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Find more Unpacking a Standard
Young students are often brimming with question after question about the world around them. Books on STEM topics can provide many of the answers that kids are seeking and help students investigate their interests further. The titles below, all reviewed in Booklist, represent a wide range of science topics and, together with the suggested activities, will help educators implement the Common Core State Standards CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.1.1—RI.6.1.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.1.1. Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
Flight of the Honey Bee. By Raymond Huber. Illus. by Brian Lovelock. 2013. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763667603). PreS–Gr. 2.
This narrative brims with detail about the duties and life of a scout honeybee. Introduce the “5 W questions” (who, what, when, where, and why, as well as how) before sharing Huber’s book. As you read through the story, periodically stop and ask students to ask a question beginning with one of “5 W” words. Then ask the class to return to the text and read to find the answers.
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? By Rita Gray. Illus. by Kenard Pak. 2014. Houghton, $16.99 (9780544105805). PreS–Gr. 2.
As you read through this title, ask students to take note of what the robin is doing on every page on which it appears. Together as a class, use the words and the pictures to predict or ask questions about what the robin is doing. Then read the question-and-answer section in the back matter to determine if students found the right answers.
Mama Built a Little Nest. By Jennifer Ward. Illus. by Steve Jenkins. 2014. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane, $17.99 (9781442421165). K–Gr. 2.
Each page of this book introduces a new type of bird and gives a few facts about how each builds its nests. The poetic narrative paragraphs are accompanied by a factual caption. As you read aloud each piece, have students quietly compile either written or drawn questions on sticky notes. Students can then post their notes on an anchor chart. As a class, see if any of the questions can be answered directly from the text. If not, begin to look elsewhere in other books, or age-appropriate databases, such as Capstone’s Pebble Go.
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest—and Most Surprising—Animals on Earth. By Steve Jenkins. Illus. by the author. 2013. Houghton, $24.99 (9780547557991). Gr. 1–5.
This beautifully illustrated book presents a wide variety of animals and many facts about them. It would be an exciting read for any creature enthusiast. Have students use the book to find commonalities among various animals, using the text to prove how those animals can be linked.
Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey. By Loree Griffin Burns. 2014. illus. Millbrook, $29.26 (9780761393429). Gr. 2–4.
On page 12 of this informative title, the author tells the reader that the greenhouse on El Bosque Nuevo farm raises caterpillars. Have the readers use the text to explain why this farm would raise caterpillars and butterflies and how it helps the rest of the world.
Things That Float and Things That Don’t. By David A. Adler. Illus. by Anna Raff. 2013. Holiday, $16.95 (9780823428625). PreS–Gr. 2.
This book directly addresses readers and asks them to try putting different objects in water. Then Adler introduces various physics concepts, explaining why objects sink or float. Have students try the experiments in the book. After determining whether the objects sink or float, have the students go back in the text to find the explanation of why that’s the case.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.1. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
The Griffin and the Dinosaur: How Adrienne Mayor Discovered a Fascinating Link between Myth and Science. By Marc Aronson and Adrienne Mayor. Illus. by Chris Muller. 2014. National Geographic, $18.99 (9781426311086). Gr. 5–7.
After reading this book, have students refer to the text as they write down what they feel are the most important events in the narrative. In addition, have students record what exactly from the text helps them prove their points. Finally, have students share their thoughts and evidence to see how many people came up with the same events.
The Museum Book: A Guide to Strange and Wonderful Collections. By Jan Mark. Illus. by Richard Holland. 2007. Candlewick, $18.99 (9780763633707). Gr. 3–5.
Each chapter in this title reads almost like an introduction to the history of how museums were created. Group students together, and have them summarize the facts of a particular chapter. Then have students do further research to see if they can find any additional information to incorporate into their summaries.
Zoobots: Wild Robots Inspired by Real Animals. By Helaine Becker. Illus. by Alex Ries. 2014. Kids Can, $17.95 (9781554539710). Gr. 3–6.
Have students read about each of the robots, based on animals, which are presented in this title. Then students can choose one robot that they feel is superior. Students will use the information given by the author to form their arguments about what makes their robot stand out. Finally, students can present and vote on the best robot.
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