Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Poetry of Science: Recommended Reads for Young Learners

Children playing in science exhibit. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016.
quest.eb.com/search/139_1947244/1/139_1947244/cite. Accessed 4 Aug 2017.
A collection of poems for history, geography, science, and math is the first step to bringing a human element and a personal, often humorous touch to the topics you are studying. This helps students retain information and vocabulary — they now have vivid and/or humorous mental images that forge remembering connections... Second, poems are short and cut to the heart of a topic. You can use a poem to connect students to your content topic in powerful and memorable ways... Third, and perhaps most important, poetry helps students explore important issues in your content area, issues that extend beyond the classroom into their lives, communities, and the world.
~Laura Robb and J. Patrick Lewis,  Poems for Teaching in the Content Areas: 75 Powerful Poems to Enhance Your History, Geography, Science, and Math Lessons

Using poetry to help teach science might not be the first way you think to approach your child's education, but it has been shown to be a useful approach! Children's book publishers Scholastic and Reading Rockets, a national multimedia literacy initiative, both have suggestions for using poetry in the classroom for other subjects besides English - both organizations talk about classes reading poetry together, discussing the topics raised, and then writing their own poetic responses. Reading Rockets even mentions taking a "poetry walk," to get sensory impressions to use in writing haiku about nature. Additionally, the American Library Association [ALA] mentions that both science and poetry require "keen observation" and notes that, of  National Science Education Standard's "seven major areas of science that are critical to the K–12 curriculum...poems can serve to initiate a topic or enrich and extend it," and they have a booklist to prove it.

Want to encourage your child's power of observation and interest in science? Why not start with the following recommended picture books and see if they pique your youngster's interest?

The Blood-Hungry Spleen and Other Poems About Our Parts by Allan Wolff

Water Sings Blue by Kate Coombs

Hey There, Stink Bug! by Leslie Bulion [eBook]

Ubiquitous: Poetry and Science About Nature's Survivors by Joyce Sidman

Animal Poems of the Iguazú by Francisco X. Alarcon

Bees, Snails, and Peacock Tails by Betsy Franco

Science Verse by Jon Scieszka

Scien-trickery by J. Patrick Lewis

Spectacular Science by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars by Douglas Florian

Our Food by Grace Lin

Monarch's Progress by Avis Harley

For more science books for kids and teens, check out Picture-Perfect Science Lessons, Expanded 2nd Edition: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry, 3–6 by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan (which explains the 5E instructional model - Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate - explaining why kids can read picture books in the classroom), the library's Science Project Help LibGuide, and the National Science Teachers Association's [NSTA] Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12 list.

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