Every year in my course for teachers, we have a book fair. Each participant (and yes, everyone participates) has to bring at least one book and describe how that book could be used to teach science at their chosen grade level.
There’s the easy stuff: the encyclopedias, Eyewitness books, Magic School Bus… but what else? Do we miss opportunities to teach science concepts with other literature that contains science?
A friend of mine teaches first grade, and loves to teach with Sadie and the Snowman. Sadie makes a snowman every year, and her snowman always melts! What science can you teach here? For starters, Precipitation/snow and phase changes (melting and freezing). There are also animals who eat parts of the snowman (oh no!) and this could lead into an investigation centered around what animals come for birdseed outside your classroom windows.
How about the Lorax? Wait, that’s too easy…
How about one of my favorites? When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life before Dinosaurs gives an honest and accurate presentation of paleozoic life before dinosaurs.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Metamorphosis!
Batholomew and the Oobleck. Phase changes.
What un-science books have you used in your classroom to teach science?
One thought on “Science through Children’s Literature”
I’d love to see the responses here! Our chemistry club will be helping to provide activities for a book fair at a couple of elementary schools, and we are trying to tie the science activities to books the kids like.
Some of my thoughts included Kitten’s First Full Moon by Henkes… a Caldecott winner, and recreating some of the “magic” in the Harry potter books. You could definitely tie the three little pigs to engineering and math skills. You can also use historical works to help understand why certain things were done differently before electricity. Farmer Boy by Wilder describes making ice cream which can be used to talk about phase changes, or a at higher levels freezing point depression.