Saturday, August 06, 2011

Picture Books that Lead to Science Inquiry

I love teaching science. I love that it is hands-on. I love that kids get to ask questions, after all, they are naturally inquisitive! I love that kids love to learn science and want to become entomologists, astronomers, and most recently in my class, little meteorologists. Most of all, I LOVE how science pops up in picture books and how these quality reads lead to authentic science learning experiences.

Last term we read That Magnetic Dog by Bruce Whatley. This lead to a discussion on what 'magnetic' means. They were so interested and had so many questions that we ended up doing a mini-unit on magnetism even though it wasn't in our planning!
We explored a baggie of different materials and created a T-Chart of those things that were magnetic and those that weren't. .

In pairs or small groups of 3, students made an hypothesis about why the magnetic items were attracted to the magnet and shared with the class. All groups hypothesised that all metal objects are magnetic.

Next, I visited the library and got out some non-fiction books which students read to research magnetism. From our research, we found out that only metal objects that contain steel or iron are magnetic.
After that, students had heaps more questions which they invesgated in groups like 'Are larger magnets more powerful than smaller magnets?' and 'Does magnetism pass through other objects?' etc. Sorry I don't have any pics, we finished this right before I started my blog so I didn't take any :(
What fiction books do you use as a springboard into science inquiry in your class? I'd love you to leave a comment and tell me all about it!


  1. I just love this post and I think this is my first comment on your lovely blog. I am an Aussie student teacher (6 weeks left until I finish my degree!). I have a previous Science degree and love to teach Science to all grades, as well as heading our CSIRO Double Helix Science Club in Armidale NSW. Another passion of mine is using picture books across all KLAs! I love your suggestions, thank you for sharing! I have created and taught a unit of work based on the NSW syllabus strand Living Things...specifically Life cycles of Seed Plants and I based it on the picture book 'The Tiny Seed' by Eric Carle. I also love his books to use with a 'Mini-beasts' science theme too:) Thanks again for sharing your ideas! Wishing you a happy week ahead.
    Good Morning Mrs Rubie

  2. Thanks for popping by Tina. I also looove picture books and use them across the curriculum wherever I can. I've just found Quick as a Cricket to introduce similes for tomorrow - even better a class reads it on YouTube (while showing the illustrations) so I don't have to wait for my book to arrive in the post! I really like Eric Carle books too, thanks for the suggestion of 'The Tiny Seed' - I actually haven't read that one yet so I'll add that to my wish list!

  3. I was really excited about using this book in my class and I discovered that the cheapest one was $65.... Is there a reason it is so expensive?

    1. Oh wow! I've got no idea why it is so expensive! I can get it for $20 delivered from some Aussie booksellers (Fishpond for example) and even that is more than what I paid for it. Perhaps it is out of print?? I hope you can track down a cheaper copy!


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