Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: An Island Grows

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An Island Grows, written by Lola M. Schaefer and illustrated by Cathie Felstead, is a wonderful introduction to the topic of Earth Science for young children. The book explores how an island is formed, providing a step by step guide as to the cycle of the birth of an island to the presence of human life on an island. The book begins by discussing magma at the bottom of the ocean, then addresses the presence of lava and volcanic activity, and eventually talks about how life comes to the island (plants, animals, and humans).”Magma glowsVolcano blowsLava flows, and flows, and flowsAn island grows”The book concludes by coming full circle and discussing how the cycle starts from the beginning, where “Another island grows.”The language and vocabulary used in the story are at a very basic level so young kids will comprehend and more fully understand the concepts. The short rhyming pattern of the story makes the story flow with ease, presenting an almost “sing-song” pattern. The illustrations are also simple and basic, without too much going on. This helps students to understand visually, as well, the concepts of the story.

Curriculum Connections: 
This book is a very helpful resource for very young students. The book clearly describes formation of life, in a cyclic rhyming pattern. Students will understand how the earth changes and evolves over time, exploring the natural world over time (K.9 (a) (b)). Clear stages and steps of the formation of an island is explored while introducing important terms such as volcano, magma, and lava.

Additional Resources:
1. This lesson plan provides an activity/experiment where young students will begin to explore what volcanoes are and will visually demonstrate a volcanic eruption.
2. This blog shows how an actual class performed experiments showing the formation and explosion of a mini-volcano. Real pictures and explanations are provided as well.
3. This website provides young students with links to an Art Gallery, where kids share there drawings and descriptions about volcanoes. Virtual field trips are also provided.

General Information:
Book: An Island Grows
Author: Lola M. Schaefer
Illustrator: Cathie Felstead
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: August 2006
Pages: 40
Grade Range: PreSchool- Kindergarten
ISBN:0-06-623930-3