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Biology novels

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Jenny Weir Jennifer Weir 500 Points

Does anyone have any ideas for biology novels (fiction or non-fiction) that would be interesting to read in reading groups? I am not looking for any one specific topic. Thanks!

Kia Shields Kia Shields 3432 Points

Hi! These books are more for high school students: Environmental Science: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson Biology/Genetics: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Melissa Gostel Melissa Gostel 340 Points

Check out Letters to a Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson. Or anything by Wilson, really :)

Danielle Dace Danielle Dace 2790 Points

One of my favorites is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebacca Skoolt. Since the book is long I broke it into my favorite sections. I used it for a biotechnology and bioethics unit. The students loved it!! (I had one of my students who hates reading ask my new student teacher if they knew who Henrietta Lacks was. When my student teacher said no, they were able to tell the entire story!) I've also attached a link to the 23 Science Books that are so exciting they read like fiction. It has some great suggestions.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

I love that the first book on the list of the "23 science books so exciting they read like fiction" is the Origin of Species by Darwin...I can tell you from firsthand experience, that that book is not exciting and does not read like fiction...its so dry and And that the first 6 or 7 books are "science fiction" or "Fantasy"

I love the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

I also enjoyed the following:
The Log from the Sea of Cortez, Steinbeck.
The Ghost Map, by Steven Johnson
The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman

If you look up any of these books and then use Amazon or Barnes and Noble online they will have the 'you might also like section' where you might find more ideas.

Kia Shields Kia Shields 3432 Points

Hi! I also read the book The Immortal Life by Henrietta Lacks in high school and I really enjoyed it!

Don't forget NSTA's list of Outstanding Trade Books

Some may be to young but you might find some that work.

Jenn JK

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Hi Jenny, I really like (and the kids, too) The Pearl by John Steinbeck. Carolyn

Opt Out Anna Cynar 2635 Points

1. There is a book group at our school reading Demon in the Freezer(Richard Preston). The students are hooked.

2. Planet of Viruses(Karl Zimmer) has entertaining short stories on different viruses.

3. Ah-Choo(Jeniffer Ackerman)

4. Biopunk(Marcus Wohlsen)

5. The Wild Trees (Richard Preston)

Patricia Ewing Patricia Ewing 50 Points

The viral storm is an amazing read

Emily Keeter Emily Keeter 2530 Points

Charles and Emma, Fever 1793, and The House of the Scorpion are interesting middle school reads.

Charles and Emma @ Amazon

Fever 1793 @ Amazon

The House of the Scorpion @ Amazon

Lili Zheng lili zheng 2510 Points

you can check out fear nothing by Dean Koontz.

Emily Bates Emily Bates 200 Points

Never Let Me Go is a great book to bring about bio ethics. It deals with an alternate present where cloning is utilized by the public and the implications that go along with it for the current society.

Casey McMann Casey McMann 245 Points

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn is a great one for raising a lot of questions about ecology ideas in general but especially human impact on environments, population and community ecology. It's a fictional book with the premise that a gorilla has evolved the ability to 'speak' (more or less) to a person and is explaining the story of life on earth from a non-human perspective. Great read in general but especially within an ecology unit.

Kaycee Valcourt Kaycee Valcourt 7815 Points

The Plague by Albert Camus It is an amazing book but it may be difficult for some readers.

Ali Neugebauer Ali Newgebauer 1170 Points

A good one about evolution is Darwin's Finches, or else Silent Spring is always a good read.

Kia Shields Kia Shields 3432 Points

I agree that Silent Spring by Rachel Carson is a good read for students to learn about the importance of a safe environment.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Here is a list of Biology Books put together by AP central Agosta, William C. Chemical Communication: The Language of Pheromones (1992) (NF) Pheromones are used in a variety of animals in reproduction, territory marking, signaling, and other forms of communication. Agosta, William C. Bombardier Beetles and Fever Trees: A Close-Up Look at Chemical Warfare and Signals in Animals and Plants (1997) (NF) A book with excellent explanations of the use of chemicals in living organisms. Agosta, William C. Thieves, Deceivers, and Killers: Tales of Chemistry in Nature (2002) (NF) A collection of stories woven together with the thread of chemistry -- antibiotics, enzymes in extremophiles, intricate chemical communication in insects, etc. Alvarez, Walter T-Rex and the Crater of Doom (1998) (NF) A description of the evidence that links the production of the Chicxulub Crater in Mexico by an asteroid and the extinction of the dinosaurs. Andrews, Lori B. The Clone Age: Adventures in the New World of Reproductive Technology (1999) (NF) Reproductive technology and the law associated with it for the layperson. Angier, Natalie The Beauty of the Beastly (1996) (NF) A book of essays about organisms on which we don't normally dwell -- divided into seven chapters entitled "Loving," "Slithering," "Dancing," "Dying," "Adapting," "Healing," and "Creating." Angier, Natalie Natural Obsessions: Striving to Unlock the Deepest Secrets of the Cancer Cell (1999) (NF) The work of young scientists in the areas of molecular genetics and the genetics of cancer. Anthony, Piers Tatham Mound (1991) (F) A native American story woven around skeletons unearthed in a mound discovered on a Boy Scout camp in Florida. Asimov, Isaac Wellsprings of Life (1960) (F) The middle book of a set of three biochemistry books, this one deals with origin of life, molecules (including DNA), spontaneous generation, and evolution. Asimov, Isaac Fantastic Voyage (1966) (F) A medical team is miniaturized and injected into a VIP's bloodstream to destroy a clot that threatens his life. Auel, Jean The Clan of the Cave Bear (1983), The Valley of the Horses (1983), The Mammoth Hunters (1986), The Plains of Passage (1993), Shelters of Stone (2003) (F) A story of a Cro-Magnon woman raised by Neanderthals who must learn the ways of others like her when she is expelled from the Neanderthal community. Bakker, Robert T. The Dinosaur Heresies: New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and Their Extinction (1986) (NF) Support for Bakker's controversial view of dinosaurs as active, warm-blooded, intelligent beings. Bear, Greg Darwin's Radio (1999) (F) Something that has slept in our genes for millions of years is waking up and accelerating human evolution. Benchley, Peter Beast (1993) (F) A giant squid terrorizes Bermuda. Benchley, Peter White Shark (1996) (F) Nazis fashion a creature from a man. Benson, Ann Plague Tales (1997) (F) The story of two plagues that are linked despite the plagues being separated by hundreds of years. Benson, Ann The Burning Road (1999) (F) The sequel to Plague Tales. Bernstein, Leonard, Alan Winkler, and Linda Zierdt-Warsha Multicultural Women of Science (paperback 1996) (NF) A compilation of 37 hands-on activities and experiments that accompany descriptions of the work of female scientists from around the world. Bodanis, David The Secret House: 24 Hours in the Strange and Unexpected World in Which We Spend Our Nights and Days (1986) (NF) Everything we always wanted to know (or did not want to know) about the microscopic organisms that live on and around us. Braver, Gary Elixir (paperback 2001) (F) A scientist stumbles onto a "fountain-of-youth" drug. Browne, Janet The Power of Place (2002) (NF) Second part of the Darwin biography begins with the arrival of letters from Wallace and follows through to his death. Browne, Janet Charles Darwin: Voyaging (1995) (NF) Traces the interesting life of Darwin from birth to 1858 just before his publishing of Origin of Species. Bronowski, Jacob Science and Human Values (1999) (NF) Thought-provoking essays on science as an integral part of our culture. Bybee, Rodger W. editor NSTA:Evolution in Perspective: The Science Teacher's Compendium (2004) (NF) Twelve different articles concerning a teacher's role in presenting and nurturing an understanding of the theory of evolution as an ongoing scientific endeavor. (see full review at NSTA Publications site) Bryson, Bill A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003) (NF) Reports how humans figured out major concepts in science, from the age of the universe to continental drift

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Amazon's list of best children's biology books can be found here

Shannon Clegg Shannon Clegg 95 Points

I am also becoming the broken record in this thread but The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a great book. I teach Inclusion Biology so it takes us quite a while to get through it, but it is worthwhile.

Yetzul Flores Werner Yetzul Flores Werner 1190 Points

I had my students read Hot Zone by Richard Preston for biology last year and my students loved it. It's about the Ebola virus, but it is very action pacted.

Yetzul Flores Werner Yetzul Flores Werner 1190 Points

This website has a few more books on biology that are considered good reads. I like to read the books first to see if I think my students will like them first, but that's the best part. Biology good reads

Lisa Russell Lisa Russell 465 Points

I am also becoming the broken record in this thread but The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a great book. I teach Inclusion Biology so it takes us quite a while to get through it, but it is worthwhile. In response to this post, I LOVED "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" but I am a middle school science teacher. Just wanted to give a shout out, what a remarkable story and contribution to science, Lisa

Kian Danaee Erica Danaee 3055 Points

A few of my favorite books (though not all novels):

The Song of the Dodo
Man and Microbes
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Hot Zone

And most of these.

Has anyone used or considered using science fiction novels as part of science instruction?

Nicole Nihan Nicole Nihan 1240 Points

I am a big fan of 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' by Bill Bryson - he is pretty funny, its a long book but I often refer to it at different points of the year with my biology and chemistry classes.

Juliana Texley Juliana Texley 1490 Points

I love Dawson's Ancestor Tales (modeled on Canterbury Tales). The really nice thing is that you can read one of the 44 tales aloud and get a lesson from it. He begins with primitive humans and works backwards, so bacteria are the last "tale."

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

Anything by Michael Pollan is good. I really liked In Defense of Food and obviously Omnivores Dilemma. I know some AP Environmental Kids that OD had a big effect on. There is a movie, King Corn, which essentially takes Omnivores Dilemma to movie form.

Juliana Texley Juliana Texley 1490 Points

There is a young reader's edition of OD that is really fantastic for the high school students. I personally love to quote his "Food Rules" which is a simple, very logical paperback with rules for eating sensibly.

Juliana Texley Juliana Texley 1490 Points

The year the "Book of Blood" was a winner at the secondary level--fascinating.

Cris DeWolf Cris DeWolf 11965 Points

'There is a young reader's edition of OD that is really fantastic for the high school students.'

Thanks Juliana. I may use this with my 2nd trimester Biology students this year.

And here is a link to a PDF of the Introduction section of what Juliana shared:

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

One of the more interesting sections of In Defense of Food It discusses a study done on aborigines in Australia, who suffered many health problems after being "westernized." The group of aborigines went back to their aboriginal lifestyle, hunter/gatherer and within 7 weeks most of their health problems had improved drastically

Kathryn Ramos Kate Ramos 760 Points

There was a book I read in 9th grade (way back in the stone age) that was about the food chain. Of course I can't remember the name of it, but our teacher had his students read it every year. It started with the producers and then moved up, but it was so memorable for me because it was written so the reader identified with each organism at each level. Now as an adult I know that the author personified the "characters", but I still remember that book all these years later. Of course I don't remember the name, but maybe someone will know it. Kate

Aria Moody Aria Moody 2500 Points

There are so many great titles out here, I think I'm just going to copy some of them down myself instead of trying to offer any suggestions. Everything I know about is already out here.

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28250 Points

Great reading lists! Here are a few not yet mentioned: Biophilia (E.O. Wilson) Walk when the Moon is Full (Frances Hammerstrom) A Sand County Almanac (Aldo Leopold) A Sense of Wonder (Rachel Carson) The Double Helix (Watson and Crick) Inherit the Wind (Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee) Ringworld (Larry Niven)

Angela Miller Angela Snyder 1035 Points

Although it fits better with Environmental Systems or Environmental Science more, I am reading Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. This book is great to show a what if situation. The book follows a 16 year old sophomore as she experiences life after an asteroid has hit the moon causing it to be pushed much closer towards the earth. There are currently four books in the series.

Stacia Brown Stacia Brown 560 Points

I teach third graders and never thought of using a science novel. That would be a very interesting activity to do with some of my higher achieving students. In my research I did find a website that listed the top 100 science novels. Here is the link.
Your text to link here...

John Sorrell John Sorrell 385 Points

There are some great suggestions in the thread. I also recommend Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny LeCouteur, Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer, The Man Who Fed the World by Leon Hesser and (on a slightly less serious note) What If: Serious Sceintific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

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