A place to share cool science ideas for storytime!

Archive for the ‘Biology (Life Science)’ Category

Positively Polar Bears!

Sea Bear: a Journey for Survival written and illustrated by Lindsay Moore

A polar bear waits patiently for spring when the ice breaks up, but after months of hunting, paddling, and resting on ice floes, summer ends and the bear must swim very far to find land. Includes facts about polar bears and the effect of climate change on their environment.

Roly Poly by Mem Fox

Roly Poly the polar bear never wanted a brother, but then little Monty arrives and Roly Poly has to adjust to his new sibling.

Caspian Finds a Friend by Jacqueline Véissid

Caspian lives alone in a lighthouse surrounded by the cold gray-blue sea, longing for a friend; so one day he puts a message in a bottle and floats it away in the sea–but the friend who finds it is someone completely unexpected.

What if …? Then We: Short, Very Short, Shorter-Than-Ever Possibilities by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Two polar bear friends have a thrilling adventure as they imagine solutions to a variety of possible situations; their story will show readers how to create their own tales in response to the question “What if…?

You’re Snug With Me by Chitra Sounder

A mother polar bear answers the questions of her two curious cubs about what lies beyond their cozy winter den as they wait for spring to arrive.

Leaf written and illustrated by Sandra Dieckmann

When a polar bear arrives unexpectedly in the woods, the animals fear and avoid him, suspecting him to be dangerous – and his habit of collecting leaves only adds to their distrust. Then one day, they watch as he attempts to fly over the water with wings made of colorful leaves … just trying to go home. Maybe he needs some help?

Welcome written and illustrated by Barroux

After the ice they’re living on breaks, three polar bears drift away and must find a new home.

Pup and Bear by Kate Banks

A stranded wolf cub is rescued and raised by a loving polar bear, and years later when he is grown into a wolf and on his own, he comes upon a lost polar bear cub, and the cycle begins again.

The Bear Report written and illustrated by Thyra Heder

Sophie is uninterested in writing a research report on polar bears until a polar bear named Olafur swoops her away to the Arctic, where she learns all about the playful bear’s habits and habitat, from glacier mice to Northern Lights.

Polar Bear Morning by Laura Thompson

A little polar bear cub ventures out of her den for the first time and meets a new friend.

Nanuk the Ice Bear written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter

At the top of the world, a polar bear hunts, swims, courts, raises cubs, and worries as they go off on their own.

Ice Bear and Little Fox by Jonathan London

Describes how a polar bear and the little fox that follows it survive over the course of a year in the Arctic. Includes afterword with facts about Arctic animals and Inuit peoples.

Ice Bear: in the Steps of the Polar Bear by Nicola Davies

Huge, magnificent, and solitary, a polar bear moves through the frozen Arctic. Powerful hunter, tireless swimmer, tender mother, gentle playmate — she is superbly adapted for surviving, even thriving, in this harsh and icy climate. Written in poetic language interspersed with fascinating facts, Nicola Davies’ breathtaking tale of this massive, stark white animal is brought to life in striking paintings by Gary Blythe.

Polar Bear Science Experiment: http://preschoolpowolpackets.blogspot.com/2016/01/polar-bear-science-experiment-stem.html

Polar Bear Paw Print Art Project: https://thecraftyclassroom.com/crafts/arctic-art-projects-for-kids/polar-bear-paw-print-art-project/

Polar Bear Paper bag craft: https://www.craftsonsea.co.uk/paper-bag-polar-bear-craft/

Polar bear masks: https://minnesotaminiaturesmarket.com/2017/12/egg-carton-masonry/

 

Foxes

One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller written and illustrated by Kate Read

An illustrated counting book in which one famished fox finds five snug eggs but must face three plump hens to get them.

Lawrence in the Fall by Matthew Farina

Lawrence the fox accompanies his father into the forest to collect something to take to his school show-and-tell, and while briefly lost and alone, Lawrence encounters the beauty of nature and finds exactly what he needs.

Fox and the Box written and illustrated by Yvonne Ivinson

A fox sets out across the sea in a floating box on a grand adventure full of endless possibilities.

Sun written and illustrated by Alison Oliver

Sun loves playing soccer but after seeing his brother, Pablo, making art he goes on an adventure with a fox and reconnects with his creative side.

A Fox Found a Box written and illustrated by Ged Adamson

When a little fox finds a radio, he shares the songs and music with his animal friends, but after it goes quiet, the little fox begins to hear the music found in nature.

Hello, Door by Alastair Heim

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text follow a fox as he enters a home and walks through, greeting and taking various objects, until the owners return.

I am Not a Fox by Karina Wolf

When Luca arrives in a city, the dogs tell him he is a fox and not welcome in their park, so he sets out to discover which he is, dog or fox.

Little Fox in the Forest written and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

A wordless picture book in which two friends follow a young fox deep into the woods and discover a wondrous and magical world.

Watersong by Tim McCanna

A fox’s journey to take shelter from a rainstorm, told entirely in onomatopoeia.

The Fox and the Wild written and illustrated by Clive McFarland

Fred is a city fox, but the city can be a scary place. It’s noisy, it’s smoky, and it’s often dangerous. One day, Fred sees a flock of birds flying over the rooftops. Where do they go? he wonders. When a bird tells him about the place called the wild, he decides to go in search of it. Will he find the wild? And what will happen if he does?

Nonfiction

Foxes by Laura F. Marsh

Mysterious, cunning, smart, and sleek, foxes are one of kids’ favorite animals. Learn all about this fantastic forest canine! Packed with beautiful and engaging photos, this new leveled reader dives into the amazing world of foxes. Kids will learn all about fascinating foxes, including where they live, how they hunt, and what their families are like.

 

The Secret Life of the Red Fox by Laurence Pringle

The life of a red fox is a mystery to most people. You might catch a glimpse of blazing red fur or hear a far-off bard, but the fox’s daily activities are known to few. Filled with fascinating facts and illuminating details, this nonfiction book invites readers on a yearlong journey with a red fox named Vixen.

The Science of Pumpkins

Pumpkin Circle : the Story of a Garden by  George Levenson

Rhyming text and photographs follow a pumpkin patch as it grows and changes, from seeds to plants to pumpkins ready to harvest, to jack-o-lanterns and then to seeds again. A wonderful nonfiction book for preschoolers.

The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons

Describes how pumpkins come in different shapes and sizes, how they grow, and their traditional uses and cultural significance. Includes instructions for carving a pumpkin and drying the seeds.

From Seed to Pumpkin by Jan Kottke

Nonfiction book with Illustrations and simple text describe how a pumpkin seed grows into a plant that produces pumpkins for making pies and jack-o-lanterns.

One Child, One Seed : a South African Counting book by Kathryn Cave

A counting book to widen the horizons, packed with information about the life and culture of South Africa.

How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? By Wendell Minor

Playing with concepts of size and scale, giant pumpkins decorate some of America’s most famous landmarks and landscapes. Includes facts about the places and events pictured.

Pumpkin Time! By Erzsi Deak

From the day she plants seeds in her garden until she serves a pumpkin pie after harvest, Evy fails to notice any of the strange things the farm animals do as she works, from donkeys sailing through the sky to pigs dancing around a May Pole. Pumpkin facts and trivia, answers to the questions about what Evy was doing and a toasted pumpkin seed recipe are included at the end of the book.

More picture books about pumpkins:

Patty’s Pumpkin Patch by Teri Sloat

Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch by Mary Peterson

Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins

A stemless pumpkin that yearns to be a Halloween jack-o-lantern watches sadly as all of the other pumpkins in the shop are chosen.

Penguin and Pumpkin by Salina Yoon

Curious about what fall is like in places that are not always white, Penguin and his friends fly to a pumpkin farm and bring back a surprise for Penguin’s brother, Pumpkin, who couldn’t come with them.

Grow pumpkin seeds inside a pumpkin: https://www.growinginprek.com/apps/blog/show/9483735

Printable life cycle of a pumpkin: http://www.montessoriforeveryone.com/assets/PDF/Life_Cycle_of_a_Pumpkin.pdf

Floating Pumpkin science activity: http://preschoolpowolpackets.blogspot.com/2012/10/pumpkin-science-for-preschoolerskinderg.html

Make pumpkin oobleck: : http://www.sunhatsandwellieboots.com/2011/10/sensory-play-pumpkin-goop-oobleck.html

Pumpkin decomposition science activity: : https://www.giftofcuriosity.com/halloween-science-pumpkin-decomposition/

Pumpkin seed dying and exploration: https://teachpreschool.org/2011/10/22/exploring-pumpkin-seeds-in-the-preschool-classroom/

Pumpkin investigation printable: https://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/science-activity-pumpkin-investigations/

 

Germs!

I recently presented a storytime at Morrill Hall, The State Museum at the University of Nebraska. The theme was All Things Tiny to highlight their Guts & Glory: A Parasite Story exhibit.

I began with TINY CREATURES: The World of Microbes. The author gives examples of their sizes and numbers, their varied shapes, their habitats, appetites and how they eat. Microorganisms slowly change food into compost, milk into yogurt and rocks into soil. They reproduce by dividing, and they’re very good at it. Happily only a few can make us sick; most are busily with other vital tasks.

You wouldn’t want to live without bacteria! By Roger Canavan is another nonfiction book that addresses the subject.

Inside Your Germs

Another fun book that is illustrated with cartoon style germs and short amount of text is Germs by Judy Oetting.

Another is Achoo!

The second book we read was Germs! Germs! Germs!

followed by Wash Your Hands.

Each time the princess is told to wash her hands, she asks why, and each circumstance is briefly explained. After Little Princess plays outside, the Queen instructs her to wash because she got dirty outside. She plays with her dog and the cook makes her wash and dry them again. She uses her potty and the King has her wash even though she’s washed them twice before.  Lastly, the maid has her wash after she sneezes and with much humor gives her a overview of dealing with `germs and nasties’ to avoid getting sick.

The children really enjoyed the story along with naming all the animals in Felicity Floo Visits the Zoo.

They also enjoyed Germs Are Not for Sharing with its simple text and easy to understand information.

Just for fun I read Solomon Sneezes.

I passed out paper circles to the children to show how quickly bacteria can multiply. I put one down and explained that it created two more and invited the children to add their circles, then showed them that each of the two created two more and so on. They enjoyed watching the bacteria multiply!

Some links to activities:

Watch Germs Spread; use flour or glitter to show how easy it is to spread germs.

http://www.scholastic.com/browse/lessonplan.jsp?id=258

http://www.consumered.org/teach/germ-lessons-and-activities

More in depth information and activities.

http://sciencenetlinks.com/esheets/germs-and-the-body/

Germ coloring sheets.

http://crystalandcomp.com/kid-color-pages-a-sick-day-and-spreading-germs/

More information at Biology4Kids.

http://www.biology4kids.com/files/micro_main.html

The Wonderful Ocean World

Mr. Tate’s class travels to Sunnyside Beach to help clean up trash. Captain Ned encourages the students to listen to the sea and they hear the many creatures that count on clean ocean water to survive. Captain Ned teaches the students that healthy oceans are important to all earth’s creatures.
The kids see how all of the wild life at the beach counts, with counting pages such as one whale, two seas turtles and all the way to ten bottlenose dolphins.

Breathe by Scott Magoon

This sweet story follows a young whale on a journey of discovery as he experiences his first day at sea on his own! He swims, explores, and makes friends in his marine habitat, and then returns home to his mother.

Fabulous Fishes by Susan Stockdale

Fabulous Fishes is a rhyming picture book that is wonderfully illustrated with brightly colored fish. The book describes different types of fish with simple rhymes. The last two pages describe each fish and the oceans in which they are found.

This is a really fun book about a squid who thinks he’s the biggest thing in the ocean. He compares himself to all the animals in the ocean that are smaller than him, like the crab, octopus and turtles. Little does he know that there is an animal bigger than him that eats him!

Here is a link to some storytime ideas for this book. https://www.kidssoup.com/craft-and-resource/story-time-im-the-biggest-thing-in-the-ocean-crafts-and-activities

Here’s a link to NOAA Fisheries’ Education Resources which are compiled from NOAA experts and partner organizations to provide high quality, science-based materials and activities for students and teachers interested in exploring the science behind marine resource management and conservation.

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/educators_students/education.html

Here’s a guide to Greater Atlantic Fish Species.

https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/educational_resources/seafood/fish/

Here’s an Itsy Bitsy ocean book children can create.

http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/learning-letters/ib-book-ocean.htm

Here’s a fun activity featuring oceans zones and layers of the sea with a hands-on science project.

http://www.kcedventures.com/blog/layers-of-the-ocean-under-the-sea-science-activities

 

Birds, birds, birds!

The theme for this week’s storytime was birds!

Early Bird by Toni Yuly

With simple geometric shapes and vibrant colors, this fun story follows Early Bird as she gets an early start to her day. Directional words such as “across,” “through,” “under,” “up,” “around,” and “over” are used as she finally finds the early worm.

Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins

On the first page, a little woodpecker has just learned to peck. He continues to peck everything he comes across! He peck-peck-pecks right through a door and then through a hat, a mat, tennis rackets, and a jacket and continues through the entire house! The preschoolers loved seeing him peck his way through the book, with actual holes in the book.

Here are some great science activities including a beak activity and how to create a bird seed buffet.

http://toddlertalesfun.blogspot.com/2012/11/week-four-woodpeckers-and-beaks.html

Here’s a printable woodpecker craft.

http://madebyjoel.com/2010/10/woodpecker.html

Froodle by Antoinette Portis

The birds in the neighborhood know what sound to make but one day little brown bird decides he wants to try something new. Crow is not amused but some of the other birds are intrigued. The birds begin to make some fun sounds that made the preschoolers laugh! The book reminds children that it’s okay to be different and sing your own tune.

I was able to share some delightful toy birds that sang their song when squeezed. The children enjoyed guessing what each bird was and imitated their song.

This site at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers many bird calls that you can listen to online.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search.aspx

The children also enjoyed the story of a baby owl titled “I’m Not Cute!”

as well as a counting book called Big Fat Hen.

Here’s a free printable of a life cycle of a bird that you can color and cut apart and put in order.

https://education.scholastic.co.uk/resources/27504

Here’s a free printable bird anatomy worksheet for learning the external parts of a bird to help identify birds.

http://layers-of-learning.com/bird-anatomy-worksheet/?platform=hootsuite

Learning Science the Montessori Way

Teach Me to do it Myself by Maja Pitamic

This practical book is filled with fun, simple and inexpensive activities that you can do with your preschooler. Each activity has a picture next to its description, a numbered list of directions, a list of what you will need and similar activities to try. The book is divided into sections:

  • Life Skills
  • Developing the Senses
  • Language Development (including letters, word building, and first sentences)
  • Numeracy Skills (learning numerals, learning quantities, adding and subtracting numbers and quantities, and shopping number and numeral vocabulary)
  • Science Skills

Some examples of the activities are:

  • Distinguishing sounds with objects such as 2 pan lids or a jar of coffee to shake
  • Musical scales using 5 glass bottles with varying levels of water.
  • Discovering colors using paint color sample strips
  • Understanding volume and estimation with water in different glass sizes
  • Making land models with disposable dishes, paint and play dough

The book How to raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way has a chapter on exploring the wider world with the key idea that children are little scientists, with a drive for discovery. It includes ideas for working in the family garden, taking a walk in the forest, and making your own nature museum. Another chapter includes ways to build sensory awareness and sensory activities that help children learn such as texture matching.

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