Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean


If you’re searching for a traditional picture book (not too technical or difficult to read aloud) to incorporate into a science lesson, Arthur Dorros’s Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean is worth looking into.  This “Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out” book uses simple language and adorable illustrations to discuss how water makes its way to the ocean, and includes other science concepts along the way.

The book begins in a rainstorm and from there launches into an explanation of how and why water droplets form puddles, and eventually brooks, which flow into streams, which flow into rivers, and into the ocean.   Dorros does a wonderful job of making connections between the science concepts presented and everyday life.  For example, he writes, “Water always flows downhill.  It flows from high places to low places, just the way you and your skateboard move down a hill.”  The main idea behind the book is how (and where) water flows, but other concepts are included, as well, which gives teachers flexibility regarding how they incorporate it into their lessons. Plant and animal life, conservation and pollution issues, and even the Grand Canyon are mentioned, making this book a great choice for a variety of lesson topics.

Curriculum Connections
Follow the River from Brook to Ocean is appropriate for children in the primary grades, and might be expanded upon with additional discussion for older children.  It’s great for SOL K.5, which focuses on water flow and the properties of water, and could also be used with K.10, which addresses water conservation.  Because it does mention lots of different water-related concepts, the text is conducive to class discussion and might be a great way to introduce a variety of science lessons.

Additional Resources

  • Arthur Dorros’s website is a handy resource to find more information about his book series, video interviews, as well as fun activities to try in the classroom.
  • TypeAMom.net, used by homeschooling parents, offers a variety of hands-on activities involving water that would be easy to duplicate in a classroom.
  • This in-class activity combines lots of different science concepts involving H2O including water flow, pollution, color mixing, and the effects of salt on ice.

Book: Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean
Author/Illustrator: Arthur Dorros
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: May 1993
Pages: 32
Grade Range: K-3
ISBN: 0064451151

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