Archive for June, 2010


Families Explore Science Concepts Through Children’s Literature During Family Science Workshop

on June 30, 2010 in Family Science Workshops by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski Comments Off on Families Explore Science Concepts Through Children’s Literature During Family Science Workshop

On June 25th, 2010 parents and children had the opportunity to explore science concepts through popular children’s literature. Parents of early childhood-age children and their children eagerly took part in hands-on explorations to investigate nature of science, earth, physical and life science concepts. Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski a nationally recognized science education consultant conducted the family science parenting workshop. Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski  introduced parents and children to popular children’s literature books that have science content directly related to regional and national science, math, literacy, history, and art standards. Parents and children conducted hands-on science explorations to investigate the behavior of soap bubbles, observing the behavior of a unique substance called Oobleckwhich behaves like a combination of a solid and a liquid, what objects sink or float, observing how rocks can be broken down into beach sand, observing and touching live garden snails, pill bugs, and earthworms, observing and sorting leaves and seeds. At the end of the two hour session families left with numerous models they had made throughout the session, and art work depicting their observations of the live creatures they observed as well as leaf rubbings they had made. Most important, parents left the session with many new explorations to undertake at home with their children to investigate science and mathematic concepts. Approximately 40+ popular children’s authors were introduced during the family science workshop teaching science concepts through early childhood literature some of the most recognizable children’s authors included: Eric Carle, Gail Gibbons, John Himmelman, Leo Lionni, Dr. Seuss, Eve Bunting, Ellen Prager, Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, Wendy Pfeffer, Tish Rabe, Bonnie Worth, Bill Martin, Franklyn Branley, Anthony Fredericks, Ruth Heller, and many more. For a detailed view of most of the children’s literature used during the family science workshop please visit this page,  all the children’s literature used during the family science workshop can be ordered from Amazon.com via this site. For additional reading on the positive impacts of parental involvement in science education please view the National Science Education Teacher’s Association position statement on parent involvement in science education see this page.

Family Science

Sorting Shells during the family science workshop.

Family Science

Families used sand and water wheels during the family science workshop. Families used sand and water wheels during the family science workshop.

Family Science Workshop

Family Science

Families sorted seeds during the family science workshop.Families connected science concepts and children's literature together.

Family Science

Child observes and sorts leaves during the family science workshop.

Family Science

Families observed and sorted shells during the family science workshop.

Family Science Workshop

Child shows drawing completed during family science workshop.

Family Science Night Activities

Families made leaf rubbings.

Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski Science Education Consultant

Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski demonstrates how to make a leaf rubbing during the Family Science Workshop.

Family Science Night Activities

Families used microscopes to observe leaves and bird feathers.

Family Science Activities

Families used microscopes during family science workshop.

Family Science Activities

Families explored what objects sink or float during the family science workshop.

Family Science Activities

Families explored floating and sinking.

Family Science

Families explore states of matter with Oobleck.

Family Science

Family science participants blows bubble during family science workshop.

Family Science

Families explored the states of matter during the family science workshop.

Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski conducts family science parenting workshop.

Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski demonstrates how to use the bubble window during the family science workshop.

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Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski family science

Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski helps family science participants mix the Oobleck.

Family Science activities

Family Science Workshop

Family Science workshop

Family Science workshopFamily Science workshop 

Teaching Science Through Children’s Literature

on June 21, 2010 in Teacher Training Workshops Comments Off on Teaching Science Through Children’s Literature

On a balmy Friday in June on the Gulf Coast of Florida thirty elementary teachers took part in a six-hour hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based teacher training workshop. Teachers were immersed in exploring intermediate level (grades 3-5) science concepts through popular children’s literature. Children’s authors included Dr. Seuss, John Himmelman, Anthony Fredericks, Jean Craighead George, Carol Hiaasen, Roberta Edwards, Robert Byrd, Janis Herbert, Laura Driscoll, Jennifer Dussling, Lynne Cherry, Kevin Kurtz, and many more authors. Teachers explored Big Ideas within the four of the new world-class Sunshine State Standards (Nature of Science, Earth and Space Science, Physical Science, and Life Science) through hands-on-minds-on- inquiry-based investigations. Teachers explored the states of matter by making Oobleck, a unique Non-Newtonian substance that takes on the characteristics of both a solid and a liquid. Teachers also used Oobleck to teach earth and space science concepts including: mudslides, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. Dr. Seuss’s book Bartholomew and the Oobleck was the literary connection in this investigation. Teachers designed and constructed terrestrial or aquatic bottle biology ecosystems to explore a wide-range of life science concepts including: ecosystems, food chains, food webs, consumers, decomposers, consumers, limiting factors, oxygen cycle, water cycle, nitrogen cycle, photosynthesis, and the animal kingdom. The following children’s literature were reviewed during the designing and construction of the bottle biology ecosystems:Everybody’s Somebody’s Lunch by Cherie Mason, A Pill Bug’s Life and An Earthworm’s Life both by John Himmelman, Under One Rock by Anthony Fredericks, and others. Teachers observed and studied mangrove seedlings and learned all about mangrove ecology. Lynne Cherry’s children’s literature book The Sea, The Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle was used in this investigation to reinforce mangrove ecology concepts. Teachers were introduced to the vast array of ideas and inventions of Leonardo daVinci by exploring simple machines, airplanes, helicopters, and parachutes. Who Was Leonardo da Vinci by Roberta Edwards was the primary children’s literature book used during the investigations. However, teachers were also introduced to many other children’s literature books that cover Leonardo daVinci’s life, innovations, and inventions. Teachers studied bird feathers to make connections to bird anatomy, aerodynamic concepts, and gravity. There’s an Owl in My Shower by Jean Craighead George as well as books about Leonardo daVinci were used during this investigation. Teachers explored the concepts of erosion and weathering, and the rock cycle through the Ellen Prager’s book Sandand Kristine and Robert Thorson’s book Stone Wall Secrets. Teachers explored the concepts of erosion and weathering through hands-on investigations using Coquina Rock. The culminating investigation involved the teachers exploring the behavior of light waves with emphasis on reflection, refraction, visible spectrum, electromagnetic spectrum, the use of spectroscopes by astronomers to analyze stars. Teachers constructed a simple spectroscope out of a mailer tube and diffraction grating material. The children’s literature used during this investigation was The Rainbow Mysteryby Jennifer Dussling part of the Science Solves It! Series. The teachers left the workshop with children’s literature books listed in this article, science references, Teaching Science Through Children’s Literature manual by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski, models made during the workshop, and a wealth of additional knowledge. Once again, I was elated to have had the opportunity to meet a wonderful group of teachers willing to expand their own scientific knowledge during their summer vacation. All of the books used during Teaching Science Through Children’s Literature can be found and ordered from this site on the books page.

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