Teaching Life Science With Children’s Literature: The Woods Scientist


The Woods Scientist by Stephen Swinburne is a biography of Susan Morse. All the photography represented is by Susan Morse. Susan is a forester, habitat ecologist and professional tracker who educates others on the importance of preserving the forests and the wildlife who call it their home.

Swinburne takes students on an adventure as they follow Susan through the forest. She points out various markings on trees that were made by deer, moose, bears and other animals. She draws attention to the droppings of animals and explains that this is an important part of seed dispersal. Through these observations she highlights the interdependence of wildlife and nature.

Curriculum Connections
 The Woods Scientist is a great resource for 4th and 5th graders who are interested in learning more about animal behavior, their habitat and the influences human activity has on ecosystems, habitats, life cycles and behavior adaptations. (VA SOL 4.5)

The reading level is that of a 4th or 5th grader but some 3rd graders who are advanced readers and have a special interest in wildlife will also find this book interesting.

There is a glossary of terms included that will be helpful for students.

Additional Resources

Title: The Woods Scientist
Stephen R. Swinburne
Illustrator: Susan C. Morse
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 48
Grade Range: 4-5th grade

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