By Claire Reinburg
Posted on 2020-04-09
This month, we mark both Earth Day and Arbor Day, occasions to showcase science and where curiosity and questions can lead us. This piece focuses on Earth and environmental lessons and readings that are appropriate for home or distance learning. It also includes free downloads, links to author-led read alouds, and information on what NSTA Press has done to make online teaching a little easier during these challenging times.
April 22 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which highlights the environment and issues that affect the planet. You can use the occasion to encourage children to explore nature outside their door or in any green space, while practicing appropriate social distancing. Download the lesson “Color Walk” from A Head Start on Science, Second Edition: Encouraging a Sense of Wonder, and take a stroll to look for objects in the environment that are a particular color. Green is chosen in this lesson, but other colors may also work well, depending on the season and your location. Your young explorers can take pictures or draw the objects they see in the designated color. Or check out NSTA’s new Daily Do’s for lesson ideas for home or distance learning, including Christine Royce’s “What Can I Observe in the Outdoors?” and Page Keeley’s “Why Is My Shadow Always Changing?”
“Leaf” it to NSTA Press authors to provide both children’s books and lessons about trees and the important role they play in the environment. Larry Lowery’s NSTA Kids book Our Very Own Tree: I Wonder Why tells the story of what happens when two friends take an interest in an oak tree and begin to notice more about the world around them, such as the seasons changing and squirrels making homes. Download a sample of this book to see inside. Or download an excerpt from Emily Morgan’s Next Time You See a Maple Seed to take a closer look at those ubiquitous seeds that will soon flutter down from trees in some areas. You can explore trees in depth with children through the lesson “Be a Friend to Trees,” from Emily Morgan and Karen Ansberry’s More Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry, K–4. In this lesson, learners explore a variety of products made from trees; the importance of trees as sources of food, shelter, and oxygen for people and animals; and ways to conserve trees.
NSTA Press is committed to supporting teachers and students to help keep the science learning going from home and online. We are granting a temporary license through June 30, 2020, to educators and librarians who would like to use our NSTA Kids books to support their students via distance learning and remote access. Thank you for all you are doing to help young scientists as they continue their learning. If you post on social media about your reading or activities, be sure to tag us @NSTA so we can share the excitement. Also be sure to check out Emily Morgan’s videos of read alouds of Next Time You See a Cloud and Next Time You See the Moon.
Between now and April 30, 2020, receive free shipping on orders of $75 or more of NSTA Press and NSTA Kids books or e-books by entering promo code BOOK20 at checkout in the online Science Store. Browse the newest books and bestsellers in our NSTA Recommends Spring 2020 catalog.