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Literature lessons

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Michelle Sutton Michelle Sutton 185 Points

Why is it so hard to incorporate literature into science?

Sierra Wayson Sierra Wayson 7745 Points

Hi Michelle!

A suggestion I have here is that engagement with literature should only add to the lesson - if it feels forced, no one will benefit from it's inclusion.  There are a lot of great nonfiction age-appropriate books for myriad science topics that you can incoporate into your science teaching - I know the fiction options are less plentiful, so that is definitely a struggle.  Maybe just having science books around the classroom would help you to combine literature & science in a low-stakes, informal way; it would allow students to discover these books during non-structured periods of classtime.  

Samreen Khan Samreen Khan 565 Points

Hi Michelle!

I stuggled with doing this as well, but in my science methods class we recently created two seperate lessons for science and social studies from one book! I agree with the comment below by Sierra - you can't force it! Our professor suggested that we don't have to have lesson that encompasses the book, it's story or even it's subject. If you've read a book to your class before pick a picture or situation to explain a science concept. 

Here's what I did with the book 'Stellaluna' by Janell Cannon for a second grade class. This one might be obvious, but for my science lesson I did 'Physical Characteristics and Behaviors of Animals' and I reffered to the book to compare and contrast birds and bats. I extended the lesson - without the book - to talk about animals familiar to the children and we researched those. In the end students created their own animal with explanations of their physical characteristics and behaviors and how those things help the animal survive.

For my social studies lesson I connected how the bats in the book live in trees and how bats in Austin, TX live under many bridges. The concept was 'Human Impact on the Environment'. I only reffered to the pictures in the book. 

So look at the books you're using during your ELA and readaloud time - see if you can pick out a tiny moment to explain a science concept.

Hope that helps!

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10275 Points

Hi Michelle -- I agree with Sierra that literature should add to the science lesson, rather that be a forced add-on. If you teach at the elementary level, I would recommend that you look at the monthly feature 'Teaching with Trade Books' in NSTA's Science and Children Journal. Each month, there are two featured books suitable for K-2 and 3-5 with related lessons designed with the 5E format and aligned with the NGSS. Even if you don’t have the suggested books, you could substitute other ones on the same topic. For example, in the November 2019 issue, the topic is “Looking Good: Structural Adaptations and Inherited Traits.”  You can search the S&C archives for other topics. -- Mary B

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