Monday, November 15, 2010

Gross or Engrossing

I was recently helping one of our undergraduate students pull resources for a unit about the nutrient cycle.  My first thought, “Oh boy! How are we going to make that interesting?”  I knew the library didn’t have anything new about this topic specifically.


 Sometimes, I jump a little too quickly to the wrong conclusion.  As it turns out, the unit was a hit with her grade 6 students.  She taught the cycle showing the interconnectedness of the individual components (water, air, decomposition, plant growth, minerals, etc.), reinforcing the concept with a game that emphasized this never-ending cycle.  To emphasize the importance of decomposition, the unit was wrapped up with the book, What rot! : nature’s mighty recycler by Elizabeth Ring (571.939 RiW 1996), read aloud to the class to spark questions and discussion. This fairly short book, besides describing the process of decomposition, includes lots of great photographs with close-ups of worms, insects, and bacteria breaking down organic matter. A little ‘gross’ (according to a couple of the grade 6 students), but fascinating at the same time. 

I love that the student-teacher used a non-fiction book as a read-aloud to grade 6 kids.  I love that the gross bits of the book worked at succeeded in getting the kids talking.

Next, I’ll keep my eyes open for newer resources about the nutrient cycle.  Any recommendations?
Join Nonfiction Monday Roundup at In Need of Chocolate to see a list of recent blogs dedicated to highlighting nonfiction resources.


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