Added book to the K-2 Engineering Standards

"The Most Magnificent Thing" book cover
Author: Ashley Spires Illustrator: Ashley Spires

Just added this previous Featured Book to the K-2 engineering standards: 

Featured Book: “Rhoda’s Rock Hunt”

"Rhoda's Rock Hunt" Book Cover Picture
Author: Molly Beth Griffin, Illustrator: Jennifer A. Bell
Rhoda’s love for rocks tapped into my own childhood memories of searching for rocks around my yard, within “the dirts”–our neighborhood bike escape, along the adventures I would take with my dad, and the special bag of polish rocks that my mom would delight me with every time she had the opportunity. The look on Rhoda’s face as she gazed widely and specifically at the rocks along her hike with her aunt and uncle to their cabin, was like she was looking upon the most majestic riches, and in many ways, she was! And like many children (and adults) that come across a beautiful rock…in our pack it goes….to a point. Rhoda soon learned what we all come to know: Rocks are Heavy! 🙂
Students, rock-fans and soon-to-be rock-fans, will connect to this journey Rhoda is on, because there are layers of opportunities for personalized connections, even beyond rocks: collections, what to do when you get stuck or have too many, the great and beautiful outdoors, time with your aunt and uncle, etc. Those personalized stories will be a great connection to a deeper unit on rocks and minerals, or classification. Not to mention some backyard science!
Science Topics
  • Rocks & Minerals
  • Classification
  • Collections
  • Backyard Science
  • Observation
Literacy Connections
  • Family Stories
  • Summer/Vacation Days
  • Collections
  • Cause and Effect
  • Descriptive Adjectives
  • Picture Walk (great illustrations taken from multiple perspectives)
  • Point of View
Sociocultural Connections
  • Budding Female Geologist
  • Facilitated Independence
  • Determination
  • Facing a Problem

Featured Book: “Who’s Who in My Family?”

Author & Illustrator: Loreen Leedy, 1995, Holiday House, NYC

The focus of this story is to learn the components of a family tree and who’s in your extended family. The setting is in a classroom, with various well-known animal characters creating and then sharing about their diverse families–incorporating families with stepparents, step-siblings, and adoptions in an inclusive way.

While the family tree is a component of science class discussions, this book stands out due to the attention the author gives to genetics. The phenotypic characteristics of the family tree pictures are evident and can lead to a classroom conversation that goes deeper than family labels and organizations–for even the youngest grades. It all depends on the facilitation. This story, written for the younger grades, could even be used in upper elementary grades, for this reason, as a picture walk. Good for one of those “What do you notice” prompts.

Science Topics

  • Family Tree
  • Genetics
  • Traits
  • Mapping

Literacy Connections

  • Visual to Support for a Presentation
  • Storytelling
  • Comma Use

Sociocultural Connections

That the family dynamic is diverse and conversations need to be inclusive their diversity.

The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf: Grace Lin

I had the honor and privilege of hearing Grace Lin’s message locally (and even met her and got a book signed after her talk!). In many ways the research I am currently pursuing with science literature echoes many of her empowering points. I encourage you to take a moment to watch (and share) her Ted Talk.



Just added two books to the Science Topic List–check it out:

Featured Book: “Float”

"Float" Book Cover
Author: Daniel Miyares Illustrator: Daniel Miyares Pub: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, NYC, 2015

Book Summary: “A boy. A boat. A rainy day. An adventure.”

A wordless book that caused me to smile from start to finish. My mind quickly recalled my own newspaper creations, both while engineering on my own and as apprentice to my in-home expert, my brother. My mind also recalled my classroom days and the endless fascination and experiments a simple piece of paper held–something we often need reminded of in the land of tools and toys.

Science Topics

  • Engineering
  • Design process-sharing about the process
  • Students as engineers-sharing about their creations to lead to a group or individual experiment or challenge. Potential connection to variables.
  • Observing the cause and effect of a new adventure

Literacy Connections

  • Story elements
  • Storyboards
  • Oral language development: giving words to the story, sharing about their own creations as a connection to both writing and science where they are the expert

Sociocultural Connections

  • Ability to relate to the story: text-to-self connections
  • Parent/Guardian-Child connections (or in my case sibling connections): bring the home experiences to school and school experiences back to the home
  • Students as engineers: personal stories where they are the expert
  • Following an adventure: redefining “play” as a positive learning time

Featured Book: “How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?”

"How many seeds in a pumpkin?" Book Cover
Author: Margaret McNamara
Illustrator: G. Brian Karas
Schwartz & Wade Book, NY, 2007

Book Summary: “Charlie, the smallest child in his first grade class, is amazed to discover that of the three pumpkins his teacher brings to school, the smallest one has the most seeds.”

A great choice for this time of year. Featuring predictions, observation, estimation, group counting and process, this classroom story incorporates math, science and the co-construction of knowledge. Although geared more toward 1st-3rd, there are aspects of the story that could be used to launch a new investigation for the upper grades. The clues Mr. Tiffin shares with the class toward the end of the story added to my knowledge about pumpkins and left me with some wonderings of my own. Clever.

Science Topics

  • Observation
  • Prediction
  • Math Connections
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis
  • Investigations

Literacy Connections

  • Steps
  • Process
  • Directions
  • Descriptions
  • Providing Background Knowledge

Sociocultural Connections

  • Emotional Connections/Perceptions shared from the main character
  • Discussion about Perceptions: How we interact or think about others