Tag Archives: literacy and science

Review: The Little Dinosaur by Catriona Hoy and Andrew Plant

The little dinosaurChildren and adults alike love learning about dinosaurs and I hope you’ll enjoy reading my latest collaboration with Andrew Plant, The Little Dinosaur. Since this is a review site looking at how picture books can be used to introduce science themes, I’ve decided to include it here. Since I cant really review my own book however, I’d like to point you to some other worthy review sites.

Kidsbookreview

The Book Chook.

666 ABC Canberra

The Little Dinosaur sits apart from other dinosaur books, which are usually about North American or European dinosaurs. In the Cretaceous, Australia was part of a land mass called Gondwana and the climate was quite different to what we experience today. Below the Antarctic Circle, Australian dinosaurs had to search for food in ice and snow.

Dinosaurs fit into a number of places in the curriculum, both from the point of view of biological sciences and earth and space sciences. There is the opportunity to look at adaptations and environment and how the features of these little polar dinosaurs suit them to their enviroment. Over time the earth changes a great deal, Australia moves North and new types of plant and animal life emerge. The book is in two parts, the dinosaur becomes a fossil and we follow the steps that scientists take to recreate the past based on clues hidden in the rocks. It therefore fits into Science as a Human Endeavour and is a practical application of Science Inquiry skills.

There are links to teacher’s notes on my website and a crossword puzzle and wordsearch. Also some links to useful websites.

Follow up activities could include making fossil imprints of leaves or shells in dough, plaster of paris etc. I’ve used something called paper magiclay because it doesn’t leave a mess. You can download or make stencils of dinosaurs and create a Cretaceous scene.

NATIONAL CURRICULUM LINKS (as from ACARA)

Biological sciences (Year 1)

Living things have a variety of external features

  • recognising common features of animals such as head, legs and wings
  • describing the use of animal body parts for particular purposes such as moving and feeding

Living things live in different places where their needs are met

  • exploring different habitats in the local environment such as the beach, bush and backyard
  • recognising that different living things live in different places such as land and water

Biological sciences (Year 3)

Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things

  • recognising characteristics of living things such as growing, moving, sensitivity and reproducing
  • recognising the range of different living things
  • sorting living and non-living things based on characteristics
  • exploring differences between living, once living and products of living things

Biological sciences (Year 4)

Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive.

  • investigating the roles of living things in a habitat, for instance producers, consumers or decomposers
  • observing and describing predator-prey relationships
  • predicting the effects when living things in feeding relationships are removed or die out in an area
  • recognising that interactions between living things may be competitive or mutually beneficial.

Biological sciences (Year 5)

Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment. 

  • describing and listing adaptations of living things suited for the Australian environment
  • explaining how particular adaptations help survival such as nocturnal behaviour, silvery coloured leaves of dune plants
  • comparing types of adaptations such as behavioural and structural

Earth and space sciences (Year 1)

Observable changes occur in the sky and landscape

  • exploring the local environment to identify and describe natural, managed and constructed features
  • recording short and longer term patterns of events that occur on Earth and in the sky, such as the appearance of the moon and stars at night, the weather and the seasons

Earth and space sciences (Year4)

Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural processes and human activity

  • collecting evidence of change from local landforms, rocks or fossils
  • exploring a local area that has changed as a result of natural processes, such as an eroded gully, sand dunes or river banks

Author:     Catriona Hoy

Illusttrator:  Andrew Plant

Working Title Press, 2012

ISBN 9781921504396

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Filed under Biological Sciences Sub-strand, Earth and Space Sciences, Level 1, Level 1, Level 3, Level 3/4, Level 3/4, Level 4, Level 4, Level 5, Level 5, Level 5/6, Level 5/6, Science As Human Endeavour, Science Inquiry Skills

Review: Invisible Me by Wendy Binks

Invisible Me is the third in a series of stories about Stripey, an ’emu with attitude,’ created by Western Australian artist/author Wendy Binks. The first book in the series, ‘Where’s Stripey,’ was winner of the WA Premier’s Book Awards, Children’s Section.

Stripey lives in Fair Dinkum flats with his parents Crikey and Sheila and wonders why he has stipes but his parents don’t. His sister, Leggy, tells him it’s to make himself invisible when he’s in a special place so Crikey sets off to find that special place. In this tale about camouflage and habitat, Stripey meets other Australian animals along the way, including a red kangaroo hidden amongst the rocks, a goanna on a tree and an echidna on a back porch. In a delightful twist, Stripey thinks he’s found his special place with humans …but I won’t spoil it by telling you. In the end, however, Stripey does find his own special place out in the bush where he is safe and loved.

Binks’ illustrations are cheeky, vibrant and lots of fun. The characters have their own voices and the subject is treated in a light-hearted way. Children and adults alike will enjoy the illustrations and looking for the hidden characters. Binks has  included interesting facts at the end of the book. about the animals in her book; emus, echidnas, western ground parrots, red kangaroos, flying foxes and goannas. As support materials Binks has downloadable colouring sheets available at her Stunned Emu Designs website and she is available for author visits to schools. Linking the science themes in the book with some artwork would keep students engaged for hours.

 

NATIONAL CURRICULUM LINKS (as from ACARA)

Biological sciences (Foundation)

Living things have basic needs, including food and water

  • recognising the needs of living things in a range of situations such as pets at home, plants in the garden or plants and animals in bushland

Biological sciences (Year 1)

Living things have a variety of external features

  • recognising common features of animals such as head, legs and wings
  • describing the use of animal body parts for particular purposes such as moving and feeding

Living things live in different places where their needs are met

  • exploring different habitats in the local environment such as the beach, bush and backyard
  • recognising that different living things live in different places such as land and water

Biological sciences (Year 2)

Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves

  • representing personal growth and changes from birth
  • recognising that living things have predictable characteristics at different stages of development

Biological sciences (Year 4)

Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive.

  • investigating the roles of living things in a habitat, for instance producers, consumers or decomposers
  • observing and describing predator-prey relationships
  • predicting the effects when living things in feeding relationships are removed or die out in an area
  • recognising that interactions between living things may be competitive or mutually beneficial.

Biological sciences (Year 5)

Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment. 

  • describing and listing adaptations of living things suited for the Australian environment
  • exploring general adaptations for particular environments such as water conservation in deserts
  • explaining how particular adaptations help survival such as nocturnal behaviour, silvery coloured leaves of dune plants
  • comparing types of adaptations such as behavioural and structural

 

Author/Illustrator:     Wendy Binks

Stunned Emu Press, 2011

ISBN 9780646562155

 

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Filed under Biological Sciences Sub-strand, Foundation, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5

Review: Journey of the Sea Turtle by Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is an artist/illustrator/author and passionate conservationist. He has written and illustrated a number of books for children with strong environmental themes. In ‘Journey ofthe Sea Turtle,’ he tells the story of a loggerhead turtle, from birth to migration and back to the beach where she was born. When she returns, she finds that there is nowhere to lay her eggs. She becomes tangled in netting and struggles to survive. Finally the sight of shadow birds in the sky lead her to a new beach.

The story deals with loss and degradation of habitat and the threats posed to turtles from human activities. In his teacher’s notes, Wilson is keen to point out the significance of turtles as a keystone species and their  importance in the marine food chain. You can contact Mark for copies of his teacher’s notes.

The book also delves into the life cycles of the turtles and the predator/prey relationship with the ‘shadow birds,’ sea birds which prey upon the young turtle hatchlings as they emerge from their nests and head for the ocean. The turtle knows that it is time to lay her eggs by the temperature of the sea. At the end of his book, Wilson highlights the point that ‘it is estimated that only one in a thousand baby loggerhead turtles form one nesting beach near Bundaberg in Queensland will survive life at sea, to return in thirty years as a nesting adult.’

I love the structure and colour of the illustrations in this book. On some pages, the texture of the canvas for the paintings clearly shows through.  On others there is a mixture of pencil sketches and colour. I like the way Wilson has shown the passage of time with the pages illustrating the hatchlings development from eggs. The blues, yellows and greens blend to make the ocean seem as if it will spill out of the page.

Although the text is simple and able to be understood by the very young, there are also more complex issues here which could lead to further work on habitat, lifecycles, food chains and the requirements of living things.

Interested in finding out more about sea turtles?

Turtle Care : Sunshine Coast

turtle foundation

For some art ideas about the book, check out what this school has done.

 

NATIONAL CURRICULUM LINKS (as from ACARA)

Biological sciences (Foundation)

Living things have basic needs, including food and water

  • recognising the needs of living things in a range of situations such as pets at home, plants in the garden or plants and animals in bushland

Biological sciences (Year 1)

Living things have a variety of external features

  • recognising common features of animals such as head, legs and wings
  • describing the use of animal body parts for particular purposes such as moving and feeding

Living things live in different places where their needs are met

  • exploring different habitats in the local environment such as the beach, bush and backyard
  • recognising that different living things live in different places such as land and water

Biological sciences (Year 2)

Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves

  • representing personal growth and changes from birth
  • recognising that living things have predictable characteristics at different stages of development
  • exploring different characteristics of life stages in animals such as egg, caterpillar and butterfly
  • observing that all animals have offspring, usually with two parents

Biological sciences (Year 4)

Living things have life cycles

  • making and recording observations of living things as they develop through their life cycles
  • describing the stages of life cycles of different living things such as insects, birds, frogs and flowering plants

Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive.

  • investigating the roles of living things in a habitat, for instance producers, consumers or decomposers
  • observing and describing predator-prey relationships
  • predicting the effects when living things in feeding relationships are removed or die out in an area
  • recognising that interactions between living things may be competitive or mutually beneficial.

Biological sciences (Year 5)

Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment. 

  • describing and listing adaptations of living things suited for the Australian environment
  • exploring general adaptations for particular environments such as water conservation in deserts
  • explaining how particular adaptations help survival such as nocturnal behaviour, silvery coloured leaves of dune plants
  • comparing types of adaptations such as behavioural and structural

Earth and Space Sciences (Foundation)

Daily and seasonal changes in our environment, including the weather, affect everyday life.

  • investigating how changes in the weather might affect animals such as pets, animals that hibernate, or migratory animals

Earth and Space Sciences (Year 1)

Observable changes occur in the sky and the landscape.

  • exploring the local environment to identify and describe natural, managed and constructed features
  • recording short and longer term patterns of events that occur on Earth and in the sky, such as the appearance of the moon and stars at night, the weather and the seasons

Earth and Space Sciences (Year 4)

Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural processes and human activity .

  • collecting evidence of change from local landforms, rocks or fossils
  • considering how different human activities cause erosion of the Earth’s surface
  • considering the effect of events such as floods and extreme weather on the landscape, both in Australia and in the Asia region

Author/Illustrator:     Mark Wilson

Lothian Books, 2009

ISBN 9780734410597

Journey of a Sea Turtle is availabe through educational suppliers Lamont and all book stores. Lamont may have copies of teacher’s notes available.

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Filed under Biological Sciences Sub-strand, Chemical Sciences Sub-strand, Foundation, Foundation, Level 1, Level 2, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 4, Level 5

Review: Platypus Deep by Jill Morris and Heather Gall

Platypus Deep is the story of Orni the platypus and his search for a new place to build a den when his old home is destroyed by a savage storm.Author and conservationist Jill Morris likes to make plays on words with the names of her characters. The scientific name for a platypus is Ornithorhynchus Anatinus and upstream from Orni lives Anatina, feeding her babies; while downstream lives the old and fierce platypus, Rhyncus. A good way to introduce your students to the idea of scientific names and that they are important because there can be so many common names for the same thing.

Morris gives us a clear sense of the habitat of the platypus in her opening pages; In the ‘secret pool on a quiet creek,’ we meet sandpaper figs, fig parrots, butterflies, frogs, echidnas and yabby’s, which all share the pool with Orni. We learn what Orni eats and also the food web relationships between the other inhabitants of this little ecosystem. Later a dingo visits the pool and we get a sense that there are predators even further up the food chain.

Morris also shows us some of the adaptations and characteristics of the platypus and other animals. Anatina feeds her babies upstream, clearly mammalian, the snake soaks up the sun for warmth, and Orni and Rhyncus battle with their posion spurs as they compete for the pool downstream.

There is also a sense of changing landcape here, which fits in with the Earth and Space Sciences stream. There is the rapid change due to the storm, geological changes over long periods of time and the changes caused by the impact of humans and pollution. Morris sends a clear message here and her inner back cover states that ‘in 2005 the people of Maleny protested unsuccessfully against the building of a supermarket on the bak of Obi Obi Creek, the habitat of a large colony of platypuses. Illustrator Heather Gall lives near Maleny in Queensland.

Morris doesn’t let the science get in the way of the story-line and so it’s an enjoyable read on it’s own merits. It’s also a book that could be used on a number of different levels, even with older children as an exercise in drawing food webs.It’s particularly relevant at level 4, looking at interactions between organisms. Local and authentic content makes the exercise much more worthwhile.

Jill Morris has produced a number of books with conservation themes through her Greater Glider publishing. A review of her book ‘Green Air’ on this blog can be found here. You may also like to read a review at Aussie Reviews.

NATIONAL CURRICULUM LINKS (as from ACARA)

Biological sciences (Foundation)

Living things have basic needs, including food and water

  • recognising the needs of living things in a range of situations such as pets at home, plants in the garden or plants and animals in bushland

Biological sciences (Year 1)

Living things have a variety of external features

  • recognising common features of animals such as head, legs and wings
  • describing the use of animal body parts for particular purposes such as moving and feeding

Living things live in different places where their needs are met

  • exploring different habitats in the local environment such as the beach, bush and backyard
  • recognising that different living things live in different places such as land and water

Biological sciences (Year 2)

Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves

  • representing personal growth and changes from birth
  • recognising that living things have predictable characteristics at different stages of development
  • exploring different characteristics of life stages in animals such as egg, caterpillar and butterfly
  • observing that all animals have offspring, usually with two parents

Biological sciences (Year 4)

Living things have life cycles

  • making and recording observations of living things as they develop through their life cycles
  • describing the stages of life cycles of different living things such as insects, birds, frogs and flowering plants

Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive.

  • investigating the roles of living things in a habitat, for instance producers, consumers or decomposers
  • observing and describing predator-prey relationships
  • predicting the effects when living things in feeding relationships are removed or die out in an area
  • recognising that interactions between living things may be competitive or mutually beneficial.

Biological sciences (Year 5)

Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment. 

  • describing and listing adaptations of living things suited for the Australian environment
  • exploring general adaptations for particular environments such as water conservation in deserts
  • explaining how particular adaptations help survival such as nocturnal behaviour, silvery coloured leaves of dune plants
  • comparing types of adaptations such as behavioural and structural

Earth and Space Sciences (Foundation)

Daily and seasonal changes in our environment, including the weather, affect everyday life.

  • investigating how changes in the weather might affect animals such as pets, animals that hibernate, or migratory animals

Earth and Space Sciences (Year 1)

Observable changes occur in the sky and the landscape.

  • exploring the local environment to identify and describe natural, managed and constructed features
  • recording short and longer term patterns of events that occur on Earth and in the sky, such as the appearance of the moon and stars at night, the weather and the seasons

Earth and Space Sciences (Year 4)

Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural processes and human activity .

  • collecting evidence of change from local landforms, rocks or fossils
  • considering how different human activities cause erosion of the Earth’s surface
  • considering the effect of events such as floods and extreme weather on the landscape, both in Australia and in the Asia region

Author:     Jill Morris

Illustrator: Heather Gall

Greater Glider, 2006

ISBN 9780947304744

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Filed under Biological Sciences Sub-strand, Foundation, Foundation, Level 1, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 4, Level 5, Uncategorized

Review: There Was An Old Sailor by Claire Saxby and Cassandra Allen

‘There was an old sailor

Who swallowed a krill

I don’t know why he swallowed the krill’

It’ll make him ill…?

So begins one of my favourite picture books of the past few years.  ‘There Was An Old Sailor,’ written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Cassandra Allen is a fun new look at an old children’s classic. Modelled on the rythms and patterns of ‘there was an old woman who swallowed a fly,’ it looks at an old sailor, who successively swallows larger and larger ocean creatures until…well I won’t spoil the punch-line. You’ll have to read it yourself but it certainly appeals to kids. This is a great read-aloud book and the repetition that young children will love joining in. Getting rhymes to work in stories is something that seems easy but is in fact quite difficult and Saxby has done a great job.

Allen’s illustrations are also really appealling, with a great range of exprssions on the sailor’s face as he contemplates eating a seal, a shark and a whale… of course, a sailor couldn’t really swallow a whale but these illustrating make it all seem quite feasible.

The last pages of the book contain some fishy facts about ocean creatures.

Saxby’s book won the SCBWI 2011 Crystal Kite award. This award is voted on by other authors and illustrators, so it’s a great verification of her work by her peers. The book was also short-listed for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards 2010, Young Children Category.

Walker books have provided a set of classroom ideas which you can access here. There are some great ideas to use in the classroom, as well as a quiz which you can print out which students can answer from  the fishy facts at the back of the book. Making puppets, making rhymes, looking at the art-work…lots of links between literacy, science and art. Walker have also provided a colouring sheet for younger children…or perhaps older ones too!

The obvious science links here are food chains/webs and this little story would be a great way to introduce it as a concept for younger children and even for older children. I’ve used picture books in secondary classes as a way to get kids engaged. You could make a food web, linking students with string or model one in 3D with artwork. It also relates to habitat and the types of creatures which inhabit an ocean environment, their adaptations and they way in which their needs are met. On a simpler level, it can be used to look at children’s needs, what they need to eat and their own requirements.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the story behind the story, you can read some of the posts on it’s blog tour at great review sites such as kid’s book review.

National Curriculum applications:

Biological sciences (Foundation)

Living things have basic needs, including food and water

  • recognising the needs of living things in a range of situations such as pets at home, plants in the garden or plants and animals in bushland
  • identifying the needs of humans such as warmth, food and water, using students’ own experiences

Biological sciences (Year 1)

Living things have a variety of external features

  • recognising common features of animals such as head, legs and wings
  • describing the use of animal body parts for particular purposes such as moving and feeding

Living things live in different places where their needs are met

  • exploring different habitats in the local environment such as the beach, bush and backyard
  • recognising that different living things live in different places such as land and water

Biological sciences (Year 4)

Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive.

  • investigating the roles of living things in a habitat, for instance producers, consumers or decomposers
  • observing and describing predator-prey relationships
  • predicting the effects when living things in feeding relationships are removed or die out in an area
  • recognising that interactions between living things may be competitive or mutually beneficial.

Author: Claire Saxby

Illustrator: Cassandra Allen

Walker Books, 2010

ISBN 978192150515

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Filed under Biological Sciences Sub-strand, Foundation, Level 1, Level 4