Discover the Planets, a Kids Can book written by Cynthia Pratt Nicolson and illustrated by Bill Slavin, introduces kids to the planets in our solar system. This book is written at a level for kids to be able to read on their own. Therefore, it is not as in depth as other books but it is a great resource for introduce students to the basic facts about our solar system and the planets. The beginning answers questions like “What is a planet?” and “How can we compare the sizes of the planets?” Then the book spotlights each planet giving facts like how long it takes to orbit around the sun and information about any moons. A mix of photos and illustrations keeps the pages visually interesting and informative.
Discover the planets can be used to teach students about the organization of the solar system (4.7) including details about the planets (4.7a), their order from the sun (4.7b), and their relative sizes (4.7c). This book also covers information about Earth in relation to the the sun and moon (4.8).
Go to the Head of the Solar System – a fun trivia game sponsored by NASA.
Make a mobile as a model of the Solar System.
Make your own Planet at KidsAstronomy.
Listen to kids’ interviews with NASA scientists to find out more about space and working for NASA.
Book: Discover the Planets
Author: Cynthia Pratt Nicolson
Illustrator: Bill Slavin
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication date: 2005
Grade Range: K-5
Butterfly House, written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Greg Shed, is a sentimental story about a young girl and her grandfather who raise a butterfly from a larva. The book walks through the life stages of the butterfly and also the aging of the young girl into an old woman. The beautiful illustrations of the larva, the butterfly’s home, the butterfly, and people are captivating. In the back of the book, there are directions on how to raise your own butterfly.
The Butterfly House can be used to teach students that animals go through a series of orderly changes as they grow and mature (VA SOL 2.4). This book may also be used to teach students about changes in an organism’s niche at various stages in its life cycle (VA SOL 4.5e).
Kids can color their own Butterfly Life Cycle worksheet as well as find out more about Rearing butterflies on The Butterfly Site.
View images of butterflies in the Butterfly galleries, sorted by family and geographic region.
Learn about gardening to attract butterflies.
Make a butterfly life cycle mobile.
Book: Butterfly House
Author: Eve Bunting
Illustrator: Greg Shed
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 1999
Grade Range: K-5
The book Galileo by Leonard Everett Fisher chronicles the life of the famous Renaissance scientist. Background information is presented at the beginning about the theories of Aristotle and Copernicus about the center of the universe. The author does a great job not only summarizing the events of Galileo’s life but also some of his most famous experiments. Galileo challenged Aristotle’s theory that two objects of different weights fall at different speeds. “He dropped two balls of different weights at the same time from the same height at the top of a building, possibly the Leaning Tower of Pisa. A crowd of students and professors watched the balls land together. Those who were loyal followers of Aristotle refused to believe what they saw.” The author describes Galileo’s use of a “spyglass” to view the stars and planets in detail as well as the reactions of the Church. The illustrations throughout the book – all black and white – are amazing!
This book can be used in instruction to teach students about planning and conducting investigations (2.1, 3.1, 4.1) and other general science process skills.
Author: Leonard Everett Fisher
Illustrator: Leonard Everett Fisher
Publication date: 1992
Grade Range: 1-5
A Bargain for Frances, written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban, teaches children about saving money, making choices, and purchasing carefully. Frances is saving for a real china tea set with blue pictures painted on but her friend Thelma convinces Frances to buy her old plastic tea set by telling her that they don’t make real china tea sets anymore. Then, Thelma takes the money and buys a china tea set like the one Frances had been saving for. Frances cleverly figures out how to get Thelma to trade the new tea set for her old one. This story has some valuable lessons for young children, not only about saving, purchasing, and making decisions but about being careful not to be tricked and about being respectful to friends.
This book can be used in instruction to teach students about using money to purchase things (VA SOL K.7), making choices because you cannot have everything you want (VA SOL 1.8), and saving money to purchase things they want (VA SOL 1.9).
- In this interactive game, players earn and save enough money to Escape from Knab
- Kids Bank teaches kids about money and banking in a fun, interactive way
- Learn about the Birth of a Coin on the US Mint site
Book: A Bargain for Frances
Author: Russell Hoban
Illustrator: Lillian Hoban
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication date: 1970, 1992, 2008
Grade Range: K-2
“If you follow Charlie
from state to state,
you’ll see the whole South.
Now, won’t that be great?”
Travels with Charlie: Way Down South, A Search & Find Geography Book, written by Miles Backer and illustrated by Chuck Nitzberg, presents geography and facts about states in the American South in a visually exciting way. The book begins with a poem, introducing readers to landmarks they’ll see as they “travel” with Charlie, a lovable dog with a red bandanna, through the South. The book then presents a 2-page spread profiling each southern state. The left page has facts including State Nickname, State Capital, State flag, interesting “Did You Know…” trivia, and landmarks for readers to identify. The right page has a map of the state along with comical but educational illustrations depicting key landmarks and state characteristics. For example, North Carolina – The Tar Heel State – depicts the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk with an illustration of a plane like the one first flown there in 1903. A picture of a dresser represents the furniture industry in High Point and students learn from the facts that there are over 125 furniture factories in the High Point area. The “Did You Know…” facts also tell readers about Blackbeard the Pirate and the Lost Colony. On each state page, Charlie is hidden within the map for readers to find among the state landmark illustrations. The book concludes by asking readers to find a particular landmark on each state map page; “Can You Find…a festival in Virginia with a big, brass band…?”
Travels with Charlie: Way Down South is appropriate for teaching United States regional geography and state facts to a variety of grade levels from Kindergarten to 5th grade. This book is a great way to introduce students to the ideas of maps (K.4b), geographical regions, how geography influences people, places, and history (VS.1i, USI.2, USII.2), and factual information about states. This book is part of the Travels with Charlie series which includes Travellin’ the Northeast and Way out West. Fourth grade students studying their own state history could also use this book to compare and contrast their state to one or more of the states highlighted in the book, illustrating skills for historical and geographical analysis and good citizenship (VS.1).
Book: Travels with Charlie: Way Down South, A Search & Find Geography Book
Author: Miles Backer
Illustrator: Chuck Nitzberg
Publisher: Blue Apple Books
Publication Date: 2007
Grade Range: K – 5
ISBN 10: 1-59354-594-0
ISBN 13: 978-1-59354-594-9