Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature

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Physics — Why Matter Matters by Dan Green is an engaging guide to deciphering the mysteries of physics.  Geared towards students in grades 2-6, this book introduces the elements of physics as wacky, cartoon-style characters, that are grouped in the following ways: “Old School” (mass, weight, density, etc.), “Hot Stuff” (energy, entropy, etc.), “Wave Gang” (sound, frequency, etc.), “Light Crew” (radio wave, microwave, etc.), “Atom Family” (proton, electron, etc.), “Nuclear Heavies” (radioactivity, alpha particle, etc.), and “Electric Cuties” (static electricity, electric current, etc.). Each  grouping starts with an introduction and every concept is given its own spread that shows the cartoon figure and describes its “personality.” The information is presented in an engaging, kid-friendly tone.  Along with the narrative, which is written in the first person from the concept’s point of view, other key facts are presented.

Curriculum Connections
This book would be a wonderful “hook” to use in the “engage” phase of a learning cycle lesson.  Since abstract concepts of physics are introduced via cartoon characters, the book could also serve as a handy guide to writing and performing a scientific play.  Each student could perhaps take on the role of one physical concept/character.  These activities would foster greater retention of knowledge and allow students to forge connections to the material.  This book covers the following concepts: mass, weight, density, speed, acceleration, force, inertia, friction, gravity, energy, entropy, vacuum, radiation, water wave, sound, earthquake, frequency, and many more.  All these things relate to the Force, Motion. Energy, and Matter standards in grades 2 through 6.

Additional Resources

  • To access a powerpoint presentation on mass and weight click here.
  • You will find a hands-on lesson plan on mass here.
  • If you would like to explore more on your own, check out this website.
  • If you’re looking for another awesome science resource, try this book.

Book: Physics — Why Matter Matters
Author: Dan Green
Illustrator:
Simon Basher
Publisher:
Kingfisher
Publication Date:
April 29, 2008
Pages:
128
Grade Range:
2-6
ISBN:
978-0753462140