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EARTH DAY 4/22: Resources for Special Days by Becky Rupp

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Resources for Special Days by Becky Rupp



EARTH DAY - April 22, 2010

BONUS COMING TOMORROW! In time for you to prepare for Earth Day, “Water for Fantasy Lovers,” terrific books for kids of all ages! The world may be running out of good water, but Becky and Parent at the Helm aren’t running out of great materials to learn all about it. Have a wonderful learning time!!


Earth Day is coming up on April 22 – and what a great time to learn all about the Earth’s invaluable water. And best of all, with the weather warming up, you can splash it all around outdoors.

There are, of course, zillions of water resources (876 million hits when you search “water” on Google), but here are a few plums.

Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS)

From UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, these comprehensive hands-on activity guides include background information, materials lists, complete instructions, and literature connections. Many have water themes, among them Aquatic Habitats (grades 2-6), Involving Dissolving (grades 1-3), and Liquid Explorations (grades 1-3).

TOPS Learning Systems

These themed lesson collections teach hands-on science using very simple things, very creatively. (For example, they’ll show you how to build a wonderful little pan balance using a soup can, a clothespin, and a couple of paper clips.) Each lesson set includes detailed background info, step-by-step illustrated instructions, and data sheets for kids. Check out Diving into Pressure and Buoyancy, Floating and Sinking, and Solutions.

Ground Water Adventurers

Experiments and activities for grades K-3, 4-8, and 9-12. For example, kids make a model of the water cycle in a plastic bag and find out how an aquifer is like an ice cream soda,

USGS Water Science for Schools

Nicely presented scientific information on a range of water-related topics, with quizzes, questionnaires, and challenge questions.

Drinking Water and Ground Water: Kid’s Stuff

Printable games, activities, and worksheets, categorized by grade (K-3, 4-8, 9-12). Early-elementary kids learn all about the water cycle and the purification of drinking water with the help of Thirstin, a cartoon glass of water in a baseball cap.
For more water-related activities and info, see Water Science and Technology for Students and Educators.

Water Cycle Adventure

This is a Reader’s Theatre script for a short play on the water cycle. As written, it has 19 characters (among them Ocean Water Drops 1 and 2, Water Vapors 1 and 2, and Cloud), but if you don’t happen to have 19 children, it’s easy to combine parts.


In Barbara Kerley’s A Cool Drink of Water (National Geographic, 2002) wonderful color photographs show water-drinkers from all over the world, from a camper at a mountain stream in North America to a woman carrying water jars in India. Ages 3-7.

Robert E. Wells’s Did a Dinosaur Drink This Water? (Albert Whitman & Company, 2006) is clever cartoon-illustrated introduction to the three states of water, the water cycle, water uses, and the need for water conservation. Ages 4-8.

Franklyn M. Branley’s Down Comes the Rain (HarperCollins, 1997) in the popular “Let’s Read and Find Out” science series, is a reader-friendly explanation of the water cycle. Included are instructions for some simple activities. Ages 4-8.

Barbara Shaw McKinney’s A Drop Around the World (Dawn Publications, 1998) shows how water connects us all. A fascinating round-the-world journey in rhyme traces the path of a single raindrop through waterways, plants, animals, and people. Ages 5-11.

Walter Wick’s A Drop of Water (Scholastic, 1997) is a marvelous account of the many aspects of water, illustrated with superb photographs: a close-up of a splash, a magnified snowflake, dew on a spiderweb. (Did you know that even the tiniest water droplet contains three trillion water molecules?) Ages 7-12.

By Arthur Dorros, Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean (HarperCollins, 1993), another of the “Let’s Read and Find Out” science series, is an excellent introduction to water in the environment. Kids find out where water comes from and where it goes, how it shapes the earth, and why it is so important in our lives. Ages 5-9.

In Debra Fraser’s The Incredible Water Show (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2003), six motivated fifth-graders decided to turn their science-fair water project into a backyard play. It’s a catchy introduction to the chemical make-up of water, its abundance on earth, the way in which water shapes land, the water cycle, and the dangers of water pollution. (It might even inspire readers to invent science plays of their own.) Ages 6-10.

Subtitled “Science Projects You Can Sink, Squirt, Splash, and Sail,” Just Add Water from the editors of the New Book of Popular Science (Children’s Press, 2007) is a short simple collection of interesting water-based experiments. For example, kids learn the difference between “hard” and “soft” water, find out what keeps boats floating and prevents fish from sinking, make a model of the water cycle, build a hair hygrometer, and discover how stalactites and stalagmites are made. Ages 7-11.

Donald Silver’s beautifully illustrated Pond (McGraw-Hill, 1997), one of the “One Small Square” series, shows readers what might be found above, around, in, and under one small square of pond. With a wealth of beautifully presented scientific detail, the book encourages kids to observe their own squares of pond and record discoveries in their own nature journals. Ages 8-11.

Lynne Cherry’s A River Ran Wild (Sandpiper, 2002) is a picture-book tale of environmental disaster and recovery centered around New England’s Nashua River. The book traces the river’s history from the days before the arrival of the European settlers through the Industrial Revolution to the present day, and the battle to save the river and return it to the clean beautiful place it once was. Ages 6-9.

Neil Waldman’s The Snowflake: A Water Cycle Story (Millbrook Press, 2003) traces a single drop of water through the seasons of the year, with a double-page spread for each month. The story begins in January, when on a moonless night, a tiny snowflake falls from a great gray cloud and comes to rest on a mountain top. Ages 5-9.

In Vera B. Williams’s Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe (Greenwillow Books, 1984}, two moms, two kids, and a red canoe set off on a three-day river trip, complete with storms, fish, morning mist, and a splashy spill. For ages 5-9.

Diane Swanson’s The Wonder in Water (Annick Press, 2005) is a 48-page overview of raindrops, puddles, marshes, lakes, rivers, and seas, as well as the water in our own bodies – a newborn baby is nine-tenths water. Included is a wealth of fascinating water-based facts about everything from duckweed to hippopotami. Ages 7-11.

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