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1 How to use living books and nature study to teach science I. What is a living book? A. Here is my definition of a living book 1. A living book is a book that engages the reader and draws them into learning more about a certain subject. These books are typically narrative in style and written by an authority on the subject. B. Key components of a living book 1. Written by someone with a passion for the material or by someone who has experienced the story first hand. 2. The author pulls the reader into the story 3. The writer presents the scientific or historical facts in such a way that the student hardly realizes they are learning. C. Living books for science 1. Choose books that will engage the students (i.e. ones that are interesting, exciting, and/or visually-appealing) 2. Choose books that are educational sound (i.e. the facts included are accurate and relevant.) II. How to Use Living Books A. Living books as supplements or spines 1. Supplements If you already have a science curriculum that you love, you can add in living books to reinforce or spice up what the students are learning. ÍContinue Í with your curriculum as planned. ÍSet Í aside one day each week for living books relating to the subject. ÍThe Í students benefit from the added exposure to the material. How to use living books and nature study to teach science - Presented by Paige Hudson of Elemental Science 1

2 2. Spines Another possibility for integrating living books is to use them as spines. ÍThe Í living book will be the outline for your studies ÍThe Í main source of information will come from the living book. ÍIn Í the early years, you can use living books exclusively to introduce your students to the world of science. ÍAs Í the students get older, you need to add in scientific demonstrations, experiments, or observations to enhance what they are learning through the living book spine. B. Read more about living books 1. What is a living book? Are Living Books Superior Living Books for Science How to use Living Books with Elementary Students How to use Living Books with Middle School Students - III. What is nature study? A. Nature study is a style of science education that seeks to find the principles of science in nature. B. Nature study awakens the scientific side of the brain the way a good book can awaken the imagination. Nature study cultivates the child s imagination there are so many wonderful and true stories that he may read with his own eyes, which affect his imagination as much as does fairy lore, at the same time nature study cultivates in him a perception and a regard for what is true, and the power to express it Nature study gives the child practical and helpful knowledge. It makes him familiar with nature s ways and forces, so that he is not so helpless in the presence of natural misfortune and disasters. pg. 1 Handbook of Nature Study C. Nature study teaches the student to slow down and really look at their environment. D. Nature study can be used as the core of your curriculum or as the icing on the cake. How to use living books and nature study to teach science - Presented by Paige Hudson of Elemental Science 2

3 1. The Core ÍA Í good nature study curriculum should include outdoor study time, notebooking, and reading from either living books or encyclopedias. ÍChoose Í a topic, find it in nature, record your observations, and then learn more indoors. 2. The Icing ÍNature Í study can be a natural extension of your everyday life. ÍChoose Í a day to look for the principles you are studying in the nature around you. IV. How to do nature study A. The Nature Walk 1. Nature study begins with the nature walk. 2. This is a time set aside to go out and explore the world around you a walk with a purpose. 3. Take time to point out the focus of your nature study. 4. Allow your student to ask any questions they have and provide them with any important information. 5. You can have your student collect samples. B. The Nature Journal 1. You can pick a spot along your journey to sit down and write about your experience. 2. Or you can wait until you get home to add an entry to their nature journal. 3. The nature journal should be a personal record of what the student has learned. 4. I also recommend that every student records at least one scientific fact about the subject being studied and the date with each entry. C. Impromptu nature study How to use living books and nature study to teach science - Presented by Paige Hudson of Elemental Science 3

4 1. This type of nature study is all about taking advantage of the opportunities to study science outdoors as they present themselves. D. Resources for Nature Study 1. What is Nature Study? Where does Nature Study fit in? Impromptu Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study - V. Using living books and nature study to teach science. A. Younger students 1. Read and enjoy Curl up and read the living book together. 2. Oral narrations - At the end of a chapter, you would close the book and ask a few questions to verify comprehension. 3. Hands-on Projects - When you are finished, head outside to find the principles you just read about in nature. B. Older Students 1. Read and Enjoy Curl up and read the living book either together as a family, or you can have them read the book on their own. 2. Written Narrations After the students are finished reading, have them write down what they have learned. ÍWritten Í narration ÍSummary Í of the chapter ÍBullet-point Í list of the facts (outlines of narrative works can be difficult) 3. Hands-on Inquiry Again, the older students will head outside to discover the principles they have been learning about in nature. How to use living books and nature study to teach science - Presented by Paige Hudson of Elemental Science 4

5 4. Relevant Non-fiction Books Add in other relevant non-fiction books either encyclopedias or books from the library. How to use living books and nature study to teach science - Presented by Paige Hudson of Elemental Science 5

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