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Outstanding Science Trade Books

March 27, 2012

Welcome Science Teachers,

I am Helene Granof and I am posting lesson plans from the Elementary Extravaganza at the NSTA Convention on March 30, 2012.

I taught inquiry science lessons to elementary students with the following Outstanding Science Trade Books of 2011.

These are the books I presented:

1. Coral Reefs by Jason Chin

2. Star of the Sea by Janet Halfman

3. Even an Octopus Needs a Home by Irene Kelly

4. A Place for Fish by Melissa Stewart

The lesson descriptions, lesson plans and templates are in order of books 1,2,3,and 4.

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.    hgranof@gmail.com

Coral Reefs

Description of Lesson

Coral Reefs

By Jason Chin

Goal:  To promote scientific thinking and scientific awareness through the trade book, Coral Reefs  by Jason Chin.

“Books do more than provide me with content knowledge. They are essential to children’s scientific thinking and to their understanding, enjoyment and appreciation of science.  I see both children and science as enriched by books.”

Jeanne Reardon, Montgomery County Public Schools

In this book a child opens a library book and “dives” into an imaginary journey through a reef. Her exploration becomes real as specific reef species are described in unusually clear text and illustrations. In her mind’s eye she is surrounded by sea creatures and their habitat. From plankton through frogfish to whales, each species’ niche is made clear. 

The book works on several levels. The description of the reef and comparison to a city will help young readers understand the ecosystem created by coral reefs. The panels that describe and illustrate reef denizens are detailed enough that groups or individuals can report on adaptations for survival. And finally, the ongoing image of the reader swimming through the content of the book makes a nice subtext. “What new environment would you like to visit in the pages of a book?” 

Lesson Plan

The reading of Coral Reefs is an excellent “literary journey” for third graders.  It enables them to “dive” into an ecosystem created by coral reefs and to understand the adaptations for survival for reef denizens.  As the students learn about a variety of biomes in their science curriculum, this book invites them to focus in on a specific biome, coral reefs, through several inquiry lessons.

1.Before reading the story, the teacher reviews

 background knowledge by asking the following questions :

    Is coral a plant or an animal?

    Does it have an exoskeleton, an endoskeleton or neither? 

    What role does coral play in the life of a coral reef?

    What is coral made of?  

2.After reading the story the students share the answers 

to some of their questions with Think, Pair, Share.  They also share their observations of Chin’s format and how he weaves the information of so many sea creatures and their habitats via an imaginary trip into the sea by a young child.

  1. Students each take a piece of coral from a bag of broken coral pieces to make scientific observations with their hands and eyes.  (The coral was purchased at a shell shop.)
  2. Students each write 2 questions about something that 

they want to know more about coral reefs. (On display)

  1. Students rotate a turn at  (a.) the coral sorting table and (b.) a turn at their desks answering the questions that their classmates asked.

(a.) Coral sorting – Each of four groups of 6 students worked  together to move the coral pieces into different categories.  Groups sorted  by color, texture, size and shape. (see photos on display)

(b.) Answering classmates’ questions – With access to many library books on coral reefs, students work as a table team to try to answer the 28 questions. Many of the questions were answerable, such as, What do corals eat? and What are some of the colors of coral?  However, many of the questions were not easily answered, such as, Are any corals extinct? and What is the most common fish in a coral reef?

At the end of the rotations, students  conclude by sharing the categories of their coral sorting and sharing some of the answers to the questions.

  1. Students take a virtual field trip on the internet.

Dakuwaga’s Garden- under water footage from Fiji and     Tonga    

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcbHKAWIk3I

Helene Granof

2nd, 4th Grade Teacher (retired) Burning Tree Elementary School

6410 Bannockburn Dr. 7900 Beech Tree Road

Bethesda, MD  20817 Bethesda, MD  20817

301-229-0762 – H 301-254-4363  C

hgranof@gmail.com or Helene_S_Granof@mcpsmd.org  

Star of the Sea

Description of Lesson

Star of the Sea

By Janet Halfmann

Goal:  To promote scientific thinking and scientific awareness through the trade book, Star of the Sea  by Janet Halfmann

“Books do more than provide me with content knowledge. They are essential to children’s scientific thinking and to their understanding, enjoyment and appreciation of science.  I see both children and science as enriched by books.”

Jeanne Reardon, Montgomery County Public Schools

Starfishes have captured the imaginations of young scientists who have been to a beach or to an aquarium forever. “Is a starfish a make-believe creature or a real animal? What do they do? How and where do they live? How can they move, or hide, and what or how do they eat? Can a star fish lose parts of its body and still live? These questions and more are accurately addressed in this book.

The book presents information in an easy-to-read format with striking illustrations. The book’s narration is full of descriptive phrases that paint a minds-eye picture of the daily life of a starfish in its natural environment. The words set the stage for the visual imagery of the life of a starfish. The blend of words and art provides young readers with accurate scientific information and inspires wonder in their minds.

In addition, the predator/prey relationships of starfishes are presented in ways that express the ebb and flow of their natural environment without being frightening. The additional information in the Amazing Sea Stars part of the book adds to the basic understanding of starfishes for those who want to know more… and more! The Find Out More section even has a website that shows a video of the sea star’s tube feet and the stomach emerging from its mouth. 

( http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/efc/efc_splash/)splash_animals_seastar.aspx  

In short, This book is limitless for those who are intrigued by sea stars. It definitely answers the question of whether or not a starfish is a real animal. The answer is “Yes, and here is why.”

Third graders enjoy listening to this story and then participate in the following inquiry lessons.

Before reading the story, the teacher reviews background knowledge by asking the following questions –

            Is a starfish a fish?  

             Have you ever seen a live starfish?

             Where does it live, what does it do, what does it eat?

             What can you do to help protect starfish?

  Students discuss the ecology and conservation of starfish in a              think, pair, share format. First, they may want to  read the  additional information at the back of the book or watch the  video of how a starfish eats. (see website above.) Another  option is to do the reading and viewing after reading the book.

   Students create Found Poems that expresses ideas they read about in the story. They use only words in the text.  (See attached template.) Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems.  The literary equivalent of a collage. Partners work together on a page and discuss which words are the most important to convey the author’s description of the starfish’s life.  They write the words in a poetic format and illustrate the page.  These pages are compiled in a book titled, Found Poetry, Star of the Sea.

Students and teacher can create a rubric for the “found poem” before the poems are written. Here are some suggestions:

“Found Poem” should:

      • reflect the picture book story
      • use some familiar language from the story
      • be concise
      • show student individuality and creativity
  1. Students share their poetry with a first grade class.  As each page in the book is read aloud, the third grade partners read their poetic version of the page.

Bibliography

Star of the Sea, Janet Halfmann, Macmillan/Christy Ottaviano Books, New York, 2011  

Helene Granof

2nd, 4th Grade Teacher (retired) Burning Tree Elementary School

6410 Bannockburn Dr. 7900 Beech Tree Road

Bethesda, MD  20817 Bethesda, MD  20817

301-229-0762 -H 301-254-4363  C

hgranof@gmail.com Helene_S_Granof@mcpsmd.org

 National Standards- Content Standard C: 

 All students should develop understanding of 

  • the characteristics of organisms

Organisms have basic needs. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs can be met.  The world has many different environments, and distinct environments support the life of different types of organisms

Each animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.

The behavior of individual organisms is influenced by internal cues (such as hunger) and external cues (such as a change in the environment).

  • life cycles of organisms

Plants and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying. 

Animals close resemble their parents.

  • organisms and environments

All animals depend on plants.  Some animals eat plants for food.  Other animals eat animals that eat the plants.

Bibliography

Star of the Sea, Janet Halfmann, Macmillan/Christy Ottaviano Books, New York, 2011  

Helene Granof

2nd, 4th Grade Teacher (retired) Burning Tree Elementary School

6410 Bannockburn Dr. 7900 Beech Tree Road

Bethesda, MD  20817 Bethesda, MD  20817

301-229-0762 -H 301-254-4363  C

hgranof@gmail.com Helene_S_Granof@mcpsmd.org

Even an Octopus Needs a Home

Description of Lesson

Even an Octopus Needs a Home

By Irene Kelly

Goal:  To promote scientific thinking and scientific awareness through the trade book, Even an Octopus Needs a Home by Irene Kelly

“Books do more than provide me with content knowledge. They are essential to children’s scientific thinking and to their understanding, enjoyment and appreciation of science.  I see both children and science as enriched by books.”

Jeanne Reardon, Montgomery County Public Schools

This book tells excellent stories about habitat.  Children will discover how all kinds of different animals stay safe and snug.  Ms. Kelly uses intricate paper–like constructions of termites to the serendipitous shelters found and inhabited by sea creatures, to show how homes provide the keys to survival for many species. The ability to find an appropriate home or breeding area is essential for a species. This NSTA/CBC Award Winning book uses the theme of shelter to illustrate behavioral and physical adaptations in a variety of animals. 

The large drawings on each page are visually rich with detail to encourage careful observation. There are great connections to other kinds of information and to details about each animal’s habitat. This book is great for sharing with a group, browsing as an individual elementary reader, or for inspiring individual or group research projects about the homes of animals in the areas where students live. 

First graders enjoy listening to this story and then participate in the following inquiry lessons.

To review background knowledge, students are asked. “Do you agree with the title of the book?”  (Even an Octopus Needs a Home.) Thumbs up or down.   All thumbs went up and then students respond to “Why?’ and generate a class list of ideas of why animals need a home. The list is basically the same list as on Kelly’s first page.  Animals need a safe place to sleep, store food, eat, and raise their families.

 Before reading, set the following purpose. “Which animals are identified in the book and what kind of homes are mentioned. How does the author show the interdependence of living things?  In other words, how do the animals benefit from each home and what does the home do for the animals?”

After the first reading of the story 9 charts are put up, one for each type of home. ( trees houses, towers, lodges, caves, dens, burrows, floating homes, mobile homes, and bubbles)  Each student randomly picks an index card with the name of one of the animals named in the story.  As the story is re-read a student puts her card on the appropriate “home” chart. 

Students think, pair, share why these homes are good homes for the animals in each category.  Then each student chooses one animal card to illustrate the animal in its home and to answer the question, Why is this a good home?  For instance, one student drew a canvas back duck in a floating home and said, “This is a good home because it is a warms and safe place for the eggs.”  Another example was a European red wood ant in a tower.  It is a good home because if it rains the ants would die but if they are in a tower homes the babies will be protected and won’t die.

See other examples on display.

Bibliography

Even an Octopus Needs a Home, Irene Kellly, Holiday House, New York, 2011

Helene Granof

2nd, 4th Grade Teacher (retired) Burning Tree Elementary School

6410 Bannockburn Dr. 7900 Beech Tree Road

Bethesda, MD  20817 Bethesda, MD  20817

301-229-0762 – H 301-254-4363  C

hgranof@gmail.com  or                            Helene_S_Granof@mcpsmd.org

National Standards- 

Content Standard C: 

 All students should develop understanding of 

  • the characteristics of organisms

Organisms have basic needs. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs can be met.  The world has many different environments, and distinct environments support the life of different types of organisms

Each animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.

The behavior of individual organisms is influenced by internal cues (such as hunger) and external cues (such as a change in the environment).

  • life cycles of organisms

Plants and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying. 

Animals close resemble their parents.

  • organisms and environments

All animals depend on plants.  Some animals eat plants for food.  Other animals eat animals that eat the plants.

  Content Standard F:

  All students should develop understanding of

  • changes in environments

environments are the space, conditions and factors that affect an individual’s and a population’s ability to survive and their quality of life.  Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humans.  Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither good nor bad.  Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms.  Some environmental changes occur slowly, and others occur rapidly.  

   Bibliography

Even an Octopus Needs a Home, Irene Kellly, Holiday House, New York, 2011

Helene Granof

2nd, 4th Grade Teacher (retired) Burning Tree Elementary School

6410 Bannockburn Dr. 7900 Beech Tree Road

Bethesda, MD  20817 Bethesda, MD  20817

301-229-0762 – H 301-254-4363  C

hgranof@gmail.com  or                             Helene_S_Granof@mcpsmd.org

Name _______________

Even an Octopus Needs a Home

By Irene Kelly

Animal ______________ Type of home _________

Why is this a good home for (animal) _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

Even an Octopus Needs a Home– Lesson for 1st grade

Intro book – look at title, Is it true?  Does everyone need a home?  Why

Chart reasons-  Animals and people need a safe place to sleep, store food and raise their families.

List types of homes

  1. trees
  2. towers and reefs
  3. lodges
  4. caves
  5. dens
  6. burrows (underground)
  7. floating  (nests)
  8. mobile
  9. bubbles

Animals

1. chimpanzees, monk parakeets, Honduran white bats, bees, paper wasps, some ants, weaver ants, weaver birds, birds,

2. termites, European red wood ants, coral polyps (reef), fish, mollusks, marine mammals,

3. beavers,

4. moray eels (underwater caves), brown bears, octopus, bats

5. bear cubs, polar bears, ringed seals,

6. badgers, leaf-cutter ants, rabbits, pistol shrimp, tortoises, spadefoot toad,

7. canvasback duck, magpie goose,

8. paper nautilus, hermit crab, snails,

9. diving bell spider, Siamese fighting fish,

A Place For Fish

Description of Lesson

A Place for Fish

By Melissa Stewart

Goal:  To promote scientific thinking and scientific awareness through the trade book, A Place for Fish  by Melissa Stewart

“Books do more than provide me with content knowledge. They are essential to children’s scientific thinking and to their understanding, enjoyment and appreciation of science.  I see both children and science as enriched by books.”

Jeanne Reardon, Montgomery County Public Schools

A Place for Fish is an informative and colorful book on the importance of fish and other ocean life in the greater world picture. Each page has part of the story, but also helpful facts on why the fish in the picture are important.  Children learn basic facts about fish including where they live, what they eat and how they benefit plants and other animals.  In Melissa Stewart’s call to action for her readers, she shares not only the behavior and beauty of fish, but she describes specific ways people can help protect them and their natural habitats.  Her pointers on how youngsters can help fish in their own community are a great take-off point for inquiry science for students all over the country.  This book inspires students to research their local ecosystems to help support the survival of threatened fish populations.

Fourth graders in Maryland read Stewart’s book at the beginning of the environmental unit on the Chesapeake Bay.  Then they participated in the following lessons to tie in their research and understanding of the problems of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.

Lesson Plan

  1. To review background knowledge, students first took a  T F quiz on basic information about fish. (facts from A Place for Fish.) They were also asked to create a list of things they can do to help protect fish in the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways that feed into the Bay. This is a tie-in to their upcoming unit on the Chesapeake Bay.
  2. Students reviewed the quiz answers before they began to learn about the problems in the Bay.
  3. Students took part in video-taped panel discussions by dividing into groups of people who are affected by the problems of the Bay.  The groups included watermen, dairy farmers, recreational boaters, ordinary citizens and land developers.  Each group researched and prepared information using a web graphic organizer and notetaking process to speak on the following topics pertaining to its group:  background and explanation of the group’s purpose, explanation of the problem for the  Bay’s ecosystem, and possible solutions their group could contribute to making the Bay ecosystem healthier for fish, plants and people.
  4. Students participated in and shared their panel discussions with classmates. 
  5. As a concluding activity, students compiled a list of names and photographs of over 50 fish which lived in the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding areas.  Each student selected one fish to illustrate.  See display.

Helene Granof

2nd, 4th Grade Teacher (retired) Burning Tree Elementary School

6410 Bannockburn Dr. 7900 Beech Tree Road

Bethesda, MD  20817 Bethesda, MD  20817

301-229-0762 – H 301-254-4363  C

hgranof@gmail.com or Helene_S_Granof@mcpsmd.org  

 National Standards- 

 Content Standard C: 

 All students should develop understanding of 

  • the characteristics of organisms

Organisms have basic needs. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs can be met.  The world has many different environments, and distinct environments support the life of different types of organisms

Each animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.

The behavior of individual organisms is influenced by internal cues (such as hunger) and external cues (such as a change in the environment).

  • life cycles of organisms

Plants and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying. 

Animals close resemble their parents.

          • organisms and environments

All animals depend on plants.  Some animals eat plants for food.  Other animals eat animals that eat the plants.

Content Standard F:

All students should develop understanding of

  • changes in environments

environments are the space, conditions and factors that affect an individual’s and a population’s ability to survive and their quality of life.  Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humans.  Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither good nor bad.  Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms.  Some environmental changes occur slowly, and others occur rapidly.  

   Bibliography

A Place for Fish, Melissa Stewart, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, Georgia, 2011  

Helene Granof

2nd, 4th Grade Teacher (retired) Burning Tree Elementary School

6410 Bannockburn Dr. 7900 Beech Tree Road

Bethesda, MD  20817 Bethesda, MD  20817

301-229-0762 – H 301-3254-4363  C

hgranof@gmail.com Helene_S_Granof@mcpsmd.org 

Name ____________

A Place for Fish

By Melissa Stewart

True or False

  1. 25,000 fish species have been identified.    T     F
  1. Groups of seahorses are called a school                 T      F

3.The biggest fish is called the great whale shark.       T      F

  1. Young fish are called fingerlings.                         T      F
  1. Most brands of lipstick contain ground up fish scales.  T     F
  1. Fish sleep by closing their eyelids.                        T     F
  1. Sharks have been living for about 1 million years        T     F
  1. If you catch a small fish, you should let it go.           T    F 

The author, Melissa Stewart, offers readers a list of things they can do to help protect these special creatures in their own communities.  What do you think is on her list?  (Hint: Think about what you know about the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.)

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 National Standards- 

 Content Standard C: 

 All students should develop understanding of 

  • the characteristics of organisms

Organisms have basic needs. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs can be met.  The world has many different environments, and distinct environments support the life of different types of organisms

Each animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.

The behavior of individual organisms is influenced by internal cues (such as hunger) and external cues (such as a change in the environment).

  • life cycles of organisms

Plants and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying. 

Animals close resemble their parents.

          • organisms and environments

All animals depend on plants.  Some animals eat plants for food.  Other animals eat animals that eat the plants

Content Standard F:

All students should develop understanding of

  • changes in environments

environments are the space, conditions and factors that affect an individual’s and a population’s ability to survive and their quality of life.  Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humans.  Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither good nor bad.  Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms.  Some environmental changes occur slowly, and others occur rapidly.  

 Bibliography

Coral Reefs, Jason Chin, Roaring Brook Press, New York, 2011  

Helene Granof

2nd, 4th Grade Teacher (retired) Burning Tree Elementary School

6410 Bannockburn Dr. 7900 Beech Tree Road

Bethesda, MD  20817 Bethesda, MD  20817

301-229-0762 – H 301-3254-4363  C

hgranof@gmail.com Helene_S_Granof@mcpsmd.org   

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