Warmer weather provides increased opportunities for outdoor learning. Take advantage of those sunny skies to support STEM studies – specifically, earth science – and enjoy a literary link or two. A Walking Classroom podcast provides the perfect point from which to start, and there are possibilities aplenty!
Looking at the Land
Begin with the basics! Start off by letting your crew have a listen to Geology (5-#74, STEM-#15, Complete-#132). Then introduce Joanna Cole’s The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth (500L). Bruce Degen’s engaging animation-style visuals bring Ms. Frizzle, her class, and their adventures to life!
You can also check out either Rocks, Rivers and the Changing Earth: A First Book about Geology by Herman and Nina Schneider or Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth: All about Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, Earthquakes, Volcanoes & Even Dirt (1040L) by Steve Tomecek. Both fact-filled texts have ideas for experiments, and the latter also includes brief biographies of famous folks working in the field.
Want to dig deeper (pun intended!)? No problem! Explore Layers of the Earth (4-#74, STEM-#16, Complete-#133), then complement this particular podcast with Charlotte Guillian’s The Street Beneath My Feet (820L). Illustrated by Yuval Zommer, this picture book takes readers below the surface in city and country settings!
Ready to roll with some rocks? Supplement Rocks of the Earth’s Crust (4-#75, STEM-#17, Complete-#134) with Rocks: Hard, Soft, Smooth, and Rough (790L) by Natalie Rosinsky. Or, for another interesting read, this time with a focus on the rock cycle, check out The Rock Factory: The Story about the Rock Cycle (880L), written by Jacqui Bailey and illustrated by Matthew Lilly.
Once you and your crew have covered the basics, some rock identification might be fun! Nancy Honovich’s fact-filled and photo-laden Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals can help you out if you decide to do some exploring of your own.
Looking for some hands-on activities? Add one (or both) of these texts to your teacher tools!
- Geology Lab for Kids: 52 Projects to Explore Rocks, Gems, Geodes, Crystals, Fossils, and Other Wonders of the Earth’s Surface (1020L), by Garret Romaine
- Geology Rocks!: 50 Hands-On Activities to Explore the Earth (760L), by Cindy Blobaum and Michael Kline
With so many resources, there are plenty of ways to build a unit around the topic.
Sailing through the Sea
Before (or after!) you listen to The Ocean Floor (5-#75, STEM-#27, Complete-#143), take another journey with Ms. Frizzle — this time to the bottom of the sea. Read Joanna Cole’s The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor (490L).
You may want to follow up with a listen to Currents and Tides (5-#77, STEM-#28, Complete-#141) or Marine Life (5-#76, STEM-#34, Complete-#142). Add in some visuals with Miranda Macquitty’s Ocean. Part of the DK Eyewitness Books series, this 72-page text provides a stunning photographic overview of the ocean and ocean life. If you’re looking for a fun read-aloud, check out Bonnie Worth’s Wish for a Fish: All about Sea Creatures (660L) from the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library series!
Watching the Weather
Explore another area of earth science – the weather! Listen to Meteorology (5-#11, STEM-#11, Complete-#147), then become weather watchers and see what more you can learn! In addition to the real-life visuals provided by the variations in summer weather, you can find color photographs and 3-D models in another book in the DK Eyewitness Books series, Weather, by Brian Cosgrove. Then stick with the series to support your studies of specific weather phenomena. Use Jack Challoner’s Hurricane & Tornado after you walk, listen, and learn about Hurricanes (4-#28, STEM-#13, Complete-#150) and Tornadoes (4-#31, STEM-#14, Complete-#149)!
Want a book about the weather that your crew can literally get their hands on? Check out How the Weather Works: A Hands-On Guide to Our Changing Climate by Christiane Dorion. Illustrated by Beverley Young, this slim 20-page book’s pop-ups and pull-out tabs invite your crew to connect with the concepts.
And that’s not all! Pick from a plethora of other books about weather you can incorporate!
Seeking Other Suggestions?
Looking for ideas on innovative ways to incorporate picture books into your science studies? Karen Ansberry provides plenty of ideas on using children’s books to do just that in this pair of texts.
- Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry, 3-6
- More Picture Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry, K-4
Want some other resources to add to your collection? Here are a few possibilities, providing plenty of hands-on activities and cross-curricular connections!
- Hands-On Earth Science Activities for Grades K-8, by Marvin Tolman
- The Amazing Earth Model Book, by Donald Silver and Patricia Wynne
- Activities Linking Science with Math K-4 and 5-8, by John Eichinger
Be sure to be on the lookout for the next post in this series. We’ll have additional suggestions to support your studies, and you’ll find even more literary links to partner with The Walking Classroom’s podcasts.