Food Chains - Alex Chambers

This book explains how the world receives it's energy from the sun and is transformed into the energy that you and I live from daily. The book is meant to be used as a supplemental text to the textbook. It can be viewed online, so this will help students access the information at any time that suits them. they can also review the material as often as possible if they need clarification.

Electronic Book - Mitosis
Adem Evyapan

This little story follows mitch the cell through his adventures in mitosis. This would be a great post reading strategy because it would tie in the concept of mitosis in an easy and clear story with visual representations. Also a sequence graphic organizer could also be made from this, listing the steps and what each step entails within the organizer.

the diet solution reviews articleTo research more articles about the diet solution plan recipes then visit the diet solution program in books.

Table of Contents

Post-Reading Strategy: Prezi

Jennifer Yu

Pre-Reading Strategy- Plant Anatomy

Lindsay Rusnak

Here is a link to a short video made introducing basic parts of plant anatomy: roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruit. It also has random trivia facts about each of these parts in order to engage students. Hopefully, the images and facts will help students see that plants are colorful, diverse and fun! They are not just green things that sit in your backyard.

Electronic Book- Plant Anatomy

Lindsay Rusnak
The Beanstalk... and Jack.

This is a short story about Jack and the Beanstalk, told from the beanstalk's point of view. It introduces key terms to students and introduces several topics of plant anatomy to students. This book would make a nice pre-reading strategy for students before entering into a text book, or looking at slides.

Pre-reading video

Create your own video slideshow at

Peter Stenross
This is my animoto pre-reading strategy video on Marine Biology.
This animoto video is not to be used anywhere else...except on Pluto.

THis is the references for the above animoto video.
NOAA magazine
TIME photos,29307,1822003_1735947,00.html
Stuart Westmorland / Corbis
Gary Bell / zefa / Corbis
Shigeyuki Uenishi / Amanaimages / Corbis
David Loh / Reuters
Peter Essick / Getty

My pre-reading video.
By: Micah Moore

Student Created Books

Marine Biology

by Peter Stenross
This book is a text-book style reading assignment that I would have my students read within class. I would work them on how to properly annotate a text. This text will be a little easier for them to read as well as giving them vocabulary terms that might be unfamiliar to them.

Is My Backyard an Ecosystem?
By: Micah Moore
This book is designed to help students understand the parts of an ecosystem, and to challenge them to figure out what role they play in the ecosystems they live in. If I were assigning this in class, i might have students annotated as they read, or use Think Aloud to identify new vocabulary and make connections. An intro is in the beginning of the book.


Book: “It’s Complicated”
Author: Maia VanBeuren

This is a book about biodiversity. It attempts to put some real-life examples on the very broad concept. It can be used during an ecology unit and may also be helpful when discussing human impacts. Although it is brief, it allows many opportunities for students to link biodiversity to their own lives, as well as come up with their own real-life examples.

For that purpose, I would either use a pre-reading strategy, such as an Anticipation Guide to activate the prior knowledge, or a post reading strategy, such as mapping, to get students to connect biodiversity to their own lives.'

Plastic Water Bottles

Posted by: Jennifer Yu


My eBook would be used as an introduction to human impacts to active student’s prior knowledge and experience with pollution. It helps them connect to how they negatively contribute to the environment. This eBook can also be used as a pre-reading strategy for students to prepare for readings about pollution and environmental impacts. This eBook contains a lot of pictures, so students can visually see and connect to the text.





The Environment Today: Human Influence

Posted by: Derick Wigle

  • For the text reflection project I created an online book that can be used during the Biodiversity and Human Influence unit. For summary explaining the connection between the book and content, please refer to the intro page of the book. For the recommended reading strategies and a list of key terms, please refer to the book information page (4th page).
Book - PDF Format


The Water Cycle Song

Posted by: Mary Vosburgh
Song Written by Foster Brown

There’s something important I think you should know
About a process that has no end.
It rises and falls, it freezes and thaws
and needed by everyone.
It’s the water cycle, it’s a really cool thing,
It makes me dance and it makes me want to sing.
From the clouds down to the ground
This cycle goes round and round
The heat of the sun warms the earth
and warms the H2O.
It changes water into gas and on a current up it goes.
We call this evaporation,
It’s a pretty cool fact, valuable information.
The vapor begins to rise;
it slowly cools down,
Attaches itself to pollen and dust, forming a little cloud.
We call this condensation,
It’s a pretty cool fact, valuable information.
The moisture builds up slow
And the clouds begin to grow
The currents can hold the moisture up, so it begins to rain or snow.
We call this precipitation,
It’s a pretty cool fact, valuable information.
From the clouds down to the ground
This cycle goes round and round.

Summary: This is a song about the water cycle. This song includes lyrics about evaporation, condensation, clouds, moisture and precipitation. It stresses the importance of the water cycle.
Favorite Part: "Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, From the clouds to the ground" was my favorite verse because it tells them the order in which the parts of the water cycle happen. Students need to know the difference between precipitation, condensation and evaporation. This song does a nice job of simplifying the differences.
Connection to Instruction: This song will fit nicely into the section about cycles in the ecology unit. Students need to have a good understanding of the water cycle, nitrogen cycle, carbon cycle, and phosphorous cycle. This song will be a good way for students to remember the water cycle.
Literacy Strategy: I would use song to introduce the water cycle. After listening to and reading the song lyrics, I would have the students draw pictures of what they think of when thinking about the water cycle.
This song can be found at

The Woman Who Could Not Live With Her Faulty Heart

Posted by: Jane Lungershausen

The Woman Who Could Not Live With Her Faulty Heart
By Margaret Atwood
I do not mean the symbol
of love, a candy shape
to decorate cakes with,
the heart that is supposed
to belong or break;

I mean this lump of muscle
that contracts like a flayed biceps,
purple-blue, with its skin of suet,
its skin of gristle, this isolate,
this caved hermit, unshelled
turtle, this one lungful of blood,
no happy plateful.

All hearts float in their own
deep oceans of no light,
wetblack and glimmering,
their four mouths gulping like fish.
Hearts are said to pound:
this is to be expected, the heart’s
regular struggle against being drowned.

But most hearts say, I want, I want,
I want, I want. My heart
is more duplicitous,
though no twin as I once thought.
It says, I want, I don’t want, I
want, and then a pause.
It forces me to listen,

and at night it is the infra-red
third eye that remains open
while the other two are sleeping
but refuses to say what it has seen.

It is a constant pestering
in my ears, a caught moth, limping drum,
a child’s fist beating
itself against the bedsprings:
I want, I don’t want.
How can one live with such a heart?

Long ago I gave up singing
to it, it will never be satisfied or lulled.
One night I will say to it:
Heart, be still,
and it will.

Text Source: Atwood, Margaret. 1987. Selected Poems II: Poems Selected and New, 1976-1986. Boston; Houghton Mifflin.

Summary: Famous poet, Margaret Atwood writes about her real heart, not the sentimental type. She is a patient with a heart condition and she writes about her experiences with the pain and disease. She beautifully articulates the details of what she physically feels.

Favorite Part: I love the third stanza, in which the author equates her heart to an ocean with the "four mouths gulping like fish".

Connection to Instruction: This poem is great for biology because it directly relates to the human body. You could easily incorporate this into the heart unit. It is simple and short - easy to fit into a busy curriculum! It is biology-related but still artistic and beautiful, not just some cheesy science song or poem.

Use of Literacy Strategies: Along with a textbook reading, you could incorporate a vocabulary lesson like the synetics activity. By reading this poem and using vocabulary from another text, it gives students some interesting things to compare the words to.
(ie: the gulping fish represent the ventricles of the heart). You could also use:

  • Wordle works great for this because the poem uses a lot of descriptive words for the heart.
  • Think Aloud - poems can sometimes be confusing and require a lot of thought. A think aloud will let students stop to recall and think about what they're reading.

Technically, It's Not My Fault

Posted by: Richard Gardner

Technically, It's Not My fault- Poetry collection
Written by and Illustrated by John Grandits. 2004.

Summary: The book Technically, It’s Not My Fault by John Grandits is a collection of poems and short stories, most of which revolve around science. The book can be read the whole way through, or by selecting a specific chapter to read out of sequence. This book is a fun way to first learn about scientific concepts, although not many specifics on topics are given.

Favorite Part: My favorite part of this book was the poem "TyrannosaurBus Rex" which uses a school bus on its morning route to symbolize a feeding Tyrannosaurus Rex. The imagery is great, and gets you exited to learn more about the topic.

Connection to Instruction: This book would be a good way to introduce a topic such as gravity, bacteria, or photosynthesis. Students could read a poem to get them thinking about the topic and begin collecting what prior knowledge that they have.

Use of Literacy Strategies: I feel like a good way to use this text would be as a companion to a pre-reading exercise. Since the passages are short, easy to read, and introductions to topics it may be beneficial to some students to use along with an anticipation guide. Using this text as a resource to help supplement areas where students may lack lots of prior knowledge would be wise.

The Bones Song

Posted by: Elyse Boress

Teaching the Bones of the Human Body
Robin Walling

206 Bones in the Body
206 That’s all there is
206 Bones in the Body
And if you sing it right
They sound like this….
The skull is the cranium, right on top
Immovable joint and not a soft spot
Scapula’s the shoulder blade, a real flat bone
Sternum’s in the center and protects the heart alone
Clavicle’s the collarbone, fractures all the time...
Radius and ulna are above the wrist...
Phalanges, you’ll find, are in the hands and feet...
The tibia’s the shin and the fibula - you’ll see
Is in the lower leg, just under the knee
Tarsal’s in the ankles, right near the toes
And metatarsal’s in the foot’s as far as we goes!
Summary: This song not only lets students know how many bones make up the human body, but gives the anatomic name for common body parts and what their location is, the description of its structure or its function. It starts from the head and works its way down to the toes.

Favorite Part: I liked the part that said clavicle is the collar bone, fractures all the time…I just had a recollection of my childhood because I knew someone who fractured their clavicle when they fell off the monkey bars. Not an uncommon injury for school aged children.

Connection to Instruction: This song would be a good introduction to the skeletal system because it gives the anatomical names of the structures and then either a description, location or function in a way that students should be able to remember.

Use of Literacy Strategies: Pre reading..This is a good introductory piece.

Human Body

Posted by: Elyse Boress
Poem by Andrew Lockley 2008.
Human Body

Blood draining
veins pulsing
heart pounding
throat gulping
lungs choking
stomach churning
brain growing
ears burning
eyes flinching
muscle feeling
bone crunching
skin peeling
nails grinding
teeth staining
nose itching
lips licking
hair threading
saliva dripping
liver processing
intestines working
limbs crippling
disks jerking
soul yearning
Summary: This poem shows how our body either voluntarily or involuntarily works. All these things happen on a daily basis as a survival mechanism whether we’re aware of it or not.
Favorite Part: I like the line that says muscle feeling. Do our muscles really feel? I like the personification that the author gave to this organ.
Connection to Instruction: This text always starts with a structure in our body and has a descriptive adjective attached to it that I think is an interesting way to look at these structures. When I think about the brain, I don’t typically think of it as growing. I think this will make students see these organs from a different angle which is beneficial.
Use of Literacy Strategies: Students coule be given the first words and then asked to describe these words in their own terminology. After they complete that task, they should be shown the 2nd grouping of words and see how they compare to their original words. This exercise could be used as a post exercise as well. By that point, they should have a good understanding of the structure and function of the organ and can get into more depth with their definitions based on the words above.

Sleeping Satellite

Posted by: Cynthia Mosher
Song: Sleeping Satellite, Tasmin Archer, Great Expectations, August 31, 1992

I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died
With the eagles flight
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why
Are the seas still dry
Don't blame this sleeping satellite
Did we fly to the moon too soon
Did we squander the chance
In the rush of the race
The reason we chase is lost in romance
And still we try
To justify the waste
For a taste of man's greatest adventure
I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died
With the eagles flight
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why
Are the seas still dry
Don't blame this sleeping satellite
Have we lost what it takes to advance
Have we peaked too soon
If the world is so great
Then why does it scream under a blue moon
We wonder why
If the earth's sacrificed
For the price of its greatest treasure
I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died
With the eagles flight
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why
Are the seas still dry
Don't blame this sleeping satellite
And when we shoot for the stars
What a giant step
Have we got what it takes
To carry the weight of this concept
Or pass it by
Like a shot in the dark
Miss the mark with a sense of adventure
Don't blame this sleeping satellite
I blame you for the moonlit sky
And the dream that died
With the eagles flight
I blame you for the moonlit nights
When I wonder why
Are the seas still dry
Don't blame this sleeping satellite
Don't blame this sleeping satellite
Summary: All the websites that discuss this song open with discussing how this is about the first moon landing, however the lines that have the greatest impact for me were the ones that seemed to question whether in our technological race for supremacy, have we lost the concerns for the race’s impact on Earth itself. I do not feel that it is about the moon landing, but about how humans can get tunnel vision.
Favorite Part: That is hard. I guess it’s the verse “Did we fly to the moon too soon, Did we squander the chance, In the rush of the race, The reason we chase is lost in romance
And still we try, To justify the waste, For a taste of man's greatest adventure”
Connection to Instruction: This would be a good opening to an ecology unit discussing human impact. Let the students listen to the song and write about, then discuss in small groups what they thought the song meant.
Use of Literacy Strategies:
What’s the Big Idea

Anthology For the Earth

Posted by: Mary Vosburgh

Edited by Judy Allen, 1998.
Summary: This is an illustrated book of poems and prose about the natural world. This book provides readers with images that will challenge adults and children to think about the importance of protecting the Earth. Many of the poems touch on topics such as ethics, ecology, human’s impact on the Earth, and ecological diversity. Some of the authors include John Muir, Rudyard Kipling, Ovid, Tolstoy, and John Steinbeck.
Favorite Part: Below is an excerpt from the poem “Thinking Like a Mountain By Aldo Leopold. This poem shows how humans are impacting the natural ecosystems of the Earth. It might make students think twice about their actions and the impacts they might have.
I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades. So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf's job of trimming the herd to fit the range. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.”
Connection to Instruction: At the end of the ecology unit, the students would be studying how humans impact ecosystems. I would use this book of poems as an introduction to this section. Reading some of the poems and prose would get the students thinking about their actions and the consequences of those actions. After reading some of the poems, the class would begin a discussion the damages humans are causing to many natural habitats.
Literacy Strategy: The literacy strategy to be used with this could be concept maps. As a class we would read a couple poems aloud. After, I would write the phrase “human impact on ecosystems” on the board. The students would then work in groups to create a concept map of their initial ideas.
This book can be found at:

Immune System

Rising from our past,
To fight biological disaster,
Our innate immune system,
Make our blood race faster,
It fights off common enemies,
Including Germ and Virus,
Raising our bodies temperature,
In fever that sometimes tires us,
Without this built in system,
Which learns more every day,
I am afraid the human race,
Would someday fade away.

Authored by: William Simons October 23,2009

Summary of text: This poem is about the power of our innate immune system.

Favorite Part:
It fights off common enemies,
Including Germ and Virus,
Raising our bodies temperature,
In fever that sometimes tires us,
There is not a page number as this poem was created above.

Connection to Instruction: This poem serves to demonstrate that even biology principles can be represented in prose.

Use in classroom: Poems can be created as a method for helping to remember text details, specifically for retention of vocabulary sets at the end of a lesson.

We Are Made One with What We Touch and See

By Oscar Wilde

Posted by Ted

We are resolved into the supreme air,
We are made one with what we touch and see,
With our heart's blood each crimson sun is fair,
With our young lives each spring impassioned tree
Flames into green, the wildest beasts that range
The moor our kinsmen are, all life is one, and all is change.

With beat of systole and of diastole
One grand great life throbs through earth's giant heart,
And mighty waves of single Being roll
From nerveless germ to man, for we are part
Of every rock and bird and beast and hill,
One with the things that prey on us, and one with what we kill

One sacrament are consecrate, the earth
Not we alone hath passions hymeneal,
The yellow buttercups that shake for mirth
At daybreak know a pleasure not less real
Than we do, when in some fresh blossoming wood
We draw the spring into our hearts, and feel that life is good

Is the light vanished from our golden sun,
Or is this daedal fashioned earth less fair,
That we are nature's heritors, and one
With every pulse of life that beats the air?
Rather new suns across the sky shall pass,
New splendour come unto the flower, new glory to the grass.

And we two lovers shall not sit afar,
Critics of nature, but the joyous sea
Shall be our raiment, and the bearded star
Shoot arrows at our pleasure! We shall be
Part of the mighty universal whole,
And through all Aeons mix and mingle with the Kosmic Soul!.

We shall be notes in that great Symphony
Whose cadence circles through the rhythmic spheres,
And all the live World's throbbing heart shall be
One with our heart, the stealthy creeping years
Have lost their terrors now, we shall not die,
The Universe itself shall be our Immortality!.

The poem is about the connection of people to the earth. It describes how people fit in to the world around them and everything is connected.

Favorite Part:
“We draw the spring into our hearts, and feel that life is good”
This part is something that I have experienced when that first day of spring arrives and you can breathe the fresh air again.

Connection to Instruction:
This could be used for an ecology unit or it could even be used for body systems. The line “With beat of systole and of diastole, One grand great life throbs through earth's giant heart” uses very technical terms for the beating heart.

Use of Literacy Strategies:

  • Fishbowl
  • Last Word

A Victimless Crime

By Joseph M. Balich

Posted by: Ted

I absorb rays of sunshine as the light surrounds me,
My conscience fills with happiness and good attitude,
I feel the presence of life,
A feeling unexplainable,
Just knowing that you are not alone,
Prancing animals, blooming flowers,
The list can go on for hours and hours,
Sitting and watching just for fun,
Knowing the joy will never be done,
Color of endless tranquility,
Though, white shadows,
Are like pollution,
They aren't meant to be,
We live in nature, yet do not respect it,
Adore it, then take it into disregard,
An unanswered question is,
What happens when it is all gone?
Giant waves of regret will fill the earth,
Winds of sorrow and repent fill your mind,
Hoping for it to come back,
Back so the world will not be as vile,
Yet to go back
Will still be repulsive,
For how we treated our earth,
Cannot change,
For there would be so much to do,
To even go back,
Back in time,
Would still be,
A victimless crime.

The poem deals with the beauty of nature and the mistreatment of the earth by people.

Favorite Part:
“Giant waves of regret will fill the earth,
Winds of sorrow and repent fill your mind,
Hoping for it to come back”

Connection to Instruction:
This poem would be ideal when starting a unit on conservation or human impact on the environment.

Use of Literacy Strategies:

  • Pictures
  • Think-Aloud
  • 5 word – 3 word


Posted by: Brian

by Robert Frost (first published in 1936)

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth—
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth—
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?—
If design govern in a thing so small.

Retrieved February 19th, 2008 from

Summary: This poem is about natural design (evolution and natural selection).

Favorite Part: "What had that flower to do with being white, The wayside blue and innocent heal-all? What brought the kindred spider to that height, Then steered the white moth thither in the night?" This section asks appropriate questions to get thoughts of "why nature is how it is?" started.

Connection to Instruction: This poem would be good for an introduction to a class on natural selection and evolution (which is what I interpret "design" to mean, hopefully avoiding a religious argument). I think the poem asks several essential questions to evolution in an artful form. Students would have to evaluate the poem, and answer Mr. Frost's questions as they see them relating to biology.

Literacy Strategies

  • 5 words-3 words

Form Follows Function

Posted by: Elyse Boress
Song by Dennis Westphall

Form Follows Function

Teaching the Interaction of Anatomy & Physiology
Dennis Westphall

Form follows function in all biology
Form follows function it's easy to see
A purpose you'll find in every design
Form follows function
An octopus has suction cups they help in picking something up
With the longest neck you'll reach the leaves that giraffes like to eat
Insects have instead of skin, a hardened exoskeleton
Flying, soaring, hovering, birds can fly with feathered wings
Underwater breathing requires no skill if you're a fish with gills
To scare predators you can be a rattlesnake.
Just give your tail a little shake. Rattle! Rattle! Rattle!
Form follows function in all biology
Form follows function it's easy to see
A purpose you'll find in every design
Form follows function

Summary: This song shows how the structure and function of an organism are related. It mentions animals that we are familiar with and shows how they have a certain structure, such as a giraffes long neck, which is a necessity in order to reach food in a high up place.

Favorite Part: I liked the example underwater breathing requires no skill if you’re a fish with gills. For humans, we aren’t able to breath underwater because we don’t have gills.

Connection to Instruction: Once students understand the different structures of the human body, they can add in the functions in order to correlate the two together. They will be able to look at the shapes of muscles in order to understand why they function the way they do. Students should be able to come up with more examples of animals that have structures that help them function.

Everybody Wants to Know

Posted by Caitlin

Everybody Wants to Know
by Gordon J.L. Ramel
Everybody wants to know.
"Where did all the eagles go?"
Did they fly away to Spain?
When will they come back again?
There used to be so many here
we'd see them any time of year,
but now they're gone and very rare.
But do the politicians care
that everybody wants to know.
"Where did all the eagles go?"
Could someone also tell me please
why so few fish are in the seas?
It seems the oceans once were full
now who can find a single school?
The fishermen said there were tons
but now they just catch little ones;
and what about the giant whales
I read of once in ancient tales
that seemed to spout in every wave.
This situation is quite grave.
And did you hear about the frogs?
it seems they're falling off their logs
and leaving forests everywhere
and soon there won't be any there.
Such wondrous beasts seen in a zoo
but once they lived as wildlife too.
So can you try and tell me why
all of these species had to die?
Is it good that they are gone,
or are we doing something wrong?
Yes everybody wants to know.
"Where did all the eagles go?"
We liked them here they looked so grand.
When will we learn to understand
that we could find life easily,
both on land and in the sea
if we can only learn to share.
But do the politicians care
that everybody wants to know.
"Where did all the eagles go?"

Retrieved February 7, 2008, from

Summary : This poem is refering to the extinction of wildlife animals.

Favorite Part : Lines 21 & 22: "And did you hear about the frogs? It seems they're falling off their logs."
Connection to instruction: I would use this poem as an opener for talking about endangered species. This poem would get the kids attention, and give them an idea of what we will be talking about. I would use it to start class discussion.
Use of literacy strategies:

  • I could use 5words/3words to get them thinking about extinction and endangered species. This would give me an idea of what they already know
  • I could also give them pictures of different endangered and extinct species. This would really grab their attention.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Released 1976) song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", Gordon Lightfoot
Posted by:Mike

This song is about a well known ore freighter, Edmund Fitzgerald, which sailed the Great Lakes. It was caught in a serious November storm and sank on November 1975 in Lake Superior.There were 29 crew members aboard and all were lost.

Favorite Passage:
"Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay if they'd put fifteen more miles behind her
They might have split up or they might have capsized, they may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names of the wives and the sons and the daughters"

Connection to Instruction:
I would use this song to engage the students with the use of raw materials and how they are transported from one location to another. I would have them research what products are produced from different raw materials and where these raw materials come from. I would also use this song to introduce concepts such as why things float and sink, meteorology and weather changes, and also for geographical purposes.

Use of Literacy Strategies:
1. Poster project on history of raw materials. How they are mined. How they are refined. Where they are found and what products are made. How they are moved from site to site.
2. A science exercise on flotation and why things float and sink.
3. Develop an exercise on the mechanism of locks and how they work. Resaerch the locks of the Great Lakes.

Frenetic Genetics

Poem written by Paul Butters
Posted by: Dianna Gregg

Genetic engineering’s here to stay
Possibilities are endless, scientists say:
Men mixed with anything we can find:
Oak trees, wasps, ants and elephants combined.
Satanic horror armies sweep their enemies away
And Frankenstein’s monster’s little but child’s play
Compared with this lot.

Yet with Good intent,
And wisdom heaven sent,
Utopia or Paradise could be on its way:
Bumper bug-free harvests every day,
Giant fruit and docile, friendly beasts.
Food for all, and endless feasts.

All manner of
Or Evil
Is within
Our grasp.

It’s down to us.
Text Source: This poem can be found at the following link:
Summary: Just a short poem about genetic engineering
Favorite Part: “All manner of good or evil is within our grasp”. I don’t claim that this poem is great literature or anything, but it is pretty thought provoking.
Connection to Instruction: I would use as a means to encourage discussion about the potential benefits and risks associated with genetic engineering.
Use of Literacy Strategies: I would use this as a pre-reading piece to introduce the topic of genetic engineering.

Consum'n' Being

by Derrick Rieck

Poem found at:
Eric Olderstein

Well I don't know, I usually take a latte,
No, no let's just drive, what d'ya say.
I traded the van for this SUV.
Lots'o' power & room, so you see
THAT thing! Just put it in the trash
I'll get another when I stop for cash.
Wait, did you see the show last night?
the Season Finale, nothing went right!
And then, oops hold on, it's my cell,
"Yes, Hello? What? ...oh, do tell,
me more, as I really want to know
as my life is always on the go.
Never a minute for a thing
not even to hear birds sing".
So forgive me please for I am only Human
And as I continue on, I am consum'n'.
Summary: This poem discusses the life of an average American who continues to consume many resources throughout the day without much thought.
Favorite Part: It has to be the last line of the poem. It sums of this basic poem with what people have ‘s become in the world of today. They consume without recourse.
Connection: For a unit on Human Impact on the environment I think this poem would relate directly to the study. This poem is easily understandable but hits home a point that could relate with students.
Literacy Strategies: I would like to lead this poem off or maybe even record the poem over a series of pictures. I think that some post reading strategies such as think mark or concept map could be useful to generate discussion about the ideas expressed in the poem.

Picture Book

The Lorax

Posted by: Mary Vosburgh

Seuss, Dr. (1971). The Lorax. New York, NY: Random House Children's Books.
Summary: This book is focused on a Lorax who is speaking for the trees. The Onceler comes into town and basically destroys the ecosystem the Lorax lives in. The Onceler is using the trees for things that people supposedly need. Eventually, there are no trees left in the ecosystem, there is a ton of pollution and all of the animals have left the area. At the end of the book, the Onceler sees the harm he has caused and gives a boy the one last seed to plant and rebuild the ecosystem.
Favorite Part:My favorite part of the book is the quotation: "I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues." Students need to realize that they are responsible for the environment they live in. The trees cannot speak for themselves, so we must speak for them. We all need to step up to the plate and start to think of ways in which we can positively impact the environment.
Connection to Instruction: I would use this book as an introduction to human's impact on nature.
Literacy Strategy: I would use a think mark with this book. On the think mark I would put "Where did you visualize, connect, question, infer, evaluate, and analyze."

Great Scientists

Posted by: Richard Gardner
Great Scientists- Picture Book
DK Eyewitness Books. 2007. Great Scientists.

Summary: The book Great Scientists by DK Eyewitness Books is a picture-based encyclopedia. It displays for readers great scientists throughout history, and describes their major achievements in detail. Scientists discussed range from Aristotle (circa 387 BC) to Richard Feynman (present).
This book not only gives a historical look into the lives of several great scientists, but also provides diagrams and other visual aids to help the reader gain a better understanding of each scientist’s most famous work. Diagrams cover in detail everything from Galileo’s telescope to Rutherford’s atomic model. This book is truly a wonderful tool for the young scientific mind.

Favorite Part: My favorite part of this book is the section on Galileo. Since high school, I have always found the experiments of Galileo to be fascinating. This book gives attention to one of Galileo's most well-known collaborations, the telescope.

Connection to Instruction: This book has an engaging layout, and uses many pictures, colors, and diagrams to help the reader learn about each scientist, yet also have fun. The content is presented in a plain and simple way in order to give the reader basic understanding of each topic. The text introduces each scientist and their achievements, and shows how these great scientists all influenced modern technology.

Use of Literacy Strategies: A think-aloud would be useful since there are many pictures and the text is scattered among the pictures. Some sort of during reading strategy like this would be necessary for struggling readers because it would be easy to get lost. Also, a motivational poster would be a neat way to introduce the scientists as a pre-reading strategy- maybe making a poster with the scientist's name and most influential invention would prepare students to read about them.

Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Posted by: Caitlin
(1994). Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro
Summary: This book is a picture book. The author takes the concept of leaves changing color, and puts it in a way that kids can understand. The author also touches upon leaves falling off the trees, which students have a hard time with as well.

Favorite Part: pg 7-
I really like this page because there are pictures of all the different types of leaves. This page is helpful for students because a lot of them don't realize how many different leaves there are.

Connection to instruction: Although this book is for younger students, it would be a great tool for introducing the topic of pigments. When read to a class, they could get a good start on the topic they are getting into. I think it would help their understanding alot!
Use of Literacy Strategies:

  • This book uses pictures to grab the students' attention.
  • Students could use a concept map to see what they know about leaves changing color before reading the book.

Genetics: A Living Blueprint

Posted by: Brian

Stille, D. R. (2006) Genetics: A Living Blueprint. Minneapolis, Compass Point Publishing
Summary: The book provides a general overview of the structure and function of genes. It describes how genes are a blueprint for growth and development in living things. It talks about the implications genes have on humans. The book goes into some depth regarding the physical structure of genes, explaining the role of DNA and chromosomes. It discusses heredity as the mode of transference of genes, and how the genes affect physical appearance. It continues to discuss how manipulation of genes can benefit humans, and even discusses briefly the ethical issues surrounding genetics.

Favorite part: I wouldn't say any particular part was my favorite. It was a picture book, but I thought it did a good job explaining genetics for a younger audience, which is why I included it.

Connection to Instruction: The book would be useful for introducing genetics to younger students. Although the intended audience is elementary/middle school, it could be useful for high school as well, as summarization or review reading.

Literacy Strategies:

  • Anticipation guide
  • Concept map

One Night in the Coral Sea

Posted by: Ted
Collard, S. (2005). One night in the coral sea. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
This picture book details a coral reef ecosystem. Each page is filled with colorful and fairly accurate illustrations. The book covers the life cycles of the coral, the reef ecosystems and other information about aquatic life. For a book found in the children’s section it has a large amount of detailed information.

Favorite Part:
Pages 14 & 15, There are colorful pictures of numerous different type of coral. This actually taught me something that I didn’t know.

Connection to Instruction:
I would use this book as an introduction to reef ecosystems. It could be useful during discussions about habitats, especially aquatic ones. It would also be good to use in a unit about conservation.

Use of Literacy Strategies:

  • Think-along
  • Last Word

Human Anatomy Coloring Book

Posted by: Elyse Boress

Text Source: Human Anatomy Coloring Book written by Hogin McMurtrie. 2006

Summary: The Human Anatomy Coloring book is a simple, comprehensive study of the human body. It uses 3 tools to help facilitate learning and these include the grouping of 13 body systems into easily understood parts related to the human body. It also includes the compartmentalization of subject matter into 2 page subject spreads and uses the process of color association ( color linkage).

Favority Part: My favorite part of this coloring book is on pages 82 and 83. It is titled the General Organization: Superficial Survey: Muscular Groups According to Function.
It shows a really good diagram of the anterior and posterior body and each superficial muscle is labeled and given a function. The definition of these functions is given and based on the number on the diagram, students can color in the areas that function in a similar manner.

Connection to Instruction: Human body support and movement, ineegration and control, regulation and maintenance and human species continuation. This is a great book to go over the details of the bodily systems.

Use of Literacy Strategies: KWHL – as a prereading strategy and concept cards that can help students understand the medical terminology utilized throughout the book.

Breath In, Breath Out

Posted by:Elyse Boress
Text Source: Picture Book. Breath In, Breath Out: Learning About Your Lungs by Pamela Nettleton.
Summary: This book shows children what happens when we breathe. It follows the path of air flow from the time it hits our nose and mouth to the lungs and blood stream. It explains how smoking is really bad because of its effects on the lungs and encourages student to avoid smoking at all costs.

Favorite Part: The pictures because they are simple and easy to understand.
Connection to Instruction: The lungs and respiratory can be hard to understand because there are a lot of processes, details and pathways to follow. This picture book shows a detailed explanation of all this in a simple format that students can understand.

Use of Literacy Strategies: This is good to read to students at the start of their lessons on the respiratory system because it will give them a general idea of how our lungs work.

Grossology and You

Posted by: Jane Lungershausen

Text Source: Branzei, Sylvia. (2002). Grossology and You. New York, NY; Price Stern Sloan.

Summary: A gross (yes, it really is gross!) look at blood, pus, snot, bruises, warts, etc. The pictures and descriptions in this book are priceless, and the scientific material is relevant and true!

Favorite Part: I really like the whole book, but I especially like the pictures. The macrophages are my favorite - they're depicted as these white, round, tough men with bulging muscles and scruffy faces. The author takes care to sound out the pronunciation of difficult terms, which is great for kids.

Connection to Instruction: There are many parts of this book that can be tied to instruction, and the great thing about it is that you can choose one topic (ie: blood) to look at in the book, rather than trying to fit the whole thing in. Kids seem to love it, and it is very educational!

Use of Literacy Strategies: I would probably use a Post-Reading strategy or a Graphic Organizer with this. There are a lot of concepts in this book that could benefit from an organizer. I could use the Last Word activity or the 3-2-1 activity. You can also use the following:

  • Concept cards to gather information on vocabulary words. It's a good idea to get started learning these terms early, and using a children's book that makes the terms easy to understand seems like a no-brainer!
  • KWHL as a Pre-Reading strategy to gain insight into student's prior knowledge before entering the unit.

Q is for Quark

Posted by: Richard Gardner

Q is for Quark- Picture Book
Written by David M. Schwartz; Illustrated by Kim Doner. 2001.

Summary: The book Q is for Quark by David M. Schwartz is an alphabetic presentation of different scientific concepts. For each letter of the alphabet, a certain scientific theory or phenomenon has been selected, giving brief follow up information.
This book also presents simple, practical experiments to investigate the presented phenomenon/ theory and also gives copious background information on each discussed topic. Sometimes detailed discussions of the topics are presented, especially for the different theories discussed

Favorite Part: My favorite part of this book was "S- San Andreas Fault". I found this refresher on one of Earth's most precarious wonders to be very informative and interesting. The pages have great diagrams and do a nice job of getting the point across without over-elaboration of the details.

Connection to Instruction: Atoms, AIDS, DNA, bacteria, Darwin, among over one hundred other topics are covered in this book. This book could be used to support almost any content topic in a curriculum.

Use of Literacy Strategies: Because this book has short, descriptive passages on many different subjects students would benefit from using coding text. By quickly assessing their prior knowledge they will be able to make connections from the text to build new ideas.

Great Big Book of Tiny Germs

Posted by Cynthia Mosher
Nye, B. Great Big Book of Tiny Germs, 2005, Hyperion Books, New York
Summary: The Great Big Book of Tiny Germs is a great exploratory picture book for ages seven through ten. It gives important information about different microorganisms in an easy to read form, with great pictures and drawings, as well as experiments that can be performed at home with items normally available in the average household. The activities clarify some of the information, as well as explain why adults are always telling children to wash their hands, cover their mouth, and other annoying habits adults have.
Favorite part: Any of the pages that say “Try This!” These pages have easy to perform, quick experiments that can be used in the classroom, to aid in understanding.
Connection to instruction: Some parts of the book are great for the immunology portion of biology curriculum, other areas are great for the unit on cells, or even diffusion. Since the experiments are easy to set up, they can be helpful for when students are not grasping a concept that the teacher feels is important, and does not use as much time as a full lab, so they make an excellent supplement.
Literacy Strategies
Textbook Feature Analysis
Coding Text

The Human Body Book

Posted by William Simons
Parker, S. (2007), The human body book. New York, New York. Dk Publishing
Summary of Text: This book is a plethora of well constructed images, rich in color and easy to understand explanations about all parts of the human body and how it works.
Favorite Part: The many pictures, especially the cover.

Use within classroom: This book would fit my content area by providing images of areas which aid the body in immunological defense. It would also provide yet another description and viewpoint of how each system works. I would use this book as a class resource in construction of individual, group and classroom concept maps, on the elmo, and also as an acceptable choice for free reading during class time. It could also be used following text reading to reinforce the reading through another source. It comes with an interactive CD as well for use on the computer for students who have either completed their class work or who need additional sources for various reports.

The Way We Work

Posted by: Dianna Gregg
Text Source: Macaulay, David, with Walker, Richard. (2008). The way we work: Getting to know the amazing human body. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Summary: A very visual journey through the workings of the human body. Diagrams are simplified, but informational. The text is also simplified, and presents just the big ideas. The book makes the material accessible and interesting. The section on genetics is short (pp. 32-37).
Favorite Part: The description of why it is necessary that a separate molecule (RNA) carries information from the pertinent section of DNA, out of the nucleus, and to the ribosome in the cytoplasm (pp.34-35). I really liked this book. I bought it.
Connection to Instruction: I would use some quotes from the book to give a simplified introduction, or summary of certain topics. I think some of the diagrams would come out well on the ELMO, and it would probably be worthwhile to contact the publisher to see if they would give permission to reproduce some of the diagrams for class room use.
Use of Literacy Strategies: I would use this with a concept map.

Garbage and Recycling

Eric Olderstein
Miller, Debra. (2010). Garbage and recycling. Farmington Hills, MI: Lucent Books.
Summary: This text is a solid summary of garbage and recycling procedures, issues and future ventures in regards to garbage and recycling. The pictures aid the text by providing visual representations of what is being discussed.
Favorite Part: the section regarding recycling, p 28 – 43. It discusses some of the effects that recycling has had on the waste problem in the world today. But it also discusses that drawback of recycling.
Connection: This picture book would be a great tie in to a lesson on waste. It is not a particularly difficult read. The pictures help visualize some of the impact that humans can have on the environment.
Literacy Straegies: This book could use a whole variety of strategies. Five words – three words could be used to get the students to start discussing waste. Pictures and video clips would lead into this book. A think aloud would also be useful for a section of the book.

Picture Book
Uploaded by Chavon Phelps
Life Cycle: Birth, Growth, and Development. New York: Kingfisher
Favorite Part
I don’t really have a favorite part. I love how the book uses everyday information to explain a complicated topic in science.

Connection to Instruction
This book can be used for several units in a life science classroom, including cells, reproduction, body systems, anatomy, etc. I think it’s important in making connections and transfer of knowledge for students to relate to the material and I think this book will help them to do that.

Literary Strategy
I would encourage students to use SQ3R for the different topics. I would also encourage them to use the context clues such as table of contents, bolded words, headings, sub-headings, etc.

Trade Fiction/Nonfiction

The Immune System

Posted by Elyse Boress

Text Source: Parham, Peter (2008). The immune System: Elements of the Immune System and their Roles in Defense.

Summary: This chapter gives a good description of what our immune system is as well as how it functions. It talks about how our immune system fights off infections and diseases in a way that is easily understood. It also talks about what happens to our bodies when our immunity is down and how vaccines can be introduced into our bodies for protection against these illnesses or diseases.
Favorite Part: Page 44 shows pictures of the types of bacteria,viruses and fungi that our immune systems try to fight or are just part of our body. It really makes you step back to think that those disgusting looking objects can be present in our body.

Connection to Instruction: Students are always told that it’s important to wash their hands throughout the day, to have good hygiene and to cover their nose when they sneeze. This chapter will really show them the importance of that because it will teach them about our immune system and how it can’t function properly when bacteria, viruses or fungus enter our body.
Use of Literacy Strategies: difficult vocabulary is in bold in this chapter so students can pay more attention to it and look up any unknown definitions. The pictures are good visuals to go along with the descriptions of the immune system.

Uncover the Human Body

Posted by: Caitlin
(2002). Uncover The Human Body by Luann Colombo
Summary: This book is nonfiction and uses a model as well as text to explain and teach the systems of the human body. It talks about your demal, skeletal, digestive, urinary, circulatory, and respirator systems. This book contains many interesting facts.

Favorite Part : pg 8-
"Our body spends all day cleaning itself out. The lungs breathe out gases, the skin sweats, and the intestines excrete waste. The urinary system cleans your blood and regulates the amount of water in your body. Over 400 gallons of blood flow through your kidneys every day!"

Connection to instruction : This book is a great book for students of all ages. It incorporates every bosy system, and would be a great thing to look at at the beginning of a body system unit. It gives interesting facts that can grab the kids' attention.

Use of literacy strategies :

  • We could do a "book scavenger hunt" before reading the book so that the students will know where to find the info they are looking for.
  • Also, and anticipation guide could be used to see where the students are at as far as knowing some of the information from previous classes.

Life As We Do Not Know It

Posted by: Ted
Ward, P. (2006). Life as we do not know it. New York: Viking.

The book is generally about what alien life might be like if it is every discovered. It addresses some of the fundamental ideas about what makes life possible. Some scientific topics, such as panspermia, are discussed. It also includes ideas about where we might find life and what type of life that might be.

Favorite Part:
Page 243 “If we find and bring back Martian microbes, what are the chances that we will have opened Pandora’s Box or unleashed a new and deadly plague?”

Connection to Instruction:
I would probably use this as a tool when we discuss what makes something living. I could also be used in a biochemistry unit or for an independent reading project.

Use of Literacy Strategies:

  • Anticipation Guide
  • KWLH
  • Guide-o-rama
  • Think mark

Atlas of Human Anatomy

Posted by: Elyse Boress

Text Source: Atlas of Human Anatomy: With
Written by Frank H Netter,MD. 1989.

Summary: This book is an illustrated atlas that shows detailed pictures of the bones, muscles, tissues, organs and bodily systems. Students will have a good visual to observe and learn from these graphic pictures.

Favorite Part: I really enjoyed the pictures of the heart because it was seen as a whole, in different parts, sectioned and from different angles. Everything was labeled so it’s easy to located different structures.

Connection to Instruction: This book would be good to utilize as a post reading. It could be utilized as a pre reading, but I would be afraid that students would be overwhelmed because there’s so many details involved with each picture that students may not need to know. By viewing these pictures after reading about the topic, they can better understand the structures since they already visualized where everything is and how everything functions.

Use of Literacy Strategies: Post reading and depending on the teacher could be a pre reading

Backyard Science

Posted by: Richard Gardner
Activity Book- Backyard Science
Shar Leviene and Leslie Johnstone. 2005. Backyard Science.

Summary: The book Backyard Science by Shar Leviene and Leslie Johnstone is a collection of easy to do laboratory experiments involving ecology. Each new experiment is prefaced with an introduction on the topic, and detailed descriptions and follow-up questions are presented for each experiment.
This book also outlines the materials needed for each experiment, and uses only easy to find items, such as toothpicks and string. Also, each experiment presented gives readers a chance to elaborate on what they learn by providing encouraging, guiding questions to expand upon.

Favorite Part: The best part of this book is the section on bird watching. I never pursued this hobby in my youth, but found this section of the text to be really interesting.

Connection to Instruction: The text is separated in to different sections for each different experiment. Each different experiment has a brief introduction and materials list, followed by the procedure and follow-up text. The layout is standard and easy to understand. The theme of this book is getting children to create easy, valuable laboratory experiences for themselves. Something like this would be great for getting students to design their own experiments.

Use of Literacy Strategies: A think-aloud would be useful, as it would help students monitor their thinking as they learn about the different experiments in the book. If a student was trying to learn about how to bird watch, for example, they could make a think-aloud to indicate which parts of the text are important pictures, connections, and experimental details that will help them be successful.


Posted by: Mary Vosburgh

Citation: Hiaasen, Carl (2006). Hoot. New York, NY: Random House Children's Books.
Summary: This book tells the story of how a young boy named Roy attempted to save the lives of a flock of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site. This book explores the concepts of conservation, endangered species and human's impact in ecosystems.
Favorite Part: My favorite part, which I think some kids will connect to happened in Chapter 1 when the author writes about Roy being a new kid at school and running into the school bully, Dana. I think most students have either been in this situation or have seen other people in this situation and will be able to empathize with Roy. " But on this day, a Monday (Roy would never forget), Dana Matherson grabbed Roy's head from behind and pressed his thumbs into Roy's temple, as if he were squeezing a soccer ball." (page 1)
Connection to Instruction: This links to my unit because it deals with habitat conservation and human impact on the ecoystem.
Literacy Strategy: I would use this book as a reading to be done throughout the ecology unit. The students would be assigned weekly graphic organizers to fill out. This would help them to pick out with was important and why I was having them read the book in relation to what we are learning about in class.


Posted by William Simons
Kolata, G. (2001) Flu: The story of the great influenza pandemic of 1918 and the search for the virus that caused it. Austin, Tx. Touchstone Publishing

Summary of text: This text book is follows the development of possibly the deadliest plague to ever strike the earth. Killing somewhere between 20 to 100 million people, the flu of 1918 was a mystery. The author explains the factors of how and why the virus becam so deadly and if it could strike again.

Favorite Quote: "This is a detective story. Here was a mass murderer that was around 80 years ago and whos never been brought to justice" pg. 3

Use within the classroom: This text describes how science can be used to solve and fight problems in real, everyday life. This would be an excellent book for expanding an immunological unit, especially for AP Biology.

Hurt Go Happy

Posted by: Richard Gardner

Hurt Go Happy- Young Adult Novel
Ginny Rorby. 2006. Published by Starscape.

Summary: The book Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby is about a girl, Joey Willis, who lives on a nature reservation for chimpanzees. The book largely follows her story while she lived with the chimps, and touches also on important scientific concepts that middle-schoolers may not yet have heard of (cloning, disease, bioethics, ecology, zoology, and others.)
This book was inspired by a true story, and would double as an introduction of such work to students who have not yet encountered writing that was “inspired by true events.” This book would be great to use in an English class, while the science class did a unit on rainforest ecology or zoology.

Favorite Part: My favorite part of this book is the second chapter, when Ginny starts working in-depth with the chimps. She forms bonds with several, and the author really has a way of showing how human-like the emotions of chimpanzees truly are.

Connection to Instruction: This book touches on important concepts, such as DNA sequencing and the anthropological aspects of biology. These topics are not commonly considered in middle school, and would be great to introduce into the classroom. This book speaks some on the theory of evolution, and ecology. Many of the things in this book is all of the "science stuff" that kids want to know about, and it would be a great way to get kids reading a more sophisticated type of writing.

Use of Literacy Strategies: Due to the length of this text, pre-reading, during reading, and post-reading strategies are all very important to make sure that students are not overwhelmed and also retain what they have read. For a pre-reading strategy I would recommend using an anticipation guide to help students prepare to read about many of the different topics covered in the book. For a during reading strategy I would choose a think-mark, as those work great for keeping track of your reading on a chapter-basis. For a post reading strategy I would use a treasure hunt to get the whole class together talking about the book.

The Breeds of Man

Busby, F.M. (1988) The Breeds of Man. New York: Bantam

The Breeds Of Man
The Breeds Of Man

Summary: The time is sometime soon, the search for, and attainment of the AIDS cure has brought scientists to the point of genetic engineering of humans. They are able to end the epidemic by adding a vaccine cure to the public drinking water, but they soon discover the cure boosted the woman’s immune system to where it develops a response to the blood type of the father beyond just the rh factor. Women must select different fathers for their children according to the blood type(s) of the previous. This is not a perfect system, so now a cure is sought for this infertility, and the Mark II human is created. As with what happens many times with new cures, there are side effects not seen for years. The children born are cyclical hermaphrodites, which upon attaining puberty, cycle sexes and are one month male, one month female. This follows the story of a small study of these children, and a conspiracy attempt to cover up this new breed of man.
Favorite part: While the book is fast paced, and really builds a connection with Troy Dos Caras, I really like the beginning of the book where Busby attempts to foretell the future of the AIDS cure. While some people comment on how he really missed the mark of the cure, what he hit spot on was that many of the cures the drug companies find, have devastating side effects, as well as ethical issues. There is much to discuss even before Troy and the other Mark II children are born.
Connection to Instruction: Much of this book is controversial. I would only use the beginning of the novel during the topic of human immunology. It discussed AIDS, vaccines, and research. The students would be able to read further if they chose to take the book out of a library, however it would not be assigned as there is sex, drugs, and violence.
Use of Literacy Strategies:
Concept cards

Deception Point

Posted by: Ted
Brown, D. (2001). Deception Point. New York: Pocket Books.
The book has two intersecting plots. The main plot is the adventure of Mike Tolland and Rachel Sexton as the struggle for their lives trying to solve a mystery. The secondary plot takes place in Washington, D.C. and involves the debate over the presidency. Both plots start with the discovery of what is believed to be an ancient metorite found on the Milne Ice Shelf. The book is riddled with conspiracy and murder. If you want to know more you'll have to read it.

Favorite Part:
p154 "Finally, as Ming slid downward into the icy darkness, he felt himself going unconscious. He welcomed the escape. All around him in the water Ming saw tiny glowing specks of light. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen."
From this point the plot rapidly thickens. Again you will have to read to find out how and why.

Connection to Instruction:
Besides being an excellent book, parts of it would be helpful when teaching evolution, aquatic life, comparative anatomy and many other topics.

Use of Literacy strategies:

  • Think marks
  • Jigsawing
  • Coding text
  • Socratic seminar

The Ancestor's Tale

Posted by: Jane Lungershausen
Text Source: Dawkins, Richard. (2004). The Ancestor's Tale. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.41WD8H6CQ5L._SS500_.jpg

Summary: This text, by a renowned science author, looks extensively at human evolution. Backwards. He starts the book talking about today and works his way back, reverse chronology, through the chimpanzee, the mouse, the finch, the lamprey, the grasshopper, and the mixotrich, to name a few. Each stage of evolution is represented in his book as a "tale", making it fun to read, but still very informative. The book is dense (614 pages of text) but easy to dissect and utilize different parts.

Favorite Part: Dawkins' book playfully represents Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, which I find so fun! Making the topic of evolution into a sort of story book, with each creature telling his tale, is such a great idea. This is what I love most about this book. He describes his attempt to imitate Chaucer's great book: "Following Chaucer's lead, my pilgrims, which are all the different species of living creature, will have the opportunity to tell tales along the way to their Canterbury which is the origin of life. It is these tales that form the main substance of this book." (10).

Connection to Instruction: This text is great for use during the evolution unit. Since the book is divided up into several tales, you can pick and choose what areas of the text you want to uncover. There is a tale about the Galapagos finches, which is a great one to use, since the "Beaks of Finches" lab is state mandated.

Use of Literacy Strategies: I'm using this as the text for my Pre-Reading strategy. Other possibilities include:

  • Think Aloud as a during reading strategy. There are multiple short passages in this book to choose from.
  • Concept Map as a post reading strategy to connect the different tales that are read.

What the Simpsons Can Teach Us about Physics, Robots, Life & the Universe

Posted by: Brian

Halpern, P. (2007) Whats Science Ever Done for Us? What the Simpsons Can Teach Us about Physics, Robots, Life, and the Universe. Hoboken, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Summary: The book examines the science found in episodes of The Simpsons and assesses the validity of that science. The book is divided into three sections, dealing with life science, physics, and mechanical science. The book also discusses how the science is relevant to pop culture and everyday life.

Favorite Part: Chapter six, Lisa's Recipe for Life. I think the origin of life is a big question for many students. The chapter explains the realities of the creation of life in a humorous but insightful manner. The chapter explains that life wasn't formed exactly how The Simpsons portray it, but it is close.

Connection to Instruction: Several chapters are applicable for different life science units. The physical and mechanical science chapters obviously have use in other disciplines. This book is most useful for connecting the students' every day experiences to what is being learned in the classroom.

Literacy Strategies

  • Show clips of the episode referred to in the chapter.
  • KWL for the specific topics/chapters
  • Book scavenger hunt

Life on the Edge

Posted by: Mike
Winner, Cherie, Life on the Edge, Lerne Publications Company, Minneapolis (2006)
Summary: This book discusses extreme environments and organisms that survive in these environments. It coins the term "extremophiles" to refer to those organismsthat live in these environments..
Favorite Part: page 6, "Think of a settingthat makes you mioserable, searing summer heat, icy winter wind, the stench from an industrial plant or a pile of rotting garbage. Then picture something much worse. Imagine living in a pool of boiling hot water or clingingto a snow covered rock in Antarctia.Think about being stuck in a pile of toxic sludge that could burn a hole in concrete".
Connection to Instruction: I would use these lines to engage the students about the environment. I would initiate a discussion of environmental extremes (assigning someone to take notes). I would ask the students to list qualities that extremophiles would need to survive in these environments.
Connection to Instruction:
1. I would assign groups o research differnt bacteris and make predications as to which extreme environments would be survivable.
2.A poster project would be done to shown different bacteria , their shapes and forms and what diseases they caused.

DNA Fingerprinting: The ultimate identity.

Posted by Dianna Gregg

Text Source: Fridell, Ron. (2001). DNA fingerprinting: The ultimate identity. New York, NY: Franklin Watts.

Summary: This non-fiction book starts with a chapter of background about what genetic fingerprinting is, how it works, and tells a bit about the two scientists who were central in developing the technique. It introduces Alec Jeffries, who developed the process of restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and quickly walks the reader through his work. I choose a quote that expresses one of the pivotal ideas of the book: “I pulled the X-ray film out of the developing tank and thought, ‘Oh God, what have we done here?’ Jeffreys’ minisatellite probes had located many more matches in the target DNA sample than he and his research assistants could have predicted. Instead of a few isolated images of a polymorphic DNA region, they saw long strings of images arranged in patterns. Dark bands—some thick, some thin—were stacked in patterns that looked a great deal like the bar codes found on products in the supermarkets. These patterns of bands, Jeffreys soon realized, represented something hugely important and completely unexpected.” The book also introduces Kary Mullis, who developed the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which is used to copy tiny amounts of DNA into a quantity that can be used for genetic fingerprint testing. The first chapter is fairly technical, but is also a good, clear description of the two techniques. After this first chapter, most of the book reads a bit like a script from CSI, or 48 Hours Mystery. It discusses a couple of early cases and trials in which DNA fingerprinting was used, and also a couple of sensational ones. It ends with a good description of some interesting, non-legal applications of DNA fingerprinting.

Favorite Part: The description of how Jeffries used his technique to help solve a crime involving the rape and murder of two 15 year old girls in England (his home) in 1986. A 17 year old man became the first falsely accused man to be freed as a result of DNA evidence, and the real killer was caught as part of a huge DNA manhunt. He later confessed, and received two life sentences (pp.28-35).

Connection to instruction: I would use this text as a way to generate interest in the subject of genetics, and to make that connection between classroom science and real life. After a few days of basic genetics, I think it would provide a good 7th inning stretch, and a good introduction to the topics of recombinant DNA and genetic engineering. I think the book is appealing because the topic is pretty sensational, and the phrase “DNA evidence” is so often quoted in the news, and yet many people don’t understand how it works.

Use of Literacy Strategies:
· Anticipation guide
· Video clip

Silent Spring

Carson, Rachel. (1987). Silent Spring. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Eric Olderstein
Summary: Rachel Carson examines the use of chemicals and pesticides on our environment. She describes the dangers of this use and the potentially harmful effects that it can have on the life of our planet. This was one of the first books to help launch an environmental movement in the United States.
Favorite Part: My favorite part would be the first three pages of the book. It describes the demise of a beautiful world which once existed. The reason that I enjoy this part the most is because it would be a great lead off to a unit on human impact on the environment.
Connection to Instruction: This book clearly delves into many facets of environmental damages that humans have caused the environment. This is a famous book which would be a great lead off to introducing students how humans can impact the environment.
Use of literacy strategies: This is a long book so I would probably have students read certain chapters. I could foresee the use of Jigsaw certain chapters of this book. An anticipation guide would be a useful lead into the unit and book. A think mark may be a useful post reading strategy to help students relate to what they have experienced.


Medicine: Bodies by Request

Posted by: Elyse Boress
Time Magazine; Medicine: Bodies by Request.,9171,857577,00.html

Summary: Medical schools have a shortage of cadavers coming in for students to dissect for academic purposes. There is a decrease in the number of males donated because veterans can go to governmental burials and there’s a decrease in females because woman usually make pre-arrangements for their bodies. However, if they want to make things cheaper for their family members, they can donate their bodies to science. Funerals can get extremely expensive.

Favorite Part: “Such great artists-anatomists as Da Vinci and Vesalius had to cut through layers of superstition and prejudice before they could use the dead to reveal the secrets of life.”

Connection to Instruction: This is a current event article so that students know what is going on around them. If students are interested in attending medical school or some health science field that uses cadavers for dissection, they probably have a high interest in getting their feet wet in regards to seeing the insides of a human. I know I was.
Use of Literacy Strategies:
I would use this article for current events so students know what’s happening in the world around them. They could do a KWHL where they write down first what they think they know, what we want to know adn what we have learned.

Aids Wins This Round

Park, A. (2007, Nov. 8) Aids wins this round. Time Magazine. Retrieved October 13th, 2009 from:,9171,1682280,00.html

Summary of text: This article provides a description of how recent attempts at bolstering the immune system to combat AIDS has failed again.

Favorite Part of Article: "A possible solution would be to stick with the cold virus but use different HIV genes and two injections spaced a few months apart." This is a one page article.


Use Within The Classroom: While not always content specific, magazines provide a wealth of up to date and society relevant information. Time Magazine also provides good science articles each month. This and other articles provided from other magazines in the classroom would be good for free reading time, for use as supplemental sources on writing and research, and for jumping off points into new lessons by referencing current, up to date material which is socially relevant and impactful to students lives.

Loss of Top Predators

Posted by: Mary Vosburgh
Science Daily - “Loss of Top Predators Causing Surge in Smaller Predators, Ecosystem Collapse.”
Citation: Oregon State University (2009, October 4). Loss Of Top Predators Causing Surge In Smaller Predators, Ecosystem Collapse. ScienceDaily.
This article was found on the website:
Summary: This article discusses the effects of the loss of top predators on the ecosystems in which they live. The loss of predators such as wolves, cougars, lions and sharks has caused an increase in smaller predators. This has had detrimental effects on the ecosystems. Smaller animals are now in greater danger. For example, the loss of wolves has lead to an increase in the number of coyotes in some areas. The animals that the coyotes eat are quickly diminishing because of the vast number of coyotes. Humans are playing a role in the loss of top predators by hunting, fishing and destroying natural habitats.
Favorite Part: This whole article was very informative without being overly scientific. I especially liked that the article provided links to other sources if you did not understand a term being discussed. Moreover, the article also provided related articles that could be accessed by students who were interested in this topic. The following paragraph was my favorite part because it shows that humans are to blame for some of the problems. Students need to see the connection between them and the outside world. It might make the topic more meaningful to them.
“In case after case around the world, the researchers said, primary predators such as wolves, lions or sharks have been dramatically reduced if not eliminated, usually on purpose and sometimes by forces such as habitat disruption, hunting or fishing. Many times this has been viewed positively by humans, fearful of personal attack, loss of livestock or other concerns. But the new picture that's emerging is a range of problems, including ecosystem and economic disruption that may dwarf any problems presented by the original primary predators.”
Connection to Instruction: This article would be very useful when discussing ecological problems. It could fit into the section about predator-prey relations or it could fit into the section on human impact on ecosystems.
Literacy Strategy: I would use this article with the literacy strategy Reciprocal Teaching or with Think Aloud. This article and website would be very easy to use with multiple literacy strategies.

Fuel Efficient Cow

Posted by Cynthia Mosher
Bland, E. Introducing the Fuel Efficient Cow. (May 2009) Discovery News,, retrieved June 24, 2009
Summary: This article discusses the reasoning and methods behind making cows more environmentally friendly. The author compares emissions of cows and cars to demonstrate the impact that even something as “natural” as farming can have significant impact on the environment. The article informs us that it is not the cows themselves, but the bacteria in the cow that create the methane, and controlling the bacteria is the way to reduce emissions.
Connection to Instruction: This article brings a different angle to a unit on global warming and greenhouse gases. It invites students to look at all areas of their life and how we may have unexpected impact.
Literacy Strategy:
Think Aloud
Anticipation Guide

The Darwin Revolution Turns 150

(2009, March) Discover
Summary: This issue is titled “The Darwin Revolution Turns 150.” The entire issue involves topics regarding evolution, DNA, and the human body, with other articles unrelated to evolution that are just as fascinating.
Favorite part: page 51
“For decades the consensus view-among the public, as well as the world’s preeminent biologists- has been that human evolution is over. Since modern Homo sapiens emerged 50,000 years ago, “natural selection has almost become irrelevant to us, the influential Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould proclaimed..”
Connection to instruction: This opening to the article is a great way to get a discussion going about evolution. There is the beaks of the finchs’ lab in almost every New York classroom, and this discussion can happen either before, or after, to get some real thought going among groups about whether we see evolution in action around us or whether it is something that goes unseen either due to lack of occurrence, or the length of time.
Literacy strategies:
Think aloud
Graphic organizer

Antibiotics Take Toll on Beneficial Microbes in the Gut

Posted by: Jane Lungershausen

Text Source: (2009, June). Antibiotics Take Toll on Beneficial Microbes in the Gut. Retrieved on June 21, 2009, from

Summary: This article is a fairly easy read regarding the effects of taking antibiotics. It briefly discusses beneficial bacteria that live in our intestinal tracts, and what they do. By taking a course of antibiotics, which kill both harmful and beneficial bacteria, our normal flora is disrupted and can often result in adverse side effects like diarrhea, c olitis, or the appearance of the harmful microbe, C. difficile. The article talks about research that has been done on mice with different antibiotics. It is still unclear whether certain antibiotics are better to take than others to minimize these side effects.

Favorite Part: Researchers put mice that had taken the antibiotics together in the same cage, allowing them to "socialize". These mice actually showed an increase, rather than a decrease in their normal intestinal flora. They go on to say this is likely because mice tend to eat each other's feces! It is gross, but striking, and I think students will respond to that.

Connection to Instruction: This article is pretty versatile and will fit well with a unit on microbiology, homeostasis, or digestion. It provides valid information and research but is still on a reading level suitable for most high school and maybe even middle school students.

Use of Literacy Strategies: I chose to use a Graphic Organizer with this text. It has a lot of topics you can elaborate on (Bacteria, normal microbiota, antibiotics). You can also use the following:

  • Think Aloud as a during reading strategy. There is a lot of information in this article that students will respond to.
  • RAFTS as a post-reading writing activity. There are a lot of roles and audiences that can be utilized here.

Drug Allows Cancer Suicide

Posted by: Jane Lungershausen

Text Source: Tenenbaum, David. (2007, January). Drug Allows Cancer Suicide. Retrieved June 9, 2009, from
Click HERE to read this article

Summary: This informative, colorful, easy-to-read article talks about the potential use of an oral cancer-fighting drug. It talks about the role of mitochondria in tumor formation, discussing how its malfunction actually causes cancer cells to metastasize. It provides successful evidence of the drug (DCA) used in rats with very minimal side effects, as opposed to the current use of chemotherapy for cancer treatment, which is actually toxic.

Favorite Part: (Page 2-3 of article). The evidence of the effectiveness of DCA in rats is quite astounding! After 3 weeks of treatment, rat showed a very significant decrease in the overall size of the tumors. It was shown to not only decrease the size of an already existing tumor, but slowed the growth of a tumor that was injected at the same time as the DCA. Could this indicate that it could be used preventatively?

Connection to Instruction: This is a great article to go along with a unit on Disease or more broadly, homeostasis. It provides an interesting twist for the students, because it connects to the here and now, with new and relevant research.

Use of Literacy Strategies: I'll use this for my Think Aloud as a during reading strategy. Other possibilities include:

  • Anticipation Guideline involving knowledge on cancer, as a Pre Reading activity.
  • Jigsaw after reading to have students look at the topic in more detail

Devil Toad

Posted by: Brian

Neergaard, L. (2008, February 19). 'Devil Toad' took up lots of space in dinosaur era. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, pp. 2A

Summary: The article describes fossils of a giant toad found in Madagascar. The toad was about 10lbs and had teeth. The toad's closest modern relatives, however, are found in South America, not Africa. This raises questions about the generally accepted theory of continental drift.

Favorite part: I find it interesting that the relations of the two frogs are so geographically isolated. My first instinct is not to reject the theory of continental drift, rather assume that there is another relative, undiscovered, that explains the link.

Connection to Instruction: This is an excellent authentic text for a lesson on taxonomy, and explaining how the fossil record can provide evidence for evolution.

Literacy Strategies

  • Coding text
  • think-aloud

Wardrobe of Skin Microbes

Posted by: Mike
Harder,Ben, Humans Wear Diverse "Wardrobe of Skin Microbes, Study Finds//",

Summary: This article from National Geographic discusses how our bodies are covered by numerous bacteria and how certain colonies will be present one day and if tested on another day a totally new colony will be present. Factors that affect these changes are things like weather changes, changes in life styles, using different soaps and other factors.

Favorite Part; The first sentence says "The billions of microscopic critters that cloak your skin are a bit like fashionabl threads- the ones you're wearing today may be out by next season."

Connection to Instruction: I would use this opening sentence to bring to the attention the existence of bacteria all over our bodies. I would have a discusssion with the students to see what they know about bacteria.

Use of Literacy Strategies:
-Prepare a vocabulary list with differnt bacterias listed.
- Assign students to research different bacteria and infections they may cause. Present to the class with a power point presentation

Popular Science

(2008, February). Popular Science, 272.
Posted by: Ted
Summary: This magazine gives information about cutting edge developments across the multiple science disciplines. Any issue could be used for an interesting source in any science, technology, or maybe even math classroom. You can even subscribe to their RSS from their website.

Favorite Part : Page 64 –
Article Headline: This Germ could save your life, or at least keep your teeth cavity-free. A growing chorus of medical researchers say our bacteria-killing zealotry is misguided. Instead of fighting bugs, they argue, we should train them to do our bidding and then set them loose in our bodies. - Jessica Snyder Sachs

Connection to Instruction : This would be an outstanding way to incorporate microbiology with the students' real lives. I could use it any time during a lesson on microbiology but it might be nice to start with. We may have to cover some of the vocabulary and I would encourage any students that were struggling to ask for help. I think a topic like this would definitely interest students more that the run of the mill textbook information.

Use of Literacy Strategies:
  • use a pro/con graphic organizer to discuss/debate the article
  • make a concept map before and after to see how their thoughts of bacteria have changed

Fact or Fiction?

Posted by: Ted

Boyd, R. (2008, February 7). Fact or Fiction?: People Only Use 10 Percent Of Their Brains. Scientific American. Retrieved from
Summary: This article is a daily news release from Scientific American as It is about the misconception that people only use ten percent of their brain.
Favorite Part: "If only regular folk could tap that other 90 percent they too could become savants who remember pi to the 20,000th decimal place or perharps even a psychic."
Connection to intruction: While challenging this reading is a way of seeing an electronic medium that is updated every day with a new scientific article for the layman.
Use of literacy strategies:
  • What I actual used this for what my pre-reading strategy which was an anticipation guide. I think it is particularly important with this article to activate prior knowledge.
  • My anticipation guide also included a couple pictures, one serious and one humorous.
  • Any of our during reading activities would fit well with this except maybe jigsawing if this was the only article being read.

Why Your DNA Isn't Your Destiny

Posted by: Dianna Gregg
Text Source: Cloud, John. (Jan 6, 2010). Why your DNA isn’t your destiny. Time. Retrieved on May 27, 2010, from,8599,1951968-2,00.html
Summary: This article is about epigenetics. The term refers to the DNA on top of or surrounding the genome. There is a large quantity of this material, which has sometimes been called “junk DNA”. Scientists have been aware of this epigenetic material for many years, but its role in gene regulation and expression has been poorly understood. The article used an analogy that I liked: Our genes are the hardware, and the epigenetic material is the software that operates them. The article reports some recent research, and discusses some of the implications for human health.
Favorite Part: …” researchers have begun to realize that epigenetics could also help explain certain scientific mysteries that traditional genetics never could: for instance, why one member of a pair of identical twins can develop bipolar disorder or asthma even though the other is fine. Or why autism strikes boys four times as often as girls” (p.2 of the article).
Connection to Instruction: There are several possible connections. The research indicates that our lifestyle choices and significant biological events, leave markers in our epigenome, and these markers can exist long enough to be passed on to our offspring. The article cites a study in which boys who began smoking near the age of puberty, had children who were at a significantly higher risk for several health conditions. That’s a pretty pertinent topic to discuss in high school. Also, I could use the article to spark discussion about how rapidly research in the field is progressing. The phrase “junk genes” , which shows up in Biology textbooks, actually reflects our poor understanding about how our genes function, rather than actual worthlessness of the epigenetic material. It’s exciting that this situation is changing so rapidly.
Use of Literacy Strategy:
  • Text coding
  • Think aloud
  • KWHL

Lesson Learned From the Largest Oil Spill in History

Posted by: Eric Olderstein
Tutton, Mark. (2010). Lesson Learned From the Largest Oil Spill in History. CNN. Retrieved from
Summary: This article discusses an even larger oil spill than the Gulf Coast spill which occurred in the Middle East during the Gulf War. The article compares the two spills and discusses what happened in the aftermath of the Middle East oil spill.
Favorite Part: "If you have an offshore operation you need to have a good contingency plan in case of spillage, damage, earthquake, or a problem with the pipeline.” This part hits home because it does not seem that there was any plan in place for either of these oil spills.
Connection: This would be a great current event to bring into a unit. Since this event has been talked about all over the news recently the students would be interested to discuss within the confines of the unit.
Literacy Strategies: I would like to use a think aloud for this article. I think it would aid the students understanding of the article. A KWL chart might stir some conversation about this topic because it is a current event that students have heard read about.

Other Web Resources

Anatomy Arcade

Posted by: Elyse Boress

Summary: This website gives students an opportunity to participate in video games in an educational manner. They are able to play in a fun way that teaches them about the different body systems. They can even play these games based on their type and watch videos in order to get a good understanding of the material. It's a great way for kids to get involved while learning.

Favorite Part: I really enjoyed the whack a bone game because it provided a fun way to identify bones.

Connection to Instruction: Students are actively involved in a fun way that is educationg them. Teens today love video games so this is something they should really enjoy.

Use of Literacy Strategies: You could do this as a pre-reading activity to see what your students already know and then as a post reading where students are able to review what they've learned and quiz themselves.


Web Search Engines:


This is web search engine providing science content.

Favorite part

Nearly infinite supply of scientific reading.

Use within classroom:

This would be a handy search engine to limit student searches to relevant classroom material and would provide a wealth of scientifically relevant material to augment the existing course text.

Kids Do Ecology

Posted by: Mary Vosburgh

Summary: This website is all about ecology. It is both a student and teacher friendly site. It provides good visuals for students to look at. Moreover, it provides a wide variety of activites that students can do.
Favorite part: My favorite part of this website was the section on Biomes. This site does a nice job of providing short concise descriptions of the biomes. It also includes good pictures for the students to look at.
Connection to Instruction: In the ecology unit, students have to learn about the different biomes of the world. Instead of having all of the students do research on all of the different biomes, I would divide the students into groups. Each group would use this site to learn about their biome. I would use the jigsaw literacy strategy so each student would learn about every biome.
Literacy Strategy: Jigsaw

National Geographic

Posted by:Caitlin
Summary: This website includes current issues as well as ongoing issues. You can find all sorts of information on this website such as information on the environment, animals, and space. This website includes articles, as well as video clips.

Favorite Part: I really like the "Kids" section on this website. It takes the issues that are in the news, and puts them in a way that younger kids can understand them. It includes different games that allow kids to learn while having fun! It also includes videos and stories.

Connection to Instruction: This wesite is a great way to incorporate technology into the classroom. They can use this website for interactive learning. It would be a great tool to use as somewhat of a review of a lesson.

Use of Literacy Strategies:
  • using think-marks for the readings on the website.
  • this websites also has alot of graphics which would help the students.
  • also, concept maps can be used before and after to see how much new information they have gotten from the website

Science News for Kids

Posted by: Caitlin
Summary: This website is great for kids because it talks about science issues going on in the world, but puts it in a way kids can understand and relate. It gives so many different articles on topics such as animals, computers, and dinosaurs.

Favorite Part: I really like the games on this website. Also, there is a teacher zone on the site as well, which is really helpful.

Connection to Instruction: I could use some of these "current event" articles when talking about different topics in my classroom. This way, the student can see how what they are learning relates to the outside world.

Use of literacy strategies:
  • Some artciles could be used for a jig saw activity.
  • I could also tie in pictures and anticipation guides.

The Link between Chromosomes, DNA, and Genes

Posted by: Dianna Gregg
Text Source: Brown, Erica. (March 2007). The Link between Chromosomes, DNA, and Genes. Retrieved from :
Summary: This article reviews the basic ideas of genetics at a pretty simple level. It probably represents what a 10th grade biology student should know about chromosomes, DNA, and genes BEFORE we start a unit on genetics.
Connection to Instruction: Since this piece is quick, and easy to read, I would use it to activate students’ prior knowledge as part of a pre-reading activity. It could also be used as an alternative instructional text for struggling readers.
Use of Literacy Strategies:

  • Text coding (for low readers)
  • Concept map


Posted by: Dianna Gregg
Text Source: Adams, James K., Gynandromorphs. Retrieved from on May 30, 2010.
Summary: The article explains how gynandromorphy occurs in Lepidoptera. A gynandromorph is an individual that is male in part of its body and female in the other parts. The author explains the sex chromosomes of moths and butterflies and talks about some ways in which their zygotes’ development differs from that of humans. He explains how the non-disjunction of the two sister X-chromatids prior to the very first mitotic cell division, during the development of the Lepidopteron, results in an individual which is gynandromorphic.
Favorite Part: The very first sentences are my favorites: “The term gynandromorph literally means part female (gyn-) and part male (andro-). You might ask how such a thing can happen, well, here’s the answer.” I think there is a sense of mystery and discovery at the start that draws the reader in.
Connection to Instruction: Even though we teach the topics of genetics, embryological development, and mitosis as separate units, they are all intimately intertwined. I think this article really shows that connectedness. A few days into a genetics unit, I would use this article to emphasize the bigger picture. It is written at an appropriate level of complexity to fit in with the genetics unit. It also links a vivid image to concepts that many students probably struggle to visualize.
Use of Literacy Strategies:
· Pre-reading photographic introduction
· Think-aloud

Posted by: Dianna Gregg
Summary: This is an educational website devoted to various aspects of genetics has a lot to offer both teachers and students. In addition to articles that could serve as perfectly acceptable alternatives to certain textbook sections, there are animations, videos, their own YouTube channel, and a couple of CSI style interactive games for students to solve, using DNA and fingerprint evidence. They can upload their solution and participate in a weekly prize drawing.
Favorite Part: A list of reviewed links that contains some wonderful teaching resources.
Connection to Instruction: Well-written, clear articles could be used an alternatives to the text book in some cases. Some articles are written at a more basic level, and others at a more sophisticated level than the typical biology text book, and could be used in discussion groups to engage students of differing reading abilities. Videos and animations could be used to teach or reinforce content while giving students a break from “talk and chalk”.
Use of Literacy Strategies:

  • Jigsaw
  • KWHL
  • Video clips used for pre-reading pieces

Environmental Research Web

Eric Olderstein
Summary: A great resource for current information about various environmental topics.
Favorite Part: The website offers so many different ways of viewing the topic from personal post to research papers to news.
Connection: For a unit on human impact this website would provide scientific background on the subject. This site may be very intensive so picking out certain parts for use in the classroom would have to be done.
Literacy Strategy: With this website I think that it would be useful to use a scavenger hunt or a search-o-rama. These would provide students with a way to get acquainted with the website.