Living Books: Science - MetroFamily Magazine
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Living Books: Science

by Jennifer Geary

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

I shared with you before about using living books to explore social studies topics in depth. To me, that has always been a very natural way to learn about history and the world; after all, history is just one big story! Science, on the other hand, has been more of a stretch for me to incorporate living books, especially as my son gets older. This is something I'm working on, though. With my son's studies, it's made a difference in how we see how scientific subjects relate to and affect many other things.

For the younger kids, there are so many great science books! I love the Let's Read and Find Out series and have used them for a huge variety of topics. Jim Arnosky has some beautifully illustrated nature books that even your older kids may enjoy. Also, magazines like Zoobooks, Big Backyard and Ranger Rick are good for short articles.

We covered lots of different scientific topics with living books with my son when he was little, but it's been harder for me to fit in as he's gotten older, which is why I've been using our morning basket time. We're currently reading Dr. Jenner and the Speckled Monster and learning about how smallpox shaped the history of the world. Later I am planning to read Blizzard (by Jim Murphy, who is an outstanding nonfiction author) as we review weather and see how weather-related events have affected people in history. My son loves to listen to stories, so these kinds of books have been a wonderful way for him to learn about science and history at the same time.  

We've also been using Sassafras Science Adventures this year, which is a story-based science curriculum. We've been reading through the first volume, which is zoology, and learning about different kinds of animals around the world.  Both my six year old and eleven year old have liked this a lot and they're learning geography, too! Holling C. Holling books are another way we've incorporated science and geography. They're full of pictures and full of information!

You might also consider adding in some biographies of scientists. It's interesting to learn about the childhoods of scientists and see what obstacles some of them have had to overcome. This might also be a good way to draw in some of your kids who aren't that interested in science.

Hopefully you've gotten some new ideas about how to break out of the textbook when it comes to science. I think no matter how your kids feel about the specific topic, it's always a good thing when they learn more background information and see the bigger picture around the topic!

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