The Greatest Science Stories Never Told: 100 tales of Invention and Discovery to Astonish, Bewilder, & Stupify

The Greatest Science Stories Never Told: 100 tales of Invention and Discovery to Astonish, Bewilder, & Stupify

By Rick Beyer

9780061686968

Beyer, R. 2009. The greatest science stories never told: 100 tales of invention and discovery to astonish, bewilder, and stupefy. NY: HarperCollins.

Summary

Brought to us by the network that continually surprises us with history facts comes a book that reveals many facts about science (invention, anatomy, space, electricity, etc.) that are surprising. The book is organized by year, from 265 BC to 2004, with each fact written as a small narrative illustrated by related photographs and drawings.

Quantitative Summary:

Readability Formula        Grade

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level          5.2

Gunning-Fog Score         8.8

Coleman-Liau Index        11.1

SMOG Index      6.4

Automated Readability Index     4.6

Average Grade Level      7.2

(http://readability-score.com)

Qualitative Summary:

This is one of those books that inspires further research through brief encounters with very interesting non-fictional narratives. It spans the STEM discipline, with stories focusing heavily on inventors and inventing (Motorola music, telephones, vacuums to name a few), naturalists, anatomy, and outer space.  It gives just enough information on each fact to inspire interest, but not enough to serve as a definitive reference source. The chronology is straightforward, with years written at the tops of the pages and going forward in time. There is no singular character to this book to follow, and the knowledge requirement is rather

Curriculum Ties

Great jump off points for high school papers on inventors and inventions.

Standards

MD CCSS

State Curriculum

Technology Ed 9-12

Indicator Statement:

Develop an understanding of the role of society in the development and use of technology. (ITEA, STL 6)

7

Objective(s):

Explain that throughout history, new technologies have resulted from the demands, values, and interests of individuals, businesses, and societies. (ITEA, STL 6-D)

Explain that the use of inventions and innovations has led to changes in society and the creation of new needs and wants. (ITEA, STL 6-E)

Explain that social and cultural priorities and values are reflected in technological devices. (ITEA, STL 6-F)

Explain that meeting societal expectations is the driving fore behind the acceptance and use of products and systems. (ITEA, STL 6-G)

Explain that social and cultural priorities and values are reflected in technological devices.

Identify historical examples of human innovation in the areas of food production, clothing, and self-defense.

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Bow Wow Meow Meow: It’s Rhyming Cats and Dogs

bow wow meow meow

Bibliographic info

Florian, D. 2003.  Bow wow meow meow: It’s rhyming cats and dogs. NY: Harcourt Books.

Plot Description

These colorful poems introduce young readers to a wide variety of dog and cat breeds through rhyming poetry.

Quantitative Reading Level

Grade Level: 2.9

ATOS Book Level: 2.4

Interest Level: Lower Grades (LG K-3)

Qualitative Reading Analysis

Content Area

  • English/Language Arts

Content Area Standard

RL4 CCR Anchor Standard
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone

RL5 CCR Anchor Standard
Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

RL10 CCR Anchor Standard
Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Curriculum Suggestions

Learning about poetic structure as well as animals through these poems. Learning onomatopoeia concepts through the poems in this book. Using these poems as a starting point for students to write their own poems about animals in their lives.

Links to Digital Content


Awards

  • Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award


Hanukkah at Valley Forge

Hanukkah at Valley Forge

Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Greg Harlin

9780525477381

Krensky, S. 2006. Hanukkah at Valley Forge. NY: Penguin.

Summary

On a cold winter night General Washington surveyed his troops, worrying about the state of his men in the war. As he wandered about the camp, he found a young soldier huddled over a flame in a hut, whispering words he didn’t understand. The soldier was startled by him, but explained what he was doing. In his homeland of Poland he would have to hide what he was doing, but he was celebrating the first day of Hanukkah.

The soldier told General Washington the story of Hanukkah, the battles that the Israelites won, and how they survived eight days on only enough oil for one day of light. Washington was touched by this story and the miracles that came to a people who needed it. The story of Hanukkah brightened Washington’s spirit that evening.

Quantitative Summary:

ATOS Book Level:             4.0

Interest Level:   Lower Grades (LG K-3)

Qualitative Summary:

This picture book focuses on a story that is based on true historical events: George Washington did mention to a Jewish merchant who he had lunch with that he had learned the story of Hanukkah from a soldier at Valley Forge. This story imagines the dialogue of George Washington based on some of his writings, and it fictionalizes the scenario of his learning the story of Hanukkah to fit in with the narrative of the war and how it may have affected him.

The narrative structure of the book is of Middle low complexity; it features a significant flashback, telling the story of the Maccabees and interspersing Washington and the soldier’s dialogue. The book distinguishes between these narratives by background colors of the pages, blue for the current time, and orange for the time of the Maccabees. The pages have a few paragraphs of text each, and may be best as a adult-guided reading book.

Curriculum Ties

This is a great way to tie holidays into history curriculum. It’s also a good look at the history of Judaism in the scheme of world religions.

Standards

English/Language Arts

1.0   General Reading Processes: Comprehension: Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).

Comprehension

1. Develop comprehension skills through exposure to a variety of print and nonprint texts, including traditional print and electronic texts

a. Listen to critically, read, and discuss texts representing diversity in content, culture, authorship, and perspective, including areas such as race, gender, disability, religion, and socioeconomic background

b. *Read a minimum of 25 self-selected and/or assigned books or book equivalents representing various genres

c. Discuss reactions to and ideas/information gained from reading experiences with adults and peers in both formal and informal situations

3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text: Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary text.

 

 

Author website: http://www.stephenkrensky.com/

ABC Animals

ABC Animals

American Museum of Natural History

9781454903864

American Museum of Natural History. 2013. ABC animals. CA: Sterling Publishing

Summary

This book will help you learn the alphabet with fun facts about an animal for every letter. From the long, sticky tongued Armadillo to the plant-eating Zebras, this book is an informative and brightly colored reference on many of your favorite animals.

Quantitative Summary:

Readability Formula        Grade

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level          5

Gunning-Fog Score         5.8

Coleman-Liau Index        12.3

SMOG Index      6

Automated Readability Index     5.6

Average Grade Level      6.9

Qualitative Summary:

This is a board book picture book that features 26 animals, one for each letter of the alphabet. The readability score ranks the animal facts at being on a 6th grade level, therefore it may be an adult-guided book for younger students. Each page features three different animals, with brightly colored backgrounds and colorful photographs of the animals. While there are many generally known animals such as the lion and the giraffe, there are also more obscure animals featured such as the Hoopoe bird and the Okapi, a close relative to the giraffe.

Curriculum Ties

This is a preschool to early-elementary level science book in that it can help acquaint children with animals. Children can use this book to connect pictures to names, letters to sounds and animals, as well as simple facts about each animal.

Standards

MD CCSS

Kindergarten

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

INDICATOR
1. Develop and apply comprehension skills by reading and analyzing a variety of self-selected and assigned literary texts including print and non-print

INDICATOR
2. Analyze text features to facilitate understanding of literary texts

INDICATOR
3. Analyze elements of narrative texts to facilitate understanding and interpretation

Science

TOPIC
D.
INDICATOR
1. Recognize that living things are found almost everywhere in the world and that there are somewhat different kinds of living things in different places.

OBJECTIVES
Observe, describe, and give examples and describe the many kinds of living things found in different places in Maryland.

Using pictures, films and illustrated texts identify, describe and compare living things found in other states such as Texas and Alaska to those found in Maryland.

Explain that the external features of plants and animals affect how well they thrive in different kinds of places.

Author website: http://www.amnh.comm

Ten, Nine, Eight

Ten, Nine, Eight

Molly Bang

9780688009069

Bang, M. 1983. Ten, nine, eight. NY: Greenwillow Books.

Summary

This is a beautifully illustrated lullaby that counts down from ten washed toes, all the way down to one girl who is ready to be put to bed by her family.

Quantitative Summary:

Readability Formula        Grade

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level          0.8

Gunning-Fog Score         3.2

Coleman-Liau Index        5.5

SMOG Index      1.8

Automated Readability Index     -0.4

Average Grade Level      2.2

(http://www.readability-score.com/)

Qualitative Summary:

This is a very simple read that promotes basic counting skills, which are the foundation of young math skills. Each page deals with a descending number as a young girl is prepared for bed. The numbers discussed can be found in the illustrations, allowing for children to count aloud and make connections. One sentence per page makes it a simple read, and it is written as though it would be a read-aloud book. It has a simple chronology and its language is low complexity.

Curriculum Ties

This book would be a great count-along book, and a great pre-cursor book to nap-time. It also features a family, and could be used in units on family and family “rituals.”

Standards

MD CCSS

TOPIC
E.
Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).

INDICATOR

1. Demonstrate an understanding of concepts of print to determine how print is organized and read

OBJECTIVES
Understand that speech can be written and read

Read a minimum of 15 books, both literary and informational

Identify title, cover page, front and back of book, table of contents, page numbers, and describe what information is presented on the title and cover pages

Track print from left to right and top to bottom

Make return sweep to next line of text

Match oral words to printed words

Differentiate numerals, letters and words

Recognize that printed words are separated by spaces

Recognize that letters build words and words build sentences

 

Standard 1.0 Knowledge of Algebra, Patterns, and Functions
TOPIC
A.
INDICATOR
1. Identify and copy numeric patterns

Author website: http://www.mollybang.com/Pages/biodetail.html

Awards:

  • Caldecott Honor Book

Guardian

Guardian

Julius Lester

Lester, J. 2008. Guardian. NY: HarperCollins.

9780061558900

Summary

It is 1946 in Davis, Georgia, and it is a time of hatred. Rampant is the racism that is known of the old South, where “negroes” are treated as third-class citizens. 14-year old Ansel witnesses a murder, but the perpetrator is the white son of the richest man in town, Zeph Davis. Zeph blames Ansel’s best friend’s father, a negro, Big Willie, and Ansel doesn’t defend him. This haunts Ansel, and changes everything in his town, from his family to his friends. After the lynching of Big Willie, nothing will ever be the same.

Quantitative Summary:

Lexile: 870L

ATOS Book Level: 5.2

Interest Level:   UG (9-12)

Qualitative Summary:

This book is a short read, and very powerful in its portrayal of hatred and racism. I think in terms of narrative complexity it is a middle-high because the point of view can change between first person and third-omniscient, and studies many characters. The meaning seemed to be middle low – a single level of complex meaning ( a historical look at racism). The language was brutal at times and meant for a high school audience and above.

Curriculum Ties

This book would be great in a US History class when dealing with Civil Rights and historical accounts of racism. I think it would be a good contemporary companion to a book like To Kill a Mockingbird, especially as the main character could be more relatable to a teenager.

Standards

MD CCSS

US History 9-12

INDICATOR

  • 4. Analyze the major developments, controversies and consequences of the civil rights movements from 1968 to 1980 (5.5.4).

English 9-12

Objective 1.2.1: The student will determine the contributions of literary elements in classical and contemporary literary texts. ECLG 1.2.1, ADP H
Grades 9 and 10
The student will
 Determine the significance of the following as each contributes to the meaning of a text: 
o plot sequence of events (including foreshadowing and flashback), cause-and-effect relationships, and events 
that are exposition, climax or turning point, resolution* ECLG 1.2.1, ADP H4
o characters’ defining traits, motivations, and developments throughout the text* ECLG 1.2.1, ADP H4
o details that provide clues to the setting, the mood created by the setting, and the role the setting plays in the text* ECLG 1.2.1
o conflicts that motivate characters and those that serve to advance the plot* ECLG 1.2.1
o the perspective of the author or speaker as well as the effects of first or third person narration and multiple narrators within and across text(s)* ECLG 1.2.1
o narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, asides, soliloquies, and character foils ADP H4 o various literary devices, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism
 Identify the specific structural elements of particular literary forms (e.g., short story, novel, drama, poetry, essay, biography, autobiography, journalistic writing, film) ECLG 1.1.5, ADP H3 
Grades 11 and 12
The student will
 Analyze characters’ motivations, actions, and development as they relate to the experiences, emotions, moral dilemmas and ambiguities in a work of literature ADP H8 
 Analyze how voice, persona, and the choice of narrator affect the characterization, mood, tone, plot and credibility of a text 
 Analyze the contribution of dramatic monologue, chorus, asides, soliloquies, and character foils to the development of character, plot, and theme ADP H6 

 Analyze the characteristics of particular literary subgenres (e.g., satire, farce, parody, allegory, pastoral, epic, elegy, ode) as they relate to theme and purpose ADP H3

Author website: http://members.authorsguild.net/juliuslester/

Notable distinctions:

  • National Book Award Finalist
  • Coretta Scott King Award
  • Newbery Honor Author

Classic/Contemporary Pairing: Catcher in the Rye and Perks of Being a Wallflower

This post will compile information on both titles first, and then discuss them as a pairing.
9780316769174Bibliographic info

Salinger, J. D. 1951. The catcher in the rye. NY: Penguin Books.

Plot Description

Quantitative Reading Level

Grade Level: 2.9

ATOS Book Level: 4.7

Interest Level: Upper Grades 9-12

Qualitative Summary

This book is either loved or reviled by teens for its vivid main character. Holden has a bitter, jaded view of the world and the book is his internal monologue. The use of colloquialisms and conversational tone can make the structure hard to follow at times.

Content Area

  • English/Language Arts

Content Area Standard

MD CCSS

English 9-12

EXPECTATION 1.3

The student will explain and give evidence to support perceptions about print and non-print works.

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.1 The student will explain how language and textual devices create meaning.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.2 The student will interpret a work by using a critical approach (e.g., reader response, historical, cultural, biographical, structural) that is supported with textual references.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.3 The student will identify features of language that create tone and voice.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.4 The student will explain how devices such as staging, lighting, blocking, special effects, graphics, language, and other techniques unique to a non-print medium are used to create meaning and evoke response.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.5 The student will explain how common and universal experiences serve as the source of literary themes that cross time and cultures.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.6 The student will assess the literary merit of a text.

Curriculum Suggestions

Can be integrated into curriculum as a coming of age narrative, exploring the difficulties of growing up.


Perksofbeingwallflower1

Bibliographic info

Chbosky, S. 1999. The perks of being a wallflower. NY: MTV Books.

Plot Description

Quantitative Reading Level

Grade Level: 6.1

ATOS Book Level: 4.8

Interest Level: Upper Grades 9-12

Qualitative Reading Analysis

Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the most popular books at the private high school where I work. It is written in a series of letters, and the chronology is not always clear. There is one main character whose private thoughts we are privy to. The text can be complex at times, dealing with abstract and poetic language.

Content Area

  • English/Language Arts

Content Area Standard

EXPECTATION 1.3

The student will explain and give evidence to support perceptions about print and non-print works.

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.1 The student will explain how language and textual devices create meaning.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.2 The student will interpret a work by using a critical approach (e.g., reader response, historical, cultural, biographical, structural) that is supported with textual references.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.3 The student will identify features of language that create tone and voice.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.4 The student will explain how devices such as staging, lighting, blocking, special effects, graphics, language, and other techniques unique to a non-print medium are used to create meaning and evoke response.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.5 The student will explain how common and universal experiences serve as the source of literary themes that cross time and cultures.

 

INDICATOR

 

  • 1.3.6 The student will assess the literary merit of a text.

Curriculum Suggestions

Can be discussed for the literary merit, compared to other coming of age narratives. The character of Charlie has been dissected as possibly being depicted as a person on the autism scale; his characterization can be looked at, as well as compared to other characters with unique perspectives on life.

 

Comparison

These two books are often compared, as both focus their narrative on the stream-of-consciousness musings and growing pains of an emotional teen male protagonist. Both protagonists feel alienated from society in different ways, and both struggle to accept themselves. There are differences in the narratives as well; Charlie is just starting high school while Holden is being kicked out, Charlie addresses the reader through letters to an anonymous friend, while Holden tells his story through internal monologue.