Monday, September 13, 2010

No bones about it

Just having been to the fantastic exhibition, Body Worlds here in Calgary, a recent book to arrive at the Doucette Library, Bones by Steve Jenkins all but leaped off the shelf.  Besides, I love Steve Jenkins’ books and this is no exception.

Well, with a title like Bones what could you expect, except a book about bones?  Human bones, and animal bones, big and small, from all parts of the body are included here. Besides the informative illustrations, there are plenty of interesting facts and tidbits, especially at the back, about bones, bones and more bones. But let’s get back to the illustrations.

Though I particularly loved how the author shows the actual size of some bones, I thought those shown to scale would have even more application in the classroom.  For example, we see skulls for humans and mouse lemurs – both in actual size, side-by-side to illustrate the differences in sizes. A fold-out page then compares the human skull to several animals, again in real-life size, from a tree shrew, a parrot, a dog to a babirusa (wild pig).  But what to do with the big bones of an elephant or even a T Rex?  In the case of the T-Rex we see the leg/foot in relation to that of a human, both scaled to one-fifth their actual sizes.  Comparing elephants and storks? Shrink them to 1/16 their actual size. Very effective.

Just as with the author’s book Actual size, connecting math (scale, measurements) to science (both biology and physics) and health becomes very easy.

All of a sudden I’m seeing a wonderful cross-curricular unit using bones connecting math, science, health, art, history, social studies, and language arts.

There are tons of science books about forensics (Bone detective (363.25092 HOB 2005))
or fossils (Dinosaurs!: battle of the bones (567.9 SiD 2009) or Bones rock!: everything you need to know to become a paleontologist (560 LaB 2004))
or technology (Traditional Inuit way kit (970.0049712 TR A/V))
or art (Georgia’s bones (759.13 BrG 2005 PIC BK); Stones, bones and stitches: storytelling through Inuit art (709.7 FaS 2007))
or math (Your 206 bones, 32 teeth and other body math (612 OsY 2006))
or social studies (Day of the dead (394.264 HOD 1994))
or history (Smiler’s bones (823 L56S FIC))
or language arts (loads of pictures books with skeletons in them; Skeleton man (823 B83S FIC) a short, creepy novel)

For science, here are a few hands-on kits found in the Doucette Library that are just too cool not to include:
Human x-ray print set (611 Hu 1991 A/V)
Broken bones x-rays (617.15 Br 2007 A/V)
Animal x-rays (571.3 An 2004 A/V)
What’s inside animals (uncatalogued)
Coyote skull replica (599.7725 Co 2008 A/V)
Beaver skull replica (599.37 Am 2008 A/V)
Bat skeleton (599.4 Ba 2009 A/V)

If those without access to the Doucette Library would like more information about the kits, drop me a line and I’ll be more than willing to let you know what they are and where we get them.


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