Reviewed by Jacqueline Pfeiffer
3rd Grade Teacher
The title of this book says it all! This should be a required book for all elementary teachers to use in their science classes. With pressure from all sides not only to teach more reading and math but also to include more science, Picture Perfect Science is the answer. Using picture books that inspire wonder and curiosity in children, it's easy for teachers to integrate the teaching of literacy and science. Children are motivated both to read and “do” science. The first five chapters build background knowledge for novice and experienced teachers. They explain why picture books are great for science, reading aloud (with 10 great tips on how to do so), teaching science through inquiry, the Biological Science Curriculum Study (BSCS) 5 E’s instructional model, and the National Science Education Standards.
Both fiction and informational picture books from a variety of genres are included. There is a note about anthropomorphism, a common perspective in books for young readers that has been controversial in science. The authors cite research that supports using picture books to provide context for concepts, nurture improved reading and science skills, provide more depth of coverage, and introduce opportunities to correct science misconceptions. Using the BSCS 5 E's instructional model they encourage children to become actively involved in their learning.
Each of the 20 lessons is outlined similarly. Books are described, and the lesson objectives and the National Science Education Standards are addressed. The authors include the time needed for the lessons, materials required, background for the teacher, the 5 E’s as applicable to each lesson, an "inquiry place," more books to read and references, and activity pages—both practice and quiz. Safety boxes include specific rules for kids, and scoring rubrics are listed. Instead of the old K-W-L method, the authors have chosen O-W-L: observations, wonderings, and learnings. This unique approach entices children to participate. Each lesson provides everything needed to create dynamic science classes.
It's very evident that this book was written by teachers, as they include just about everything to make even the most reluctant science teacher feel confident about leading these guided inquiry lessons. Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan have again created a super science book for inquiry that will help all teachers feel confident in their teaching. I highly recommend this book; it will quickly become dog-eared and well-used.
Review posted on 7/20/2010