Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Learning about evolution

Here is a great book to introduce evolution to grades 4-6: Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: the Story of Evolution by Laurence Pringle. Here is  a sample from chapter 12:

"Trilobites, dinosaurs, giant megalodon sharks, woolly mammoths-these are just a few kinds of animals that thrived long ago and are now extinct. When they lived, and for how long, was once a great mystery. Now scientists have several ways of figuring out the age of ancient rocks and the fossils in or near them."

You might not think about dinosaurs and evolution but this is a take that could draw students in. Of course the book also talks about subjects like DNA. Chapter 13 on genetics is worth a look.

One summer I attended a writers conference at Chatauqua, NY and Laurence Pringle was a member of  the faculty. It's nice to read books by those whose paths have crossed with yours.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Seabird in the Forest

You probably wouldn't expect a seabird to lay eggs in a tree. That was a surprise to scientists in California, who actually discovered a chick in a tree. This bird, the marbled murrelet, is the subject of  Seabird in the Forest: the Mystery of the Marbled Murrelet by Joan Dunning.

Here is a sample:

 "Most seabirds simply fly to the safety of offshore rocks and islands and lay their eggs on bare ground or in burrows. But not these birds."

The book takes the reader through the journey of a marabled murrelet chick from the mother laying an egg in a tree until the youngster is ready to leave the nest and return to the sea.

This book is enhanced by the illustrations done by the author and has a list of sources at the back. It is a good candidate for use in second and third grade science classes.