Fractions: Second Grade

In second grade, students study fractions. Students learn how to identify and represent fractions, compare unit fractions, and write fractional values (SOL 2.3). The resources provided below will support instruction during the second grade unit on fractions.

The Lion’s Share: A Tale of Halving Cake and Eating it, too

Written and Illustrated by Matthew McElligott

The Lion’s Share: A Tale of Halving Cake and Eating it, too is a story about an ant that is invited to join the lion’s dinner party. Throughout the dinner the ant observes the other animals’ rude behavior and unwillingness to share fairly. When the lion presents his guests with a large cake, the other animals take turns halving the dessert until there is nothing left but a crumb for the ant and the lion to share. As a gesture of goodwill, the ant offers to bake the lion a new cake. Meanwhile, the other guests refuse to be outdone. They continue to double the ant’s offer until the last guest offers to make 256 cakes! This tale of halving and doubling will help students to visualize the relationship between fractions, multiplication, and division.

The Wishing Club: A Story About Fractions

Written by Donna Jo Napoli and Illustrated by Anna Currey

In  The Wishing Club: A Story About Fractions four children wish on a star. They soon discover that each child only receives a fraction of his or her wish. For example, Petey wishes for a dollar but only receives a quarter. This cycle of fractional wishes continues until Samantha designs a plan. The children work together to combine their fractional values into one whole wish. This book highlights unit fractions, comparing fractions, and adding fractions to create one whole.

Give Me Half!

Written by Stuart J. Murphy and Illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Give Me Half! tells the story of two siblings who do not want to share. The mother intervenes and insists that the children share everything equally. She tells her children to divide the food into halves. As the story continues the children learn how to divide solids, liquids, and parts of a set into halves. The illustrations are accompanied by pictorial and numerical representations of the children’s fair shares. For example, a diagram illustrates two halves of a pizza forming one whole. Underneath this illustration the is the number sentence 1/2 + 1/2 = 1 whole. This book will help students visualize the fraction one half in a variety of ways.


Inchworm and a Half

Written by Elinor J. Pinczes and Illustrated by Randall Enos

Inchworm and a Half is a tale about an inchworm that has set out to measure all of the vegetables in her garden. The inchworm’s stride measures one inch in length. Therefore, measuring the garden is as easy as counting her steps. One day the inchworm realizes that one of her measurements is in between two whole numbers. She cannot measure this length with her stride. In order to finish measuring the garden, the inchworm asks for help from the 1/2-inch, 1/3-inch, and 1/4-inch worms. Together they are able to measure the vegetable garden. This book focuses on unit fractions and their relationship to one whole.

Fraction Action

Written and Illustrated by Loreen Leedy

Fraction Action is divided into five chapters. In each chapter Miss Prime teaches her students about a different aspect of fractions. Her first lesson teaches students about equal parts as well as halves, thirds, and fourths. She emphasizes that any whole shape can be divided into fractions. The second lesson focuses on parts of a set. In this chapter students learn to identify fractional parts of a group. The third chapter highlights the importance of fair shares and equal parts. The next chapter focuses on the relationship between fractions and money. The book concludes with a fraction test. Miss Prime tests her students’ knowledge of fractions through a review game. Each mini lesson could be read aloud throughout the fraction unit. The book’s word problems and puzzles will keep students engaged as they learn about the many uses of fractions.

Student Resources

  • Fraction Shoot: This game has four tiered levels that help students recognize fractional values. In the first level, students learn how to discern between equal and unequal parts. As the levels progress, students learn about halves, thirds, and fourths.
  • Fraction Flags: Students create flags using the required proportions. Through this activity students learn the different ways to represent halves and fourths. Click here to create fraction flags using thirds.
  • Naming Fractions: Students write the fraction that corresponds with the highlighted portion of the shape.
  • Fraction Domino Cards: Students can practice their fraction skills at home with these printable domino cards.

Teacher Resources

  • Fish Fractions: Use this file folder game to teach students how to read, write, and identify fractions.
  • Fractions Smartboard Activity: This Smarboard activity can be used with whole class or small group instruction. Through this activity students will learn how fractions are used in daily life. Students will also be required to match fractional values with pictorial representations.
  • Fractions Activity: These virtual models can be used during an introduction to fractions. These models allow you to illustrate fractions in a variety of ways. For example, you can choose to represent fractions as slices of pizza, part of a set of people, the amount of liquid in a measuring cup, or pieces of a candy bar. This resource will show students that fractions can be represented in many ways, not just pieces of a circle.
  • Pattern Blocks:  Use this virtual pattern blocks to demonstrate the fractional relationships between the different blocks. Assume that the yellow hexagon is one whole. Ask students to explore the various ways to construct one whole using the other blocks. This activity can be used as a center activity for small group or individual exploration. It can also be utilized as a model during whole class instruction.
  • Use a Picture: Use this outline as a framework for teaching students how to solve a fraction word problem.


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Whole Number Computation – Addition & Subtraction Basic Facts

This Instructional Resource Set includes resources that can be used to recall and practice basic addition facts with sums to 18 or less and the corresponding subtraction facts.  The focus of the resources is on a first grade level, but can easily be used for younger students who could benefit from accelerated lessons or for older students who need review or additional practice in addition and subtraction.

Five Best Books to Teach Addition or Subtraction Basic Facts


Domino Addition, written and illustrated by Lynette Long, Ph.D., is a wonderful book to incorporate into math lessons to supplement learning about dominoes and how they can be used to make learning math fun.

Learning to add is fun, especially when you use
Dominoes.  It's easy!  Let's learn how.

Dominoes have two halves.  Each half may have
zero, one, two, three, four, five, or six spots.

It is simple and clear in explaining how you can add the number of spots on each of the two halves of a domino.  The book includes a page for each addition fact family for numbers 0 to 12 in relation to the domino.  Each page contains illustrations of black dominoes with white spots on brightly colored backgrounds.  After reading the book to the class or small groups, students could use this book as a resource when working with dominoes.  The repetition of words allows the reader to focus on using pictorial representations to model addition and to use numeral equations and words to practice the concept of addition.


Elevator Magic, written by Stuart J. Murphy and illustrated by G. Brian Karas, is a fun way to practice subtraction while reading children's literature.  Ben meets his mom at work on the 10th floor, then they make several stops on the way down.

Next we have to drop off this package at
Speedway Delivery.  It's 3 floors down from here.

What floor should I push to go down just 3?

Now we're on 8.
3 floors down
8 – 3 = 5

Floor 5 is where Speedway Delivery should be.

Ben pushes the elevator buttons and uses a simplified “number line” to help understand and practice the concept of subtraction.  The book does a great job of illustrating how there is the need to use subtraction in a common daily activity.  The colorful illustrations support the concept in a fun way as they make magical stops along the way (real farm animals at Farm Bank and Trust, the noises and sights of a car race at Speedway Delivery, and an actual rock band playing at Hard Rock Candy Store).  The last two pages of the book include activities to have more fun with math concepts presented in the book.


As the town's residents open their shops in, How Many Bears? written by Cooper Edens and illustrated by Marjett Schille, the reader is invited to come inside and take a look.  The little animals have a challenge.  Can you figure it out:

How many Bears it takes to run the Bakery in Little Animal Town?

You'll visit that shop last, but each shop along the way has some clues
For you.  First count the animals who run each shop (only the real
Ones, don't be fooled), then read the clue on the opposite page.  The
Rest is up to you.

The reader has to use logical thinking and word problem solving skills to determine the answer to the question in the title of the book: How many bears?

In Little Animal Town…it takes four fewer Giraffes to run the Soda Fountain that it takes Bears to run the Bakery.

The reader can count the number of giraffes in the beautiful, brightly colored, detailed illustration of the Soda Fountain shop on the opposite page to begin to think through the word problem.  As you go through each page of the book, the information builds to allow the readers to find the final answer.  The book encourages practicing the skills of counting, addition, subtraction, and maybe even multiplication in a fun and challenging way.


Students can practice adding and subtracting as colorful ocean animals come and go in the coral reef of Sea Sums, written by Joy N. Hulme and illustrated by Carol Schwartz.  The author uses a rhyming, almost sing song story to introduce addition and subtraction concepts throughout the book.

Two triggerfish may choose to dine
On fresh-cracked crabs at suppertime.
If one eats three and one eats two
Five crabs will disappear from view€¦

3 crabs + 2 crabs = 5 crabs

The colorful ocean creatures look almost real in the vibrant illustrations that allow for many ways to incorporate teaching about the concepts of addition and subtraction.


Greg Tang accomplishes his mission to make math fun in the book, Math Fables:  Lessons That Count.  The book, written by Greg Tang and illustrated by Heather Cahoon, uses rhyming fables to encourage the reader to think about numbers in a creative and fun way.

Family Affair
3 turtles living in the woods
were always on the go.
One day they headed for a pond,
albeit very slow.

The youngest 1 soon raced ahead,
but accidentally tripped.
The other 2 caught up with him
and found that he had flipped!

They quickly grabbed him by the shell
and righted him once more.
All 3 agreed wholeheartedly,
"That's what a family's for!"

This book uses nice visual pictures along with simple addition math stories to allow for great practice in problem solving while having fun.

Five Best Web Sites for Kids for Addition or Subtraction Basic Facts

  • provides fun interactive math games such as the Math Lines Game to practice sums and fact families by destroying the moving line of balls by forming pairs that add up to 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10.  Learning Addition for Kids allows for online solving of addition equations using numerals and pictures of objects.
  • Arcademic Skill Builders provides a variety of interactive games for addition and subtraction.  Alien Addition provides practice adding numbers as invading spaceships with addition problems move down from the top of the screen toward a laser cannon.  Answers are placed in the cannon to "equalize" the invader with the correct answer.  Island Chase is a multi-player racing game for subtraction. How quickly the student correctly answers the subtraction problem determines how quickly the jet ski will go. The student with the fastest rate of correct answers will win the race. Hits and misses are recorded and displayed at the end of the game, along with the student's rate.
  • Fun 4 The Brain has fun math games such as Beach Rush Addition Platform where you solve basic addition equations and then you have to get Mr. Zupple through the crab infested beach or Pizza Pizzaz where you serve the pizza to the table with the correct sum and then you get to create your own pizza.
  • NCTM Illuminations provides math related activities based on grade levels and searchable by key words.  Some helpful interactive activities include Five Frame and Ten Frame for practice counting shapes placed in the familiar five frame and ten frame formats.  Another game is How Many Under the Shell where the user can select the number of bubbles to play with or chose random to let Okta the octopus pick for you.
  • Oswego City School District's Math Magician provides several fun interactive games.  Ghost Blasters II is a game for two players to compete to be the first one to blast ghosts who's sums add up to a specified number (0-99).

Four Additional Resources

  • Stuart J. Murphy, author of books such as Elevator Magic and Ready, Set, Hop!, has a wonderful, interactive website that includes information on each of his books.  Three activities are suggested to go along with each book.  There are also tips and information on Visual Learning, links to many articles, journals, discount opportunities for teachers, and so much more.
  • NCTM Illuminations provides a variety of wonderful resources such as activities, lessons, standards, and weblinks searchable by grade level and key words.  Lesson plans include searchable unit and lessons plans such as Let's Learn Those Facts which focuses on using the properties of addition to help learn addition facts and to master the addition tables.
  • Songs for Teaching encourages using music to promote learning and provides lyrics and links to many songs that can be purchased.  Songs are categorized by subject, including a long list of addition and subtraction songsAdding Doubles is one fun song to try and provides lyrics and suggested movements.
  • Math Is Fun is a great web site that provides many useful resources related to math.  It includes a description of the math concept of addition, interactive activities and games, an illustrated dictionary, puzzles and quizzes, and more.
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Teaching Fractions: Second Grade

I have chosen Fractions for my Instructional Resource Set. The following books, websites, activities, and resources can all be used to help children better understand the concept of Fractions in the Second Grade.  The resources I’m listing below could be used with other grades, but my focus was based on the VA SOL 2.3 (identifying parts of a set/whole, writing fractions, and comparing the unit of fractions).

Text Annotations

Apple Fractions by Jerry Pallotta and Illustrated by Rob Bolster

Jerry Pallotta introduces fractions using descriptions of a variety of apples. This book focuses on part of a whole, and is an interesting way to look at how to cut up apples and relate it to fractions. Throughout the book these little elves dressed as people help slice up and explain the fraction process. The pictures are fantastic because it is a fun and interesting way for children to see fractions. The little elves work hard to show the readers how fractions can be viewed, and they also include the written out word (for example, one-half) as well as the number form (for example, 1/2). This will help students be able to see how fractions can be written.

The Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Fractions Book by Jerry Pallotta and Illustrated by Rob Bolster

What child doesn’t love chocolate? This book introduces fractions using Hershey’s Chocolate bars. This book is also written by Jerry Pallotta, and the book is written and set up almost exactly like Apple Fractions. He uses little painters as the fraction helpers throughout this book. There is also a written form and number form of each fraction. This really is important, because students can see the different ways fractions can be written. The book starts with one whole (1/1) chocolate bar, then the painters unwrap the Hershey bar count the individual pieces of the Hershey bar (12/12), and explain how that is the same as one whole (1/1). The painters then work together by breaking the bar into different fractions.

Polar Bear Math by Ann Whitehead Nagda and Cindy Bickel

At the Denver Zoo two baby polar bears were raised by the staff. This book is interesting because you can read it as a story (reading the right-hand pages), or read it as a math lesson (reading the left-hand pages) and also including the story as well. For this project, we are using the book for the story and to see how fractions were used while raising the bears. The book uses charts and recipes for bear milk to teach about fractions. While reading this story, using fraction strips with your students could allow for an interactive story telling.

Piece = Part = Portion by Scott Gifford Photographs by Shmuel Thaler

Scott Gifford describes fractions, decimals, and percents as a different way to describe the same thing- a piece, part, or portion of a larger whole. For this project, it is important to focus just on the fraction (piece) part of this book. You could later use the same book to introduce the other aspects of this book.  There are great visuals throughout this book. The pictures that explain the fraction are objects that students will be familiar with (for example, one shoe is 1/2 of a pair, one egg is 1/12 of a dozen eggs, and 1 piece of gum is 1/5 of a pack of gum). This is a great book to introduce parts of a whole.

Fraction Action by Loreen Leedy

In this book you will find a hippo (Mrs. Prime) who introduces fractions to her classroom of animal students.  Mrs. Prime gives her class real life examples of fractions using art, food, and other common objects. For example, cutting a tuna sandwich in HALF, and a lemonade sale that is one fourth off! This is a great book for children to see real life situations where fractions are needed.

Web Annotations
Designer Fractions (once you are on the site, click on the Designer Fractions link) Here you will find a interactive activity for students to futher explore fractions. They are in charge and get to decide which answer is correct, and even design their very own fractional figure on a triangle grid. This activity works great with a smartboard!

Who Wants Pizza? Again, the students are in charge here. This website has interactive activity pages, getting more complicated as you go on. The students start with a basic introduction of fractions, and have the chance to quiz themselves and move onto the next activity, depending on how they did on the current activity.

Make a Match Help Melvin the wizard put his bottles of potion back in order by correctly matching the equivalent fractions on the bottles. One bottle has a picture representation of a fraction, and the other bottle has the written fraction.

The Fractionator A video that allows your students to discover how fractions work by watching the Fractionator’s apprentice divide a banana with his laser finger. Determine the number of cuts necessary to divide an object into thirds, fourths and fifths. Since it is a video you can make it interactive by making a long strips of yellow paper to represent a banana for each student in your classroom, and have your students make the cuts along with the Fractionator’s apprentice.

Fraction Fun An interactive website on which students can practice parts of a whole. The students are given a pie and the student has to try and come up with the correct fraction. Try and get 10 right!

Additional Resources
Fraction Shapes: A Patter Block Activity Here you will find different activities that causes students to think. The activities connect fractions, art, writing, and technology.

Fun with Fractions: Unit Plan This unit consists of five lessons designed to help the students understand fractions when they are represented as a part of a region.

To Half or Half Not A lesson plan that uses slices of bread and geoboards as manipulatives, students explore several ways to divide a rectangle in half. Students engage in an activity where they try to outsmart an alien from the planet of Fractional who is coming to their class to take one-half of their candy.

Farming and Gardening: A Vegetable Garden  A lesson plan that Explores fractions as parts of a set to plan a vegetable garden. Decide how many plots in a grid need to be assigned to each vegetable.


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Number Sense Instructional Resource Set

Teaching number sense to kindergartners can be fun. Books, manipulatives, and games can all make learning about numbers much more interesting. Hopefully the following information will provide useful resources to teachers and parents when they teach counting forwards, counting backwards from 10, writing numerals and recognizing numbers.  (VA SOL K.2, K.4)  

Great books for teaching number sense:


One Gorilla      Author/Illustrator: Atsuko Morozumi

A lovely counting book with beautiful illustrations. Children will enjoy finding and counting all the animals scattered on each page. This is a good book to teach one-to-one correspondence.


Ten Black Dots       Author/Illustrator:  Donald Crews 

This is a very creative counting book that can open the door to many math activities in the classroom. The author starts the book with 1 dot as a sun and ends with 10 dots as balloons stuck in a tree.


Ten Sly Piranhas     Author: William Wise         Illustrator: Victoria Chess

This is a great read-aloud book for a kindergarten classroom. Children will love to learn to count backwards from 10 to 0 while listening to the rhyming story of a very hungry fish.


Ten, Nine, Eight     Author/Illustrator:  Molly Bang

This is story about a dad getting his daughter ready for bed. This book is very easy to follow and teaches children how to count down from 10 to 1.


1 Hunter      Author/Illustrator:  Pat Hutchins

This book is about a hunter looking for animals. The children will love to count the animals and look for the ‘hidden’ animals, anticipating the next page. This is a wonderful book to introduce the numbers 1-10.  

5 Great websites with math games for kindergarteners

  • 123 Order has students pick the next number in a sequence of 3 numbers.
  • Count Chickens is another fun game in which kids count animals and then choose the correct number out of 3 choices.

    2.   Chevron cars has kid-friendly connect the dots, all in the shape of cars.


  • Game 1: Sheep Counting- The player has to move the sheep from left to right until there are the same number of sheep in each paddock.
  • Game 3: Counting- The player has to count the objects on the screen, then enter the number in either numerical and/or in word format.
  • Game 6:Representing Numbers- The player has to move a crayon with a word number to the corresponding digit of a Flying Girl.
  • Game 11:Numbers- The player has to move a frog across a pond using the next highest number.

    4. Fishin’ Mission is a really cute game that kids will love. They are to catch a specific number of fish and put them in the fisherman’s net.

    5. Big Sea Count Counting Game will be a favorite with kindergartners. The students will help Cora and Gavin count things in the sea. 

4 Additional resources to support number sense instruction

  1. Kidscount1234 is an amazing website with counting games and activities that children will love.
  2. Kidzone has numerous worksheets that can be useful to reinforce concepts.
  3. Calicocookie details how math journals can be used to teach math in Kindergarten classrooms.
  4. Hubbards Cupboard has many resources to teach number sense. I especially like the math tubs and the counting bags.
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Introducing Division


This post includes a variety of resources (books, websites, lesson plans, games, printables, etc.) that can be used to introduce basic division concepts to students and aid them in committing the basic division facts (dividends to 144) to memory. The target grade level is third grade since these skills are first introduced at this level.  However, many of these resources could and perhaps should be used at the fourth and fifth grade levels to reinforce basic division skills, which are the basis for so many other higher-level math concepts.


The Great Divide, written by Dayle Ann Dodds and illustrated by Tracy Mitchell: Using a cross-country race as a plot line, Dodds demonstrates how dividing by two decreases the contenders in the race to the finish.  Eighty contestants start out on bikes in ten groups of eight but when half pop tires, only forty continue.  Forty becomes twenty, twenty becomes ten, and ten becomes five, at which point one contestant has to stop with a rock in her shoe and only four move on.  Though the plot is minimal, a surprise ending, likable characters, and fun illustrations keep children engaged while getting the mathematical concepts across.

Divide and Ride, written by Stuart Murphy and illustrated by George Ulrich: Murphy's book introduces division as eleven children sort themselves into smaller groups in order to go on different rides at a carnival.  Mathematical vocabulary such as "per", "divide", and "left over" is used throughout to introduce the concepts of "groups of", "sets of", and remainders.  The children in the story are racially diverse and even young children can relate to the idea of going to an amusement park and begin to see the patterns that emerge as the book continues.

How Hungry Are You, written by Donna Jo Napoli and Richard Tchen and illustrated by Amy Walrod: In the same vein as Pat Hutchins classic, The Doorbell Rang, Napoli and Tchen's book is a great introduction to simple division and the difficulties that can arise when sharing.  A rabbit and a frog decide to have a picnic.  Along the way, they meet up with a variety of other creatures who share in the food (creating the need to redivide) and contribute more food.  The story presents a great opportunity for reader's theater as the entire tale is told through dialogue of the various characters identified by rebus-like headshots at the beginning of each line.

A Remainder of One, written by Elinor J. Pinczes and illustrated by Bonnie MacKain: An army of 25 insects line up in multiple arrays in an attempt to create a formation that doesn't leave anyone out.  Rhyming text and simple illustrations combine to present the basis for a clear understanding of remainders and the use of arrays in division problems.

One Hungry Cat, written by Joanne Rocklin and Marilyn Burns and illustrated by Rowan Barnes-Murphy: A hungry cat bakes 12 cookies and invites over two friends to share them, but each time he divides the cookies into equal shares, he gets hungry, gobbles them up, and has to bake something else. Throughout the story, subtle math problems arise.   For example, how does one divide eight cookies onto three plates, or cut a square cake into three equal pieces? Answers to the problems are presented in the back of the book along with suggested activities for reinforcing the math lesson.  The cartoon illustrations add to the fun and kids will enjoy the slapstick while they figure out the math.


Everybody Wins, written by Sheila Bruce and illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye:  When Oscar and Emmy both contribute box tops for a contest and agree to split the prize of 100 frozen pizzas, they learn valuable lessons about how to divide and the costs and rewards of friendship.  As the book continues, so does the sharing as friends practice dividing other things among their classmates.  Additional activities to support the lessons in the book are listed on the inside back cover.

Division, written by Sheila Cato and illustrated by Sami Sweeten: Less of a story and more of a straight up math lesson, this book effectively uses authentic math problems to teach division.  A group of ethnically diverse children present a series of division problems using everyday examples that get progressively more difficult.  Equations are used to reflect the original word problem and the explanations are thorough and concise, building on prior knowledge.  Boxed areas provide further information and offer more practice equations, while colorful cartoons break up the text and illustrate the answers.

The Doorbell Rang, written and illustrated by Pat Hutchins: Pat Hutchins uses a dozen cookies to illustrate the partitive model of division as more and more children have to share the same batch of cookies. Two children are delighted when their mother bakes a tray of a dozen cookies and they find that by dividing them equally each can have six. But the doorbell rings repeatedly, friends arrive and the cookies must be re-divided again and again. When each child's share is down to one, a surprise visit from Grandma brings dozens more cookies for the elated multiracial children to share.

17 Kings and 42 Elephants, written by Margaret Mahy and illustrated by Patricia MacCarthy: As 17 kings and 42 elephants make their way through the jungle, they encounter a variety of animals from crocodiles and tigers to hippopotomums and baboonsters.  Though the book has no formal plot and uses words both sensible and nonsensical, it holds great appeal to children because of the rollicking rhymes, joyous adventure, and beautiful illustrations.  From a mathematical perspective, the book can be used as a springboard for a division problem with remainders as students figure out how many elephants each king has if the kings share the elephants equally.

One Hundred Hungry Ants, written by Elinor J. Pinces and illustrated by Bonnie MacKain:  Rhymed verse is used to tell this whimsical story of 100 hungry ants setting out in one long line for a picnic.  When the littlest ant announces that the line is moving too slowly and suggests 2 lines of 50, followed by 4 lines of 25, 5 lines of 20, and 10 lines of 10 to speed things up.  By the time the ants reach the picnic, the food is all gone but students will have gained valuable background knowledge about both multiplication and division.


Divider Machine: Students attempt to answer basic division facts and obtain a score of 100 without making any mistakes by selecting the appropriate level of difficulty.

Division Derby: Choose from a series of racecar themed multiplication and division games for single or multi-players focused on basic facts.

Flashcards: Students can use this site to generate their own division flashcards by entering the highest level of quotients they are interested in working with.  The site also has a variety of division games for students to choose from to support their learning process.

Math Magician: Great site for building automaticity with basic division facts.  Answer 20 division facts in a minute or less and earn a certificate.

Mystery at the Peculiar Zoo: Students read and use the clues in a poem along with multiplication and division skills to figure out how many animals were stolen by the Zoo Bandit.  If you like this story, additional mysteries are available through this scholastic site as well.


Basic Division Facts Differentiated Learning Pack: This Scholastic resource, while worksheet driven, does provide a good opportunity for differentiating activities for students who are reading below, on, or above grade level.

Lesson Idea for Introducing Division: In this activity, students are placed in groups of five or six and provided with 30 pieces of dry pasta and a paper plate for each child.  Students are asked to share the pasta equally and talk about their results.

Dividing with Bricks: This worksheet is a simple way to support the development of division concepts while children divide sets of bricks (or any cubes) into towers.

All About Division Smartboard Lesson: This Smartboard Lesson provides an introduction to the math concept of division and provides students with the opportunity to practice dividing by 3's, 4's. and 5's.

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Teaching About Electricity


Chosen books could be used to help students investigate and understand the characteristics of electricity, such as conductors and electricity, basic circuits, static electricity, transformation of electrical energy into light, heat and mechanical energy, electromagnets, and historical  contributions in understanding electricity. Selected books are aimed for elementary school students but for different grade levels.

The short sections in “Electricity” make the book useful for different levels and for multiple activities and lessons. “Switch On, Switch Off” is perfect for use in young classrooms. The text is extremely kid-friendly, leaving out any elaborate, overwhelming explanations. “Flick a Switch” will help lower elementary students picture how electricity travels from power plants to their homes. Fourth and fifth grade physical science lessons can incorporate this book into electricity units about conductors,  insulators, electromagnetism, and historical figures who contributed to our understanding and use of electrical power. “Wired” is a great resource to help upper elementary school students learn about an important part of physical science; electricity, because it describes in great detail how electricity is created and how it is transported to different places, while still being fun with its illustrations and catchy subtitles. “The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip” can be used to cover a wide range of science topics in regards to energy in grades 3-5. The book covers information on different sources of energy, magnetism, electrons and atoms, and explains the science behind how many things work.


Electricity, a DK Eyewitness book written and illustrated by Steve Parker, is a great introduction to electricity. The book is written in short sections with one topic per two pages spread. There are lots of pictures which makes the book very visually interesting. Each section discusses the science behind electricity and includes information about important historical scientists. Topics covered include Circuits and Conductors, Electromagnets, Discoveries using electricity, Electricity in the home, and more.

Students can learn more about electric circuits with the interactive Blobz Guide to Electric Circuits.

Teachers can explore static electricity with this experiment.

 “Switch On, Switch Off”

Light switches are everywhere! They are in every house: in the kitchen, the bedroom, the office, the bathroom…but are they really magic? When it’s time for bed and mom yells “lights out.” is it truly magic within that switch that allows the room to get dark? Switch On, Switch Off, written by Melvin Berger and illustrated by Carolyn Crolll, is an excellent resource for your children to begin exploring the magic within the light switch, or what is better know as electricity. The story begins just this way, with a child heading to bed, curious as to how his light switch operates. This commences the lesson where Berger youthfully explains circuits, generators, light bulbs, and plugs, thus demonstrating how electricity is produced and even used. With the help of Croll’s easy to understand illustrations, children can not only read about electricity, but they can see pictures that enforce how the process works. The author even offers a live experiment that children can do to create their own electricity using just a magnet, compass and a piece of wire.

Electricity Circuits and Conductors is a great interactive tool for children to experiment with electricity conductors.

Electricity and Magnetism is a help site for children to utilize if they have questions or need clarification about the concepts. Within  specific sections under various topics are games, activities,histories, and helpful hints.

Electricity Teaching Resources is a site to be used by teachers wishing to explore electiricty with students. The site contains, activites, games, teaching strategies, physical science links, quizzes, tests and more!

“Flick a Switch”

You flick a switch to turn on a light or to turn on your computer. You know electricity makes it happen; but, where does the electricity come from? The path electricity takes from the power plant to homes and businesses is described in Flick a Switch: How Electricity Gets to Your Home written by Barbara Seuling with illustrations by Nancy Tobin. This book uses straight-forward language and bright, kid-friendly drawings to help children understand the science and technology behind generating electricity. Simple activities that use everyday items to demonstrate electrical circuits are included.

When you hear the name Thomas Edison you think light bulb. When you hear Ben Franklin you think electricity. But what do you think when you hear Michael Faraday? Learn more about Michael Faraday, whose work with electromagnetism made the generators in power plants possible.

Benjamin Franklin was an inventor. This website helps students understand Benjamin Franklin’s contributions. Drawings were done by other students and they all wrote a sentence about who Ben Franklin was. This a way for students to learn from their peers as well as to see other points of view on Ben Franklin.


Wired, written by Anastasia Suen and illustrated by Paul Carrick, is a physical science book for students related to electricity. The book starts out by explaining the importance of electrons and describing how electricity is made at the power plant. It goes on to explain the different types of vehicles used to transport electricity to surrounding areas and cities (transformer towers, feeder line, secondary wires, ect.) As one reads the book, he or she can see that the author is explaining the process of how electricity is created and moved to other places step by step. The pictures start out showing the power plant, and end up illustrating the ways electricity is used around the house in lamps, computers, breakers, and more. The book ends with a few tips for children on how to “Be Smarter About Power!” and lists some websites and other book resources where children can find more about electricity.

“The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip”

The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip, takes Ms. Frizzle’s students through the concepts of electricity in an exciting field trip. The field trip begins when the power goes out at school and Ms. Frizzle takes the students on a journey to find out the problem. Power lines are down in the streets and the students begin their exploration at a power plant. The students travel through steam and a turbine and enter into power lines. From there they travel to the library, explore inside a light bulb, continue on to a restaurant and Phoebe’s house, and then return back to the school. Throughout the storm many topic of energy are covered such as; how to make an electromagnet, different sources of energy, how a motor works, how a TV works, how a switch works, how steam works, and how to make a mini-power plant. It also discusses electrons and atoms.

The Florida Project Learning Three has a great resources for teachers to use with The Magic School Bus and the Electric Filed Trip on activity. The packet includes discussion questions, vocabulary words, vocabulary practice, worksheets, comprehension questions, sequencing practice worksheets, and writing exercises.

Hotchalk has a good three week unit for students to learn about electricity. Topics include: renewable energy, wind turbines, testing electric currents, and energy resources.





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Classification of Living Things

Scientist have tried to classify living organisms into groups since Aristotle’s time.  Over time this classification system has changed and evolved as we have learned more about organisms.  Advances in technology have fueled many of these changes.  Scientist are now studying the genetic makeup of organisms.  With this new information, scientist believed that the long held system of 5 kingdoms needed to be reevaluated.  In 1990, it was suggested that the name “domain” be used to describe a rank higher than kingdom. The proposed three domain system includes the kingdoms, Protista, Plantae, Fungi, and Animalia under the Domain Eukarya.  The Kingdom Monera was separated into the two domains, Domain Bacteria and Domain Archaea.

This blog is intended to address the needs of educators teaching the classification of organisms using physical characteristics, body structures, and behavior of the organism (Virginia Standards of Learning 5.5).  With over one million different species on earth there is an abundance of books available.  I have tried to find a few excellent examples of books and other resources to get you started.

Book Reviews:

Tree of Life: The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth,
By Rochelle Strauss and illustrated by Margot Thompson

This book is a great introduction to classification.  In a short 39 pages this book covers the traditional 5 kingdoms.  On a two page spread the book gives a colorful overview of each kingdom.  There is a brief description of the kingdom along with examples and a graphic that depicts the size of that kingdom compared to the remaining kingdoms.  The book breaks down the animal kingdom into invertebrates and vertebrates and the five classes of vertebrates.

The Animal Kingdom: A Guide to Vertebrate Classification and Biodiversity
By Kate Whyman

This book is 45 pages full of great information.  But don’t let the size deter you.  The introduction to each class of vertebrates contains a bulleted box that lists the characteristics of that vertebrate.  You can quickly cover the basics by looking at the pictures and bulleted boxes.  This book also contains a great introduction to what is a living thing and classification.  Herbivores, carnivores and the human impact on the animal kingdom are also briefly covered.
bug Bugs Up Close
By Diane Swanson and Photographed by Paul Davidson

Of all the different kinds of invertebrates, insects are the class we are all familiar with.  This book quickly describes the characteristics of insects and then devotes a page to each characteristic.  Photographer Paul Davidson provides amazing close-up photos of different types of insects.
book Amphibians: Water-t0-Land Animals
By Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Kristin Kest

Just like the cover, this book is filled with rich, colorful illustrations of amphibians.  The text is easy to read and brief.  Throughout the book are inserts with additional information and trivia facts.  At the end of the book is a scientific classification chart and glossary.  If you like this book, then you may like one of the other five that is in the series.

crab  Crab Moon
By Ruth Horowitz and illustrated by Kate Kiesler

In this fictional story, a young boy and his mother go to the beach in the middle of the night to see horseshoe crabs spawning.  This book would be a great way to introduce invertebrates to students.  After reading the story, students can discuss the characteristics of invertebrates and arachnids and how they are mentioned in the story.  The book also contains a fact sheet about horseshoe crabs.

Web sites for kids:

Animal Classification.  This site offers a brief description of the characteristics of mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians, and birds.  The descriptions are four to six bulleted points that are done colorfully and with pictures.  There is a Classification Game that is an excellent review of the different characteristics of the animals discussed.

Classifying Critters.   At this web site, there is a brief explanation of how scientists classify living things and an interactive quiz on vertebrates.  The quiz shows you a picture of one animal and asks that you identify an animal that would be in the same category as the first.  After you identify the correct animal, you are then given a multiple choice question.  The question is, what characteristics do these animals have in common?

Plant and Animal Differences.  To play this game you must quickly sort and drag the items to the correct box.  As the items go by on a conveyor belt you must sort them by bird, mammal, insect, or plant.

A Touch of Class game.  In this game you are given a grid with 16 shadow pictures of living things. You are asked to click the pictures that correspond with the statement at the top of the page.  Some examples of statements are: “things that have a tail” or “things that have a backbone.”

Video. Select the video titled “Form and Function.”  This video discusses how scientists look at animal’s structure and behavior when comparing them.  After watching this video, viewers should have a better understanding of how animals that look similar can be classified differently.

Teacher Resources:

Lesson plan.  Science NetLinks offers a two-part lesson plan on classification.  In addition to the lesson plans, the site also discusses the misconceptions and the difficultly that most students have in understanding classification. This site also offers assessment and extension activities.

Introducing Classification.  This site offers a brief explanation and history of classification along with descriptions of the 5 kingdoms and examples.  There is also a section that compares the kingdoms and an activity for students that can be printed.

Teacher overview.  At this site educators can review the characteristics of the main kingdoms.  The kingdoms are then broken down into further subgroups and examples of each are given.   Click on “Printable Worksheets” and you will find a 10 question assessment based on the information found on this site. This link takes you to a slide show about classification and discusses the three domains.  Look around the site and you will find great pictures and quizzes that can be used.

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Cells: Fifth Grade

In fifth grade, students study cells as part of the living systems unit. Students must understand that organisms are made up of cells, which have defining characteristics that contribute to the organism’s survival (SOL 5.5). This resource set will support instruction during the cell unit.

Plant Cells: The Building Blocks of Plants

Written by Darlene R. Stille and Illustrated by Eric Hoffmann

Plant Cells: The Building Blocks of Plants would serve as a valuable resource for a research project on cells. The book is divided into four clearly defined chapters that address distinct aspects of plant cells. These aspects are the basics, the defining characteristics, the function, and the reproduction of plant cells. Since this book is written at an appropriate reading level, students could read Plant Cells independently in order to collect information for their project. Clear headings and an extensive index create a research-friendly format that will assist students as they search for information related to their topics. Finally, a descriptive glossary and illustrative diagrams support students as they read content-specific vocabulary. Overall, this is an age-appropriate text that enables independent exploration.

Animal Cells: The Smallest Units of Life

Written by Darlene R. Stille and Illustrated by Eric Hoffmann

Animal Cells: The Smallest Units of Life is a good companion resource to Plant Cells. This book explains the vast range of cells, the appearance of animal cells, animal cell functions, and the reproduction of animal cells. Animal Cells specifically emphasizes the impact of cells on all life, from the “smallest ant to the largest elephant.”  Stille distinguishes between one-celled and multi-celled organisms. She also explains how the quantity and type of cell affect the life of the organism. For instance, a one-celled bacteria does not posses the same abilities and characteristics as a 60-100 trillion-celled human being. Concrete examples and detailed images will assist students as they read this book. Once again, this resource lends itself toward independent research. Simple diagrams, fun facts, bibliographical resources, and a descriptive glossary combine to create a valuable resource for student research.


Written by Kimberly Fekany Lee and Designed by Heidi Thompson

Cells is a good resource because it teaches about cells in the context of daily life. This approach supports student comprehension of this difficult topic. For example, the book begins with a description of cells and their size relative to other objects. These descriptions are supported with illustrations of enlarged cells as well as pictures of their size equivalents. For instance, Lee demonstrates the size of human cells relative to a pin head. According to her calculations, one pin head can hold 10,000 human cells. This description concretely conveys the size of a human cell. Cells also explains the various cell organelles and their functions. The differences between the organelles are highlighted through the use of specific examples. For instance, Lee begins by defining the term “ribosome” and explaining its function. She follows up this description with an example that relates ribosomes to the human immune system. Lee explains that prescription antibiotics work by attacking bacteria’s ribosomes. Concrete relationships, such as this one, help students to connect with the content material. This book would serve as an engaging read-aloud for  a unit on cells.

Cells and Systems

Written by Holly Wallace and Designed by Celia Floyd

The first four chapters of  Cells and Systems focus on cells. This section of the book begins with a simple definition of the term “cell.” Clear illustrations support this definition. Additionally, the author differentiates between animal and plant cells. Two diagrams highlight the defining organelles of each cell type. The second chapter emphasizes the different functions of cell organelles as well as their placement in animal and plant cells. Bold terms, definitions, and exemplary images help readers develop an understanding of the content-specific vocabulary. The third chapter focuses on plant organelles and their role in the plant system. This includes an in-depth view and explanation of chloroplasts, cytoplasm, and stomata. The final cell chapter describes vacuoles and the importance of vascular tissue within plants. Diagrams and photographs outline a plant’s water transport system. These four chapters can be utilized as a read-aloud or as independent reading. Students will benefit from the clear illustrations, simple definitions, and organized layout of this book. Cells and Systems is an approachable text that students can use to develop their background knowledge of cells or to clarify an abstract concept. This resource will help students gain a deeper understanding of  cells and their vital role in our lives.


Written by  Darlene R. Stille and Designed by Tammy West

Cells focuses on different cell types. In this book Stille explains cell reproduction and explores the connection between different cell types and life processes. For instance, Stille describes vascular tissue and its vital role in a plant’s transport of water, minerals, and nutrients. Stille also examines the similarities and differences between various cell types. For example, she defines the three types of muscle cells as well as describes their defining features. Due to the extensive nature of this book, the teacher should focus on each chapter individually. Each chapter could serve as an introduction to a lesson on cells. This book could also be used as an independent resource. Students could use this text when researching a specific topic on cells. Through this book, Stille helps students to understand cells’ function and importance in their lives.

Student Resources

  • Vascular Plants: This tutorial explains vascular plants through the use of interactive models and grade appropriate descriptions.
  • Cell Structure: Students can use this interactive model to recognize the differences between animal and plant cells. Additionally, students will learn about the functions of the organelles in these two cell types.
  • Cell Rap: This rap describes the components of animal and plant cells through simplistic rhyme. Its description of organelles and their functions will help students to differentiate between the various organelles and their purposes.
  • Cell Practice Test: Students can test their knowledge of animal and plant cells with this comprehensive online test, which is aligned with the Virginia SOLs.

Teacher Resources

  • Plant Cell Lab: Through this interactive lab activity students will be able to view and compare plant cells. Students are asked to draw sketches of their observations, answer comprehension questions, and compare and contrast two different cell types.
  • Cell Project: This assignment requires students to construct a 3D model of an animal or plant cell. Through creating a cell model students will develop a deeper understanding of cell components. This assignment also includes a rubric and photos of two sample cell models.
  • Cell Webquest: This webquest leads students through a guided explanation and exploration of animal and plant cells.
  • Cells are the Starting Point: This website provides explanations about cells and their organelles. These explanations are written at a level appropriate for use in interactive notebooks or study guides for fifth grade.
  • Animal and Plant Cell Worksheets: These two worksheets provide students with a diagram of each cell type. Additionally, students are required to color code the corresponding organelles as well as answer analysis questions.
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Trees, Trees, Trees….

     Trees have always provided us with essentials to life: both food and oxygen. As technology has advanced trees have been used  more and more, for shelter, medicine and tools.  Trees improve our air quality, conserve water, preserve soil, and support wildlife. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.” Trees control climate by moderating the effects of the sun, rain and wind. Clearly, trees are a very important resource to humans and the entire world. As more and more forest land is cut down, we need to educate the next generation about the importance of trees. These resources can be used for SOLs from all grade levels  having to do with plant structure, life cycles, needs, recycling, animal habitats, and erosion (k.6b, 1.4 a-c, 1.7a, 2.4b, 2.7b, 3.4a, 4.4a, 5.7e,f).


The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rainforest by Lynne Cherry

This book is a great story about a man who is going to chop down a Kapok tree in the rainforest. He decides to take a nap and while he is asleep all the animals that live in and depend on this tree- snakes, butterflies, a jaguar, and a child, come to him and whisper all the reasons not to cut down the tree. It really shows the interconnectedness of all living things. When he wakes up and sees all the animals around him he decides not to chop down the tree and walks out of the forest. This beautifully illustrated book speaks to the importance of conservation as well as related subjects such as endangered animal species.

Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing Trees By Jim Arnosky

Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the TreesThis book is one of a great series of guide books for kids on nature. Crinkleroot is a loveable, wise, old man who explains about trees along his walk through the woods. He details the difference between hardwoods and conifers, and gives detail skecthes of the different types of leaves. He tells about why we need a rich diversity of different types of trees to provide shelter and food for animals. He even talks about the role that dead trees take in the forest, as well as how seedlings and saplings grow and factors affecting their development. With rich watercolor illustrations, and information dense text, this succint book will engage and activate curiosity in students. Also check out, I Was Born in a Tree and Raised by Bees and Crinkleroot’s Guide to Walking in Wild Places by the same author.

Forest Explorer: A Life Size Field Guide By Nic Bishop

 When encouraging outdoor exploration, Forest Explorer is a must. This field guide built for miniature naturalists, shows real, oversized photographs of common animals and insects living in the forest. It has a critter index in the back with pictures, tips for things to look for in all seasons, and many other hints that excourage students to get out there and get dirty exploring the forest!

Nature’s Green Umbrellas by Gail Gibbons

Product Image

This book, using great watercolor illustrations entice students to become a part of the rainforest while learning with straightforward text. The ecology of the rainforest is discussed, with simple definitions of terms and labeled animals. Global warming  and the danger of destruction of the rainforest and its potential impact on the world are discussed as well. The author also suggests methods for reducing damage to the rainforests from cutting. This is a great book to give students an introduction to the rainforest and the issues associated with it.

 A Tree is a Plant  by Clyde Robert Bulla, illustrated by Stacy Schuett

From the Lets Read and Find Out leveled readers series, this book shares a breif overview of general tree knowledge and then focuses on the apple tree to show  its parts and functions, as well as its seasonal changes. The author uses direct and simple language. Impressionistic illustrations engage the eye while also show the functions of the plant  like with arrows indicating the water intake route. This book features large pictures, with a diverse group of kids in the outdoor scenes. Extension acitivities are included in the back like a transpiration experiment and measuring the age of a tree.

Student Resources:

A Walk in the Woods is a great website acitivity with visual pictures, sound, and text educating kids on different things they can find in the woods. This would be a great precursor to a real walk in the woods. This would give hte kids some great ides on what to look for.

What Tree is That? This interactive tools allows students to practice identifying features of different trees when given a mystery tree sample.

Exploring the Secret Life of Trees This interactive presentation goes through the basic stucture of trees and what they need to survive. The student learn about the root system and have to stack soda cans to represent how deep roots grow. With the same host- Pierre the acorn, also try Trees are Terrific.

Dichotomous Tree Key is an interactive site where kids can choose the feature of their tree and see what species they end up with. This illustrates all the factors that are considered when trying to identify tree types.

SmokeyKids has information and several interactive features and games having to do with forest fires, prevention and how they put forest fires out. I especially like the Smoke Jumpers game, where students put fires out before they burn all the trees.


Teacher Resources:

Real Trees 4 Kids Printable Teacher guides

This website created by the National Christmas Tree Council has leveled lessons for all age groups having to do with tree farming and trees in general. There are many great actvitities, especially in the grades 3-5 section such as classifying trees, growing cycles, and recycling. More childrens’ literature suggestions are found here as well.

Tree Cookies/My Life as a Tree This a great classic lesson showing students how to count how old a tree is. They can also see for themselves the cambium, bark and hardwood. They then will create their own tree cookie on a paper plate to represent their own lives (with the same number of rings as their age). They will label all the parts that would be on a real tree cookie, but also major events of their life on the appropriate ring year. This could also be a great brainstorming activity for a narrative writing assignment.

 Tree Kit by University of Illinois has many many lesson plan ideas to do with all things related to trees. There are three units with over 15 lessons/activities to explore. One I liked in particular is Dead and Alive showing how the animals and plants around a dead tree still use it to help them flourish.

Tree Chain Game This lesson explores all the things that seeds need in order to germinate and grow into a seedling and then into a tree. Student learn that they have to have a certain order. They then play a game where each student is assigned a “need” or a “seed” card. The “seeds” have to run between two areas playing a memory type game to try to collect all their needs in the correct order. Once they find their next need that student has to run with them making a chain until all the needs are collected.


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Shaking It Up: Earthquakes!

Even though we may not feel it, the ground beneath us is in almost constant motion.  There are hundreds of earthquakes each year; however, many are not felt or occur far away from civilization.  Tectonic plates move along fault lines creating earthquakes which in turn form the landscape of our planet.  This constant changing of the earth’s crust is examined in VA Science SOL 5.7.  Although earthquakes are often considered dangerous and scary events to be taken very seriously, the scientific concepts discussed in the materials that follow give students an insight into the earth in which they inhabit.

A Project Guide to Earthquakes
Written by Claire O’Neal

Inside A Project Guide to Earthquakes, you will find thirteen experiments that elementary aged students will enjoy.  This book is targeted for upper elementary students and guides their interests in the science of earthquakes through hands-on activities.  It is a newer book (10/2010) and would be a good resource for teachers to use as they explore geology in the classroom.

Earthquake Games
Written by Matthys Levy and Mario Salvador, Illustrated by Christina C. Blatt

This book is best used for upper elementary and middle school students.  Included in the book are many activities that engage the student in learning about the awesome power of earthquakes.  This is a great book to use for both earthquake and volcano experiments.  Activities presented in Earthquake Games need to be supervised by an adult, and adult assistance may be needed to decipher some of the confusing page layout.  Solid information on geology, earthquakes, and volcanoes is given in this book and the games, experiments, and activities really enhance students’ interest in these topics.

Hands-on Science Projects
Written by Chris Oxlade

This is yet another very practical, experiment laden book for teachers and students to learn about not only earthquakes but many other geological and meteorological phenomena.  With a target age range of 9-12 years-old, this collection of over 50 experiments gives students a great resource from which to activate their knowledge of these subjects.  By having students interact with the scientific concepts presented, the experiments and activities in this book help teachers reach the full range of learning styles.  Also, by preforming the projects themselves, students can take ownership in their learning.

Earthquakes with Max Axiom
Written by Katherine Krohn, Illustrated by Tod Smith and Al Milgrom

This graphic novel will draw students into scientific concepts with its action-packed drawings and fast-paced action.  Earthquakes is included in a series of graphic novels centered around the main character, Max Axiom.  Again targeted at upper elementary, this book gives plenty of statistics, important events, and interesting facts about the topic while still staying with it’s comic-book like style.  The Max Axiom series is a great resource for students who are below level, struggle with, or are uninterested in reading.

…If you Lived at the Time of the Great San Francisco Earthquake
Written by Ellen Levine, Illustrated by Pat Grant Porter

  This book was written to give students insight into what life would have been like before, after, and during one of the largest earthquakes ever.  Along with wonderful illustrations for visual learners, this book can either be read aloud to students or students themselves can easily read and comprehend the content.  A great cross-curricular learning resource, this book encompasses science, sociology, history while building on reading skills.  Students are placed into the disaster through vivid linguistic imagery and given questions and answers that help children get a visualization of what it may have been like to be involved in the earthquake.

Earthquakes for Kids

This website is presented by the United States Geological Survey and contains links to student focused activities, games, and facts.  The site can be navigated by either teacher or student and contains resources for both as well.  Due to the amount of information contained within the links, this tool would be best used by having the teacher guide the student step-by-step through a process that would be most beneficial to the scope of learning.  However, the site can also be used by the student alone in spare time to explore areas of interest that may lead to furthering knowledge.

Weather Wiz Kids

Perfect website for older elementary students to navigate. Earthquake information, science, terminology, and images bring to life the concepts involved in earthquakes.  There are also plenty of other links to further information on each section so that students can get more in depth knowledge on a particular interest.  While the site is directed towards children, teachers can benefit from the lesson plan links offered at the bottom of the page and other topics linked on the left column.

Dragonfly TV

Dragonfly TV is a production of PBS Kids that is geared towards involving kids in the knowledge through videos, games, and other interactive resources.  This particular link leads the teacher and/or the student to a video in which two young girls discuss earthquakes where they live.  Along with factually laden information given by peers, this video shows the girls preforming actual science as well.  Although the video is a little lengthy for the classroom, the other links on the page will give teachers more great resources to interact students with the concept of earthquakes.

Earthquakes 101

A short video (about 2 1/2 minutes long), made by National Geographic (a well recognized institution) gives students vivid images and plenty of factual information.  Although the tone of the video is a bit serious and focuses on the severity and destructive nature of earthquakes, it is a good introduction to the concepts and science behind earthquakes.  The imagery shown in the video will enhance visual learners ability to grasp the geological concepts presented.

Kid Scoop Special Report: Earthquake in Haiti 

  This website gives students a current event experience with earthquakes.  There are several other resources on this site to accompany the actual story of what happened including ways kids can help raise money and awareness.  Hopefully the links and suggestions on this site will further a student’s knowledge, understanding, and questioning about the topic of earthquakes as well as the human condition/social awareness.

Plate Tectonics Activity

An interactive model of the different ways tectonic plates move, this will help students visualize the effects of earth movement.  By actually moving the the earth themselves, students are much more interactively involved in the scientific concept of plate tectonics.  Also, this activity gives students an idea of the spacial-relations involved with earthquakes by appealing to their senses of touch, sight, and using motor skills/hand-eye coordination.

Earthquake Legends Throughout the World 

From the California Department of Conservation, the California Geological Survey has put together a list of legends that explain the phenomena of earthquakes.  This multicultural list can be used as a cross-curricular tool tying the earth science unit of earthquakes and plate tectonics to the telling of legends and myths in the english department.  Also, there is the multicultural connection that can be made with students who have family connections to one or more of these legends.

California Real Time Earthquakes

What a cool resource!  This map shows a real time map of earthquakes in California, perhaps the most active state in the country.  Students can see the amount and frequency of earthquakes throughout the state and can click on the individual quake to find out more information about each specific occurrence.

Shaken! Earthquake Rocks Central Virginia

This report gives students a localized notion of earthquakes.  Although the information contained within the report is well above elementary level reading and comprehension, this resource is still a useful tool for teachers.  There are good maps for students to explore and some of the information will help to teach about plate tectonics.  By using information that is local to Virginia students, their interest will be piqued and perhaps students will develop more questions from which the teacher could build the learning process around.

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