take this further, students could work in groups to create their own "All About Bats" PowerPoint presentation. They could research more about bats before making their PowerPoints. K-2 Lindsey Dickson
Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm
Jerdine Nolen
Read this book to the students for a fun way of introducing them to balloons and discuss different types, sizes, colors, etc. Students will then use the internet to gather pictures of real balloons. They will compare their findings in groups. Then they will participate in a "Can you believe it?" experiment with real balloons with procedures found here: http://central.salem111.com/munter/kindergarten__magic.htm K-1
Marisa Gebert
Grouchy Ladybug, The
Eric Carle Readers can learn how to tell time to the nearest hour with the clock faces on the die-pages in the story. The concept of size and shape can also be taught with this book. Opportunities to teach manners can also be taught with the way the grouchy ladybug forgets to say "please" and "thank you." Students can learn about the aphids and ladybugs and what kingdom they belong to as well. Students can research and become aphid and ladybug experts creating PowerPoint presentations about these species. This book contains many opportunities and different concepts that teachers use in the classroom. K-2 Shannon Compton
Joyful Noise Paul Fleischman The Joyful Noise poems are all about insects. Students select a poem from the book. Then they research (via the internet or books) facts about their insect. Finally, students create a PowerPoint to share their finding with the class. 3rd-5th grade Jennifer Phillips
Joyful Noise Fleischmann After reading this poetry book on insects, students will be paired up by teacher and given a KWL sheet. The students will decide on an insect to research on the internet. Students will find facts on the specific insect and complete their KWL sheets together. They will put what they know, what they want to know, and what they learned, as well the most interesting fact they found. http://www.abcteach.com/free/k/kwl_insects.pdf 4th Chassadi Strong
Bartholomew and the Oobleck/ Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Dr. Suess/Judi Barrett These are wonderful books that help students learn about properties and states of matter which are solids, liquids, and gas. Bartholomew and the Oobleck could be read to students before doing the "Oobleck Experiment" that helps them understand the states of matter. While reading the book ask open ended questions to the students that allow them to think about properties and states of matter. After reading the book make a web on chart paper that shows all of the properties of oobleck. For instance, oobleck is sticky, can be rolled into a ball and be bounced, stretchy, green. etc. While creating oobleck explain to the students that the ingredients food coloring, water, and glue can be mixed together to form a "liquid." When the ingredient borax is added to the mixture, a "solid" forms. Oobleck is a solid that has many properties that students can discover while making it with a partner. Students will write down the properties that they discovered in their science journals. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs also helps teach states of matter. Students could create a chart with 3 columns labeled solid, liquid, and gas. They could think about the things that fell from the sky and which column they belong under. 2nd-4th Meredith Cook








Minfong Ho Use this book for classification/categorization of animals used in the story. This can be as simple as creating cards to let the children sort using an independent table activity or having them draw (or use pictures) and create a graph of type of animals based on same characteristic, chosen by the student(s) that can either be done in small groups or as a large group. preK-2nd

Stephanie McSpadden





Magic Tree House #8: Midnight On the Moon Mary Pope Osborne

Chapter 1 discusses the beginning of astronomy over 2000 years ago. As a class, design a time line that would cover from 2000 B.C. to today that will be used throughout the study of this book. Adding machine tape is inexpensive and easy to store. Once you have measured out the tape, you may want to expose only the time period being discussed in each point of your lesson.

2-3 Kimberly Simpson
Three Little Javelinas, The
Susan Lowell This is a variation of The Three Little Pigs. This story takes place in the desert. This book would be a good introduction or continuation of Biomes or Ecosystems. Once students have heard the story, they will be asked to compare the desert characteristics with the characteristics that would be found in the original Three Little Pigs story. Students may do this using a Venn Diagram, a foldable, or another comparison chart. Once they are finished it would be good to do a bigger Venn Diagram on the board for the class to see. 5-7 Erin Hale
Hiroshima John Hersey Hiroshima is a book written by a man who documented the effects of the atomic bomb on the city. After students have read the work (or at least excerpts of the book), students could examine how scientists in the Manhattan Project studied the splitting of atoms. Once they have an understanding of how the bombs were made, students could then provide presentations on the various effects the nuclear weapon had on the victims in Japan. Some could focus on skin diseases, while other could study how the water became radioactive and how it affect the fishing industry. When they have completed their presentations, the teacher could reinforce how devastating the attacks actually were which were carried about by the United States. 6-8 Andrew Felker
Giving Tree, The
Shel Silverstein The Giving Tree is a book that teaches children love and friendship and can be enjoyed by children of all ages. It can be used across many different content areas and it can be used in Science to teach conservation to kids. After reading the book, the teacher could discuss conservation and what that word means with the students and ask them if they have ever conserved anything before and this might lead into recycling. Then the students will discuss the tree in the book and what the boy did to conserve the tree so that it would last longer and what he did not do that he could have done in order to conserve the tree. Then we will use a T chart to show what the little boy did to conserve the tree and they will each pick something that they want to conserve and put it in the other side of the T chart and write what they can do. This way students can be involved and understand conservation at the same time. 3-5 Molly Fackler
Giving Tree, The
Shel Silverstein This would be a great book to teach the life cycle of trees. Students could use this book to see how a tree goes from being a small twig to becoming a large tree that produces fruit into a stump. This book could be used in many different subject areas and could be used in other ways in Science as well. While identifying different types of trees leaf rubbings or leaf books could be made. Students could also talk about what they get from trees. Students would use old magazines or the internet to find objects that we get from trees. A poster or presentation would be made and presented to the class. This activity can also be used in conjunction with Social Studies wants and needs unit.   Grades 3-5 Kayla McFarland
Counting on the Woods George Ella Lyon Counting on the Woods would be an excellent choice as a read aloud during a unit on habitats (specifically the deciduous forest). After reading the book aloud, you could have students identify characteristics of the deciduous forest that were mentioned in the poem (i.e. birds, moss, or trees). Students could write their characteristics on Post-It notes and place them in the parking lot (common area for student responses) for a wrap-up discussion. You could extend the lesson by having students work cooperatively to choose a characteristic and conduct research on-line. Afterward, students could write a feature article describing their characteristic using the research gathered. 1st Grade Daneika (Nikki) Hunt
Very Hungry Caterpillar, The
Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar would be an awesome book to use with the butterfly cycle. I would read the book first, then as a group we would talk about the life cycle of a caterpillar and why the caterpillar was so hungry. After the book, students can apply their knowledge and complete a sheet about sequencing the life cycle of the butterfly. This sheet can already have the pictures at the bottom, then younger students can just cut and paste. K-1st grade Jennifer Campbell
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears Verna Aardema

Since the story takes place in Africa, a study on the rainforest would help students understand this biome better. A research WebQuest would help those students who are interested in this awesome habitat. Here’s one that is already made:


2nd-4th Grade Erin Larkin
My Side of the Mountain  Jean Craighead George  This is a wonderful book that discusses lot of plant and animal life throughout. The book discusses how a young boy survives in the wild on his own. This book is great supplement reading material during any plant and animal unit. The book discusses plant growth and animal adaptations. As well as keeping students entertained! 4th - 5th grade  Charlie Hamilton 
Sarah, Plain and Tall Patricia MacLachlan This book mentions several different types of wildflowers that grown on the prairie as well as in Maine.  Assign one or two students one of the wildflowers mentioned.  Have the students research the wildflower and present it to the class.  At the end of the presentations, children could draw the wildflower they presented, and then the teacher could collect them in a book for the class to look at any time.  3rd-5th grades Elizabeth Coomer
Sarah, Plain and Tall   Patricia MacLachlan

During this story, four seasons occur throughout the book. Put students into four different groups, one for each season. Have the groups research different characteristics of each season. Once they have come up with at least 5 different characteristics, have them illustrate the season they were given. With the picture, they need to have a paragraph that goes along with it describing what happens during their season. Once students have completed their illustration and provided a paragraph, put together a mural of the pictures. After students have shared the different characteristics of each season and students have studied them, they would be given a reading response worksheet entitled "Causes of the Four Seasons". (Kentucky KCCT Coach) They will read about the causes of the four seasons and answer multiple choice questions. To get them ready for testing, they will be given an Open Response Question entitled "Changing Seasons". For earning the full points and answering the questions, they will earn a golden ticket (what we do at our school for open response questions).

For a fun writing activity, have the students write a poem about what happens to the family and Sarah during the four seasons. Allow them to choose the type of format for their poem. If they wish to share their poems in front of the class, they may do so.


4th-5th Grade Lauren Hamel
When the Earth Wakes Ani Rucki This picture book is a short story about  the four seasons written in an almost poetic style.  After reading aloud the book, have students divide a sheet of paper into fourths.  On each section of the paper, have students write the name of each season.   They then draw a picture for each season.  Below the picture, they should have a caption.  (Ex.: In fall the leaves fall off the trees.)  K-2 Jana Harrison
Tiny Seed, The
Eric Carle

Through the many collage pictures, Eric Carle illustrates the life cycle of a seed and all of the steps it goes through. This is a great story to introduce the life cycle of a plant as well as the needs that a plant has.

Many hands on activities could be used in the classroom to go along with this story. My favorite is planting the seeds in small Dixie cups and placing them by the window to watch them grow. The students will be able to see the how the needs of the plant such as water and sunlight help it grow.


Karen Rice

It's Mine! Leo Lionni

This story can be used while studying animals/amphibians in science. You can talk about a frogs habitat, their diet and behavior. You could also talk about how frogs don't have human voices and do not communicate through spoken language but do speak through croaking. Students could make a text to self connection through this story because of the frogs bickering. You can use hands on activities by visiting a pond, seeing the habitat of frogs and watch their behavior. You can also study the life cycle of a frog and perhaps raise tadpoles in the classroom or visit a nearby pond or stream where tadpoles are growing. The website below gives information on the life cycle of frogs.


K-2 Danielle Sarson


Mist-erious Journey

Carolyn White

Snowff is a book series I was introduced to a few years ago when I taught Science to a resource group of middle school students. This Journey is about a little kid that is made of water/snow. Unlike other little children he gets the  experience of going through the water cycle! Along his adventure he meets other characters as he actually experiences condensation, evaporation, precipitation. The book provides songs that can act as a memory device to help students remember the importance of each part of the cycle. The story itself is long but the story makes the information seem fun to learn about.  You could use this story to introduce the water cycle and then after reading the story and finishing the unit have students create their own story about a "raindrop" that goes on an adventure just like Snowff did pointing out ways they can personify the raindrop in the story just as the author did.

3-6 Sara Jones
Invention of Hugo Cabret, The
Brian Selznick Lesson Plan: Internet Field Trip: Simple Machines, by Cate Sanazaro, involving research skills, simple machines, real-world science, and educational technology:


6-8 Geraldine Allen
All Alone Claire Bishop

The novel is the story of two boys that are sent to watch over their family's herd in the French Alps.  The boys experience the weather and the terrain of the Alps.  There can be a lesson on terrain in the Alps.  The rocky surface of the higher elevations to the grassy valley.  A discussion of how water can rise quickly and be destructive to the areas surrounding it.  For a science assignment, the students can make a model of the terrain to include the rock and grassy areas.  A lab on how water can rise and move objects or be devastating to its path.

4-8 Jennifer  Watson
Lon Po Po  Ed Young Read the book aloud with the class.  Each student should be given a piece of paper with a diagram already drawn.  On this piece of paper a country area should be drawn such as the one in the story; included should be a wooded area and a house.  Each student should name and draw all of the things that live in or around the country.   These living things can be insects to animals.  This can be done in a small group allowing students to work together. Grade:  3-4 Beth Wooley
Fables Arnold Lobel

This book is a collection of original fables in which animals are the characters. There are the obvious connections that could be made to reading, literature, and character education, but other connections could be made as well. Two of the fables, "The Hippopotamus at Dinner" and "The Pig at the Candy Store" could be used to teach about healthy eating habits. In the fable, "The Hippopotamus at Dinner," a hippo insist on large portions for dinner, only to realize that he shouldn't have eaten so much. In the fable, "The Pig at the Candy Store," the pig dreams about eating candy and vegetables. These stories could spark discussions on portion control and eating a balanced diet from all food groups. Here is a link that could be used to learn more about the Food Pyramid.http://kidshealth.org/kid/closet/activities/fgp_interactive.html

Grades 2-4

Britny Robertson


Comets, Stars, the Moon and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings  Douglas Florian This book would work well in conjunction with a science unit about planets and space.  After reading this collection of poems about space- the moon, sun, planets, and other celestial bodies,  students can create a travel brochure about one of the heavenly bodies mentioned in the book (try not to choose Earth since we live on this planet).  Using a computer processing program, students can create a trifold brochure describing their planet (or other space object) in an attempt to advertise it.  The brochure must include facts - including number of moons; distance from sun; orbital period; rotational period; graphics; interesting features. Grades 3-6 Jana Harrison 
All the Small Poems Valerie Worth

This poetry collection is great to use with students to help them visualize.  A way to use this collection is to read the poem to the students and see if they can figure out what the poem is describing.  They will need to use their inferring skills and context clues to figure out the animal or object being described.  If you are using this technique, it is important to NOT read the title of the poem, as this would give it away.  This would be good to use with 4th grade science classes, as there are lots of poems about animals and plants.  Students would use their knowledge of classifying animals or ecosystems to figure out what the poem is about.  There are also poems entitled “Magnifying Glass,” “Magnet,” and “Kaleidoscope” that will help teach about different science topics.

4th Samantha Fry
Science Verse  Jon Scieszka This book combines classic poems such as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and science concepts.  Students could begin by reading the 10 poems and noting the difference between these and the originals.  The next task would be to identify the concepts in each poem as well as vocabulary being used.  Students could turn the vocabulary into a crossword puzzle that can be completed by another student.  1-5th Bradley Abell
Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices  Paul Fleischman

Objective: Students will create a model of an environment from one of the poems, research ecosystems, and present their findings to the class.

Activity: This book is a collection of poems about insects. After reading the book as a class, put students in groups and have them create a model of an environment from one of the poems (chosen for them). Once they have created the model, have them use the library/computer lab to research real ecosystems for the insect from their poem and present their model and findings to the class. Groups should tell whether the environment in the poem was similar to the insect's real ecosystem.

4-5 Angela Crider 
Where the Sidewalk Ends-A Poem on the Neck of a Giraffe  Shel Silverstein After reading the poem A Poem on the Neck of the Giraffe the students could use this to make their own concrete poem about a given science topic. The students could create one about clouds that takes the shape of a cloud, or one about kinetic and potential energy in the shape of a roller coaster.   all Amanda Sigmon


Douglas Florian


You could use this as a part of a unit of study on fossils. When learning about fossils, dinosaurs always become part of the discussion as they are the most popular example of fossil that kids know! Also, when studying animals, you learn about carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores. Dinosaurs are also good examples to use when teaching these concepts. Also, it would be neat for students to research dinosaurs that are not in this book and then write a poem for that dinosaur that could be added to a new classroom dinosaur poem book. Some of the poems address what they ate, what they looked like, special features and other basic information. Students could research this information about the dinosaurs and then incorporate it in their poems. Also, it may be fun to use this as a model and apply it to other types of animals. Instead of dinosaurs, you could do a book of poems about fish, birds, mammals, or any other group of animals. Students could research their animals and then write poems in partners. The poems could then be added to a class book. Many grade levels either learn about animals, animal classifications or adaptations so you could tweak this to fit any of those categories.

If you wanted to use this with a continued unit on dinosaurs, the Discovery Channel website has a phenomenal interactive website. http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/dinosaurplanet/interactive/interactive.html

There they look at 20 different dinosaurs, how their bodies worked and what special features different dinosaurs had that made them unique. This website is SO cool I need to find an excuse to show this to my students next year!

Also, even more awesome than the previous website, the Natural Museum of History has an interactive site dealing with dinosaurs and paleontology. The website has an interactive dig where you look for a fossil and indentify what type of animal it was. It also takes you through and shows you what the animal may have looked like when it was alive, what it ate, where it lived and what size it was. This is a great experience for students to experience on-line since most will never do anything even close to this in real-life.






















Brittney Sanderson    

Giving Tree, The
Shel Silverstein

The tree provided quite a few things for the boy. In this activity, your child will explore some of the many things that trees provide for all of us. Students make their tree and decorate it with pictures of things that trees provide or produce. Some examples are food, shelter for animals, shade, oxygen, and products for people. After creating the trunk, students can choose to either make leaves and write on them the things that we get from trees or simply draw things that we get from trees on the tree in the place of leaves. Another idea would be to cut pictures of what we get from trees from magazines and glue them to the tree.  http://shelsilverstein.com

Grades 2-3

Suzanne Bridwell

Very Hungry Caterpillar, The
Eric Carle This is a book I have used teaching science with my younger students. First, we read the book aloud and discuss the changes that are occurring throughout the book. WHY is he eating so much? Why would he need a lot of food? What is about to happen to him? There is even a video version of this book on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpISHA8Fs4w found here. After reading the book I like to let kids see what it feels like to be in a pupa. They take turns wrapping each other tightly in toilet paper or plastic wrap and then having to jiggle and wiggle to break free. After this, students have an activity where they sequence the stages of a butterfly life cycle using fingerprints. The egg is one print and they draw a leaf behind it. The larva is four prints connected in a line. The pupa is three prints hanging down from a stick. And the adult is three going down in a line with two going out from each side as wings. They LOVE this. It add a little more than simply cutting and pasting pictures. Finally, students have a project where they create a poster of their own life cycle 9so far) explaining the changes and ways they have grown throughout their life. They have a blast doing this and the quality of projects that come in are outstanding.  1-2 Haley Bathiany
Titanic 1, 2, & 3 Gordon Korman

The students will examine the completed experiment and form a hypothesis about the effect of salinity on buoyancy.

The students will work effectively with group members to form a hypothesis, record data, and observe the different conditions during this experiment.

Students will enter data into their word processors and or spreadsheets (if they are available in the classroom -- if not use the old pencil).


wide-mouthed canning jar (1 gallon)

small bottle with lid

2 cups table salt

measuring cup (1 cup)

large spoon

various objects of different densities (feather, penny, empty bottle, full bottle, etc.)



Time will vary depending upon student involvement/interest -- approximately 1 1/2 hours.


1.  Divide the students into groups of 4-5 people.

2.  Give each group one of each of the supplies listed above.

3.  Each group should fill the jar three-quarters full of water.

4.  Have each group place the closed small bottle in the water. It should float on the surface.

5.  Have each group remove the small bottle from water.

6.  Have each group add a small amount of water to the small bottle.

7.  Each group should place the small bottle in the water and carefully record their results. (Use word processor -- template -- if available)

8.  Remove the small bottle and add 1/2 cup of salt to the water.

9.  Put small bottle back into water and record results.

10.  Allow the groups to experiment on their own with the salt, and continue recording their results.

11.  Ask each group to form some conclusions as to why they received the results they did.

12.  Ask students to also form conclusions as to how and why this information is important when discussing the sinking of the Titanic.

13.  Have an open class discussion pooling the results of each of the groups. Possibly have each group present a visual representation of their results to the class.


The students will be assessed on the records they keep throughout the experiment. This will be assessed by the teacher.

Criteria for success: The students must fully document their results 85% of the time.

The students will fill out a peer evaluation rubric on both themselves and their fellow group members.

Curricular Strands and Major Concepts:

Science - exploring the different effects of salt on buoyancy.

Language Arts - problem solving and hypothesis building.

     Technology - utilizing various computer software   


4th grade and up Geraldine Allen

 Lion and the Mouse, The

Jerry Pinkney

Students will research the different animals of the savannah. Students will chose one animal from a list and present their findings to the class. The student must know about the animal's habitat such as what does it use for shelter? Does the animal migrate anytime of the year? and What are some of the animal's natural predators? Students can draw a picture of their animal to show to the class and be prepared to answer questions from other classmate

 4-6 grade

Nena Tucker

Underneath, The

Kathi Appelt

This is a brilliant story about animal friends and the forest/swamp where they live.  (1)  Sure, there are trees in this world that have the capability of reaching 1,000 years of age or more, but probably not the ones in this particular forest.  However, students can research the myriad types of trees mentioned in the story and discover how long they really do live.  (2)  The author discussed the mighty storm in Chapter 95 and how it began on the west coast of Africa and carried its Sahara winds all the way to these piney woods between Louisiana and Texas.  Students could conduct research to discover how strong a storm would have to be to actually blow all that way and do that particular kind of damage.  (3)  A great chance to study this particular type of ecosystem with its forest and its bayous. (4)  Students could study various life forms that are found in swampy areas. They could discover whether or not an alligator can actually attain a length of 100 feet and whether he could actually live long enough to do so.  (5)  This continent once harbored a great inland sea.  Did it indeed empty into the Gulf  of Mexico as the author suggested?  This would be a great stepping off spot for a unit on that era of Earth's history and how it molded the world we see around us today.  Fossils, life forms, how the path was prepared for our emergence...

Grade 5 and up

Donna Campbell

American Tall Tales

Mary Pope


Before teaching this lesson, locate five examples of figurative language in the Pecos Bill story in which one of the characters is compared to an animal in some way.  Locate videos (many are on Discovery Education, but YouTube will also have good examples) of each of the animals you chose so that, prior to the reading, you can show them to the students so that they understand what the animal is and what its typical behaviors and characteristics are.  Let the kids know that those animals are the ones they should listen closely for.  It is also useful to put together a fact sheet for each of the animal types you chose so that students will have a quick reference to help them negotiate the activity below.

Science Activity: Read Pecos Bill to the class (be sure to use lots of vocal inflection and expression so that the story maintains its charm and appeal).  Have students write down the comparisons to the selected animals exactly as they appear in the text (you will likely have to stop so they can do the writing, so make sure you finish the paragraph prior to the writing so you don't fragment the story).  Once the comparisons are written down, put students in small groups.  Ask them to use the information in the videos and on the fact sheet to make a decision about how that comparison helps tell us something about the character.   They should write their answers in three or fewer sentences.


Comparison: He "played with grizzly bears instead of teddy bears." 

Decision:   This means that when Pecos Bill was little, he was a whole lot tougher and stronger than normal kids who played with teddy bears because grizzly bears weigh 500 pounds, are 8 times stronger than humans,  and have claws as long as human fingers!

Useful Links




Derek Poe

Three Billy Goats Gruff

Glenn Rounds

Science-Prior to reading the book students will learn about animals and their basic needs (b. Students know both plants and animals need water, animals need food, and plants need light). Students will learn about goats and other mammals while they learn about the nutrients needed for survival (Students know animals eat plants or other animals for food...). Students will compare and contrast different types of animals and identify the foods the animals need for survival. Read the book aloud to students. Question- Why do you think the billy goats were different sizes? What happens if you don't have the right amount of nutrition? What were the billy goats wanting that was on the other side of the bridge? Activity-create a "class pet". Students will be guided to create a billy goat as their class pet. The class pet will be posted in the classroom identifying the food, water and shelter (habitat) that a billy goat needs for survival. The teacher can poll the students on a possible name for the class pet and make a graph to organize the name choices. Plan a trip to a goat farm or a petting zoo. If funding is limited take a virtual tour to a goat farm or petting zoo. The following link has many activities that would make this a great unit to incorporate reading, language arts, and art. http://www.primarytreasurechest.com/once-upon-a-time/the-three-billy-goats-gruff.html The following  is a link that takes the students on a virtual trip to a goat farm. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0A5308DD90213A0F

K & 1st 

Wendy Philpot 

Going for Water 

Robert Frost /Gary D. Schmidt 

This poem is found on page 29 in the book for Poetry for Young Poeple by Robert Frost, edited by Gary D. Schmidt and illustrated by Henri Sorensen. I would use this poem as an introduction to different concepts for water. First, I would hand each student a copy of the poem and have them read it silently. Then we would do an activity called, "The 4 R's." The 4R's allows the students to make connections with the poem and their own lives. The first R stands for Restate. The students will pick one line of the poem and restate it in their own words. The next R stands for Remember, the students will pick a different line and tell what it makes them remember and why. The third R stands for React, how does that third line you picked make you feel and why. The last R stands for Respond, the students will be able to write down questions about the poem, maybe something they are curious about or don't fully understand. For example, why did the author decided to write this or what does this word mean? After the students finish their 4R's, everyone takes turns and shares something they wrote. After the introduction, the teacher will introduce the concepts and ask questions such as, why certain water freezes? How come the brook didn't freeze? What keeps it from freezing? These questions will lead the students to the discussion of constant flow of water, freezing water and matter concepts with water.

Grade 7 and up 

Tara Keen 

Changes, from Science Verse 

Jon Sciesczka & Lane Smith 

Students can use the poem "Changes" as a springboard for exploring the life cycle of meal worms. The poem humorously describes the life cycle through the meal worm's perspective and integrates scientific vocabulary that students will need to recognize.  After reading the poem, the students can observe meal worms throughout their life cycle, documenting the changes with photographs. They can then align their own photos of the meal worm   with the corresponding stanza of the "Changes" poem.



Carrie Emmons 

Fish is Fish

Leo Lionni

In this story, a fish becomes confused when his friend (that he believes is also a fish) grows legs.

For this activity, I would divide the class into groups--with half of the class researching to learn more about frogs and the other half researching to learn more about fish. I would encourage them to use a variety of resources--including the school library, but also the Internet. There are also videos available on Brain Pop about fish and amphibians if your school has a subscription (http://www.brainpop.com/science/diversityoflife/). Students would work together to create an informational presentation using the method they prefer (poster, Power Point, report, video, etc.).

After both groups have presented the material, I would have students complete a Venn Diagram--comparing and contrasting the two animals. Here is a Venn Diagram template that can be used (http://www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer/pdf/venn.pdf).

5th grade

Lindsey Roberts

Tiny Seed, The

Eric Carle

The Tiny Seed is a very educational book containing information about the pollination, germination, and fertilization of a seed.  This book should be used as an introduction to a unit on plants.  The book should be read aloud by the teacher to the whole class.  Each student should draw an illustration of the cycle used during the pollination, germination, and fertilization of the seed.  This diagram can be used as a guide for the students to follow this process with their own plant.  Each student should be allowed to plant their own seed, and understand how they played a role in this cycle.  Students should observe their seed daily and record their findings in order to see what happens to their seed.  They must understand that each seed needs water and sunlight in order to actually sprout into a seedling.  Then, they should observe further to see how long it takes the seedling to become a plant.    

Grades K-4 

Cynthia (Cindy) Wilson



George Shannon 

Students could read this book and then as a Science project, could find an area at their school which needs some beautification.  After choosing a suitable area, students could research which plants have animal names such as snapdragon, foxtail, butterfly weed, lamb’s ear, etc.  A good website which lists plant names that share animal names can be found at, http://suite101.com/article/abc-theme-garden-of-animal-flowers-a14701.  This website lists animal themed plants from A-Z.  However, the site does not give an example for letter X.    

Grades K-4 

Myra Kean 

Christmas Farm 

Mary Lyn Ray 

 Using it as a tool for discussing growth process in plants, younger students can create artwork depicting the growth cycle of a tree.  Additionally, they can create paper chains to understand how each link of the chain (water, temperature, soil, etc.) plays a role in the development and growth of the tree.  For older students, this book is a reminder that agriculture can play a role not only in food production, but for many aspects of society.  Older students can do independent research on-line and in the media center to discover more facts about Christmas trees.  This would include life cycles, different types of trees, and the effect these farms have on the economy.  Throughout the book, there are math applications as well.  These comments can also tie into a math lesson on multiplication tables, using 12's.  The loss each year is also noted and students can track the loss of crop and even go as far as percentages or fractions and how much money is lost when those trees die or are eaten by animals.  Historical facts noted in the author's note could be used to investigate how this type of farming affects the Christmas industry.


Christa Osborne 

Tree is Nice, A

Janice May Udry

A science connection with this book would be to discuss the different types of leaf edges that can be found, such  as toothed, smooth, wavy, or lobed. After reading the book and having the discussion, follow up by going on a leaf-collecting walk, picking up specimens from the ground. Back inside the classroom, students could sort the types of leaves into groups, according to the leaf edge.  

A great website for classifying leaves, as well as types of plants and animals is http://sciencenetlinks.com/lessons/classify-that/.

Grades 2-4 

Kim Jones 

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Judi Barret

After reading the book and following instruction on the different cloud types, students will use the following website to further research clouds.  They will then use construction paper, markers, and cotton balls to design and craft their own clouds.   



Shawna Irvin 

Inch by Inch

Leo Lionni

Students will read Inch by Inch and discuss worms and how they think notice how they move in the book.  In this lesson adapted by PBS.org, students will study inch worms, or earthworms if inch worms are not available.  Students will create inchworm or earthworm terrariums and will answer questions such as, "How do you think worms use their bodies to hide in dirt" and "What do you notice about the colors and shapes of the worms' bodies".  After observing the worms in and out of their terrarium, ask students to compare and contrast how the worms move on paper and how the worms move in the dirt.  A great website for this lesson plan and others is http://www.pbs.org/teachers/includes/content/catinthehat/Teachers_UnitDownloadables/CITH_Teachers_NowYouSeeMe.pdf



Joan-Michael Leadingham 

Very Busy Spider, The

Eric Carle 

This book would be a great introduction for younger students to a unit on spiders.  Topics included could be the body parts of spiders, the detail and material of their webs, and the diet of the spider.  Below is a website that a teacher can use to guide a class for research or students could use to explore information on their own.



Heather Conley 

Seven Blind Mice

Young, Ed


I teach 8th grade science. You could use this book along with a unit on the scientific method. I do an activity in class where students have to figure out the contents of a "black box." The students can weigh the box, shake it, anything they want to figure out the contents. The points isn't whether or not they actually know what is in it, but more about what steps they use to figure out what they "hypothesize" is in the box.

This book would help students understand they have to come up with lots of different "somethings" to come up with the whole.



Karee Schroader


Hunger Games

Collins, Suzanne

Science Connection: “Muttations” (from the book) are two species combined. For example, the book talks about Mockingjays , Jabberjays, and tracker jackers. Students could learn the benefits of cross-breeding species and why animals of different species are not supposed to be able to mate with one another (breeding barriers). They could also learn the different technologies of how humans can genetically alter other organisms (plants, etc.) Activity: Students can create their own species by crossing any two species they choose. They must list both parent 1 and parent 2, include a drawing, and list any advantages/disadvantages to their new species.
 Science Standard (Next Generation Science Standard) MS-LS4-5. Gather and synthesize information about the technologies that have
changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms.



Karee Schroader







































Science Science Science



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