Sunday, November 17, 2013

Teaching "Cycles" - Science Mentor Texts

Happy Sunday! I've been enjoying the "fall" weather we've been having in Bangladesh lately (upper 70s, mostly sunny), but I always miss the autumn foliage I grew up with in New England! Fall is my favorite season, you know, when it just starts to get a little cooler and the air is crisp!

The seasons were one of the natural cycles we focused on during our most recent science unit of inquiry. Instead of just focusing on one "life" cycle or only "life" cycles, we investigated all natural cycles so that students could make connections between them, and understand that change is a constant part of the natural world.

I'm linking up with Amanda & Stacia from Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read (Science) Mentor Texts linky to share two books that helped my students understand the concept of a cycle!




When the Wind Stops by Charlotte Zolotow is the perfect story for introducing students to the concept of a cycle because most kids will have a personal connection to when they have asked their own parents questions about the world around them. Here is the book's summary from Amazon:

Where does the wind go when it stops?
When a little boy asks this question at the end of a happy day, his mother explains that the wind does not stop-it blows away to make the trees dance somewhere else.
Reassuringly, she tells him that nothing ever ends, it simply begins in another place or in another way. Rain goes back into the clouds to create new storms, waves fold back upon the sea to become new waves, and the day moves on to make way for the night, bringing the darkness and stars for the little boy to dream in.
Charlotte Zolotow's lyrical prose and Stefano Vitale's rich illustrations make this a beautiful celebration of the cycle of life.

This book had my students entranced! The words are so poetic (great for teaching how effective word choice can elevate the quality of a piece of writing), and the illustrations are so organic and natural- they got lost in it! I love when a book has that kind of effect on my class- it definitely becomes a "classic" in my own mind when that happens! I

I would recommend this book for all elementary grades because it gets them to "tune in" to the concept of a cycle, allowing them to make connections to what is familiar without getting too scientific or technical.

Here is a peek at a couple of my favorite pages:

When the Wind Stops
When the Wind Stops

Gorgeous illustrations, right?

Another book that I really like is Sun Up, Sun Down by Gail Gibbons. It's also great for bridging the familiar to new learning, but this book is more suited for K-2 audiences. It introduces students to the day and night cycle and water cycle in a narrative fashion.


Source: Amazon.com
Sun Up, Sun Down also provides numerous examples of cause and effect relationships. For example, the energy from the sun makes plants grow, or the earth's rotation on its axis causes day and night. Consequently it shows children how we are connected to the natural world, and how it impacts our daily life. This is a really important concept as it relates to sustainability and protecting the environment. There are lots of opportunities for discussion with this book!

I hope you found these book suggestions helpful! Make sure you visit Collaboration Cuties to check out other science-related mentor texts.

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1 comment:

  1. Both of the books you shared are new to me, but they both look like must-haves! Thanks for sharing how you use them in your classroom.

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