Let’s Talk About Nonfiction

AnimalAnatomySeries

Learning is great! Learning is fun! So today we feature one of our continuing nonfiction series that is growing season by season!

Did you know…

“Dragonflies have two compound eyes that can see in all directions at the same time.” – Animal Eyes 

“Most frogs don’t have any teeth on their lower jaw” – Animal Mouths 

This month we add another fact-filled book to Mary Holland’s series, Animal Tails!

Like the others in this series, Mary uses her vast knowledge to show young readers why a tail might be useful. From warding off predators to dangling from a tree, each page features a new use for this unique appendage!

striped-skunk

Learn more about each book in this series:

Animal Tails
Readers will be fascinated by the many ways animals use their tails: to move on land, swim, warn others, steer, hold on to things, keep warm, balance, fly, attract a mate, and even to defend themselves! Apparently, tails are not just for wagging when happy. Following Animal Eyes, Animal Mouths(NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Science Award-winning book), and Animal Legs, Mary Holland continues her photographic Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series by exploring the many ways animals use their tails.

AnimalEyesThe sense of sight helps an animal stay safe from predators, find food and shelter, defend its territory and care for its young. We can tell a lot about an animal from its eyes: whether it is predator or prey, whether it is more active during the day or night, and sometimes even its gender or age. Award-winning nature photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland shares fascinating animal eyes with readers of all ages.

AnimalLegsCan you smell with your feet? Do you dig your claws into a river’s muddy bank to climb up and bask in the sun? Animals’ legs are different from humans’ in so many ways! Find out why strong talons suit a raptor, or webbing is perfect for water dwellers as author Mary Holland continues her photographic Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series by exploring the ways insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals move and explore their world.

AnimalMouthsWhat are some things we can learn about animals from the shape of their mouths, beaks,
or bills? What can we infer about animals with sharp teeth compared to large, flat teeth? Are there any animals that don’t have mouths? Following in the footsteps of Animal Eyes, award-winning nature photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland shares fascinating animal mouths with readers of all ages.

We hear Animal Ears will arrive Spring 2018 learn more about it too! 

AnimalEarsHearing is an important sense for animals’ survival. Ears give animals vital information to help them find food or listen for predators ready to attack. This continuation of Mary Holland’s award-winning Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series features a wide variety of animal ears and how animals use them. Did you know that some animals have ears on their legs? Like the eyes, mouths, legs, and tails featured in previous books, animal ears come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes—a perfect match for each animal’s needs.

 

Science News: How Plates Shape the Earth

volcanoIf you have read the “For Creative Minds” section in A True Princess of Hawai‘i or Gopher to the Rescue, you have learned the basics of how volcanoes form. Scientists at The Australian National University have just concluded a study to find out when the Hawaiian hot spot was formed.

Although this group of researchers began with the knowledge of the twin tracks that sit underneath the young islands, they used computer simulation to date the occurrence of a change in the movement of the Pacific plate to 3 million years ago. A mantle plume, or columns of rock caused by heat from the Earth’s core, was out of alignment creating the volcanic activity and forming the beautiful islands we know today.

Learning about the past is important to predicting the future of the Earth’s landscape. Future scientists may be looking to this research just as this team used the knowledge from the scientists that discovered the twin tracks in 1849.

Dive into Earth science with these books:

TruePrincessA True Princess of Hawai‘i
Nani has always dreamed of being a princess. When a real Hawaiian princess comes to her hometown of Hilo, Nani dresses in her best clothes. But as she watches Princess Luka, who has come to save the town from a volcanic lava flow, Nani learns that there is more to being a princess than fine clothes. This incredible story of kindness and generosity is based on the historical events of the 1880-1881 eruption of Mauna Loa on the Island of Hawai‘i and the real-life Princess Luka.

GopherRescueGopher to the Rescue: A Volcano Recovery Story

The forest animals are surprised when a volcano suddenly explodes, covering the land in gritty, warm ash and rocks that make it unlivable for many plants and animals. Gopher survives in his underground burrow with food to eat. How does Gopher help bring life back to the mountain? Scientists spent years observing life returning to the mountain following the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980. This fictionalized story is based on their surprising observations of how life returns to an area that has been totally changed or destroyed.

ThisLandThis Land is Your Land
Take a trip around the world to discover a wide variety of Earth’s landforms and geological features through the rhythmic verse in This Land is Your Land. On the journey encounter plains, plateaus, and rolling hills. Find out how a stream can make a canyon or lava creates an archipelago. Read aloud and discover new terrain with the flip of each page.

Read more about the study here!

New Book News! Animals from sea and sky

Keeping with the theme of animals today we feature two new books that will take young readers to the head of the class with interesting animal facts.

honeygirl

Honey Girl: The Hawaiian Monk Seal is the true story of how rescue workers and veterinarians stepped in to save a very important Hawaiian Monk Seal.

otisowl

Otis the Owl is a baby barred owl, not quite ready to fly and sometimes bothered by his sister, he relies on his parents to show him how to make his way in the world.

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Mark the pages in your book with fun and easy to make paperclip bookmarks!!

Head to our Pinterest page for details

 

New Book News! Bat Count & Moonlight Crab Count

Do you have a young scientist in the making? This season we have two citizen science books that just may inspire your family to find their own project. You can spot bats, frogs, butterflies, crabs or even stars to help scientists with important research.

First, we meet Jojo and her family as they await the yearly bat counts on the family farm.

batcount

Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story 
by Anna Forrester, illustrated by Susan Detwiler

Bat Count is inspired by author Anna Forrester’s family farm, and the citizen science project that her family participates in every summer. Anna would like to show young readers that participation in citizen science is a great way to do real science, and that is very meaningful to the scientists finding solutions to ecological problems.

Visit Anna Forrester’s website for more batty fun! 

Next, we meet Leena, her mom, and dog Bobie as they travel to a small beach for a night of collecting data on horseshoe crabs.

moonlight

Moonlight Crab Count
by Neeti Bathala, Jennifer Keats Curtis & Veronica V. Jones

Horseshoe crabs are one of the oldest and strangest looking species around! Each spring they swim to shore and spawn along the Eastern US, but the Delaware Bay is the best spot to see a whole crowd of crabs, sea birds and people too. The living fossil has blue blood that is very important to medical reserch, and thier eggs are an important food source for a few different migrating birds. This is why citizen scientists are busy counting crabs as they are spawning.

Learn more about horseshoe crabs and the citizen science project.

Get involved in your local area: Check out these sites for ongoing projects around the world!

https://www.scientificamerican.com/citizen-science/

https://scistarter.com/citizenscience.html

https://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Conservation/Citizen-Science.aspx

Science & Celebration – Happy 4th of July

firworks4
Independence Day is here; this weekend fireworks will light up the sky around the nation in celebration. But…how are fireworks made? And…who thought to send brightly colored explosions into the sky?

For Arbordale celebration and science go hand in hand, so here is a quick history chemistry and physics lesson in fireworks!

History

The Chinese were experimenting with exploding tubes of bamboo as early as 200 B.C., but it wasn’t until 900 A.D. that Chinese chemists found a mix that when stuffed in bamboo and thrown in a fire produced a loud bang. Over the next several hundred years experimentation lead to the first rockets, but as fire power began to fly in the air, celebrations also began to light up the sky.

Soon firework technology began to spread across Europe to Medieval England. The popularity of celebrating war victories and religious ceremonies with fireworks displays grew. The Italian pyrotechnic engineers are first credited with adding color to their fireworks in the 1830’s. The Europeans brought their knowledge of fireworks to America, and the first recorded display was in Jamestown in 1608.

fireworks1John Adams predicted that fireworks would be part of the Fourth of July celebrations on July 3, 1776 with a letter to Abigail Adams where he said, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

And so on the first anniversary of the country and each year we celebrate with Pomp and Parade, ending the day with Illuminations!

The Science

The Chinese put bamboo in the fire and the air pocket would make a bang when it was heated to a certain temperature. Today we have much better technology and fireworks are a little more complicated. The basic science has not changed, but the delivery methods have gotten much more accurate and high tech giving celebrators a bigger better show.

We know a tube is our vehicle, but how does it travel to the sky?

A mix of combustible solid chemicals is packed into the tube, along with neatly arranged fireworks3metals. The metals determine the color (copper=blue/green, calcium=red), and the arrangement determines shape (circle, smiley faces, stars).

When the heat activates the chemicals, the excitement begins. The reaction is started by either fire or electricity through a fuse. As the heat begins to travel into the tube the chemicals become activated that reaction produces other chemicals such as smoke and gasses. The chemical reaction creates the release of energy; the energy is converted into the heat, light, sound and movement that we see up in the sky.

Physics takes over!

The Conservation of Energy Law says that the chemical energy packed inside that tube is equal to the energy of the released plus the energy left after the reaction. A professional firework in a large tube packed with chemicals creates a much bigger light show and bang than a tiny firecracker that jumps with a small bang.

The fireworks fly because of Newton’s Third Law. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” When the gasses are released from the chemical reaction they shoot down with force cause the firework to lift up into the air.

Finally, Why are fireworks always symmetrical?

fireworks2Conservation of Momentum says that momentum must be the same before and after the explosion. In other words, when the explosion occurs the movement must be balanced.

Now that you have learned a little about the science behind fireworks enjoy watching them on this Independence Day. But remember, fireworks are dangerous and best left to the professionals!

The Science of Reading

In a recent neuroscience study, researchers focused on the visual side of the brain and concluded that volunteers saw words and pictures and not individual letters. This research could prove very helpful in understanding how struggling readers process words, and improve tactics for teaching.

Arbordale truly believes that reading, and being read to, is a very important part of growing up. So, we are closing out the work with a Friday Reads Giveaway! Comment on this post to be entered to win these three Arbordale books!

Learn more about the Journal of Neuroscience article on Science News.

Let’s Compare and Contrast!

In 2014 Polar Bears and Penguins debuted; this first book in the Compare and Contrast Book series has been named to the NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books of 2015. This year we release three new books in this series and two have just hit bookshelves, Clouds and Trees take a look at often overlooked topics in nature.

Each book in this series uses simple text to lure the youngest readers into loving all that they can learn from non-fiction. Paired with the facts and activities in the back of the book kids will learn about the impacts that clouds have on the water cycle and how roots are important to make trees stand tall.

If you have had fun comparing through these books, now you are ready to compare and contrast anything! Let’s start by using what you have learned about clouds and trees with the activity sheet below. Fill out traits of each that are the same and ones that make these objects different.

Compare&Contrast

Click here for the full size Compare&Contrast worksheet.

Watch for the next Compare and Contrast Book available this fall Amphibians & Reptiles!

AmphbnReptile_187What makes a frog an amphibian but a snake a reptile? Both classes may lay eggs, but they have different skin coverings and breathe in different ways. Pages of fun facts will help kids identify each animal in the class like a pro after reading the fourth book in Arbordale’s Compare and Contrast series. Similar to Polar Bears and Penguins, Clouds and Trees; Amphibians and Reptiles uses stunning photographs and simple non-fiction text to get kids thinking about the similarities and differences between these two animal classes.

Decoding Dino Tracks

If you ever take a stroll through the historic streets of Charleston, South Carolina you will probably hear the guinea fowl before you see them. Among the mansions and historic sites a flock of these birds roam free. Now scientists at Brown University have employed this chicken-like bird to help understand more about how dinosaur tracks formed, how dinosaurs moved and how the soil structure impacted the tracks.

The scientists are using x-ray video and poppy seeds to get a better understanding of how tracks were made and preserved over so many years. This also gives them insight into how dinosaurs walked and moved across the land. Watch here:

Paleontologists are constantly learning more about how fossils were created and learning more about the animal itself. Author Rhonda Lucas Donald is fascinated with dinosaurs and the field of paleontology, her book Dino Tracks is a great introduction to tracks and how they are found. The follow-up Dino Treasures is coming this January and goes further into how paleontologists have discovered different traits of these large beasts through the artifacts they left behind.

DinoTracks_187  DinoTreasures_187

Check out the books on Arbordalepublishing.com

Summer Science

STEM activities and summer fun from guest blogger, and author Lois Spangler

FortFourth_187

 

Does learning end when school closes in June? Reading The Fort on Fourth Street: A Story about the Six Simple Machines will engage children and help them understand that learning is fun and can happen anytime and anywhere – even in their own backyard!

The summer provides children with a large quantity of unstructured time to explore their interests and try new things. After reading The Fort on Fourth Street, try some of the following suggestions. Children will learn to read and follow directions, learn about the six simple machines, and these projects offer the added benefit of creating a finished product!

  1. Build a fort!  Where will you build it? How will you build it? Which simple machines will you use to build your fort?
  1. Craft stores have many kits for constructing things. Design and build a bird feeder. Which simple machines FortFourth_Pic3are needed to build your bird feeder? Watch and record the names of the birds that visit the feeder.
  1. Research and build a birdhouse or a bat box. Which simple machines will you need to build a birdhouse or a bat box? Where will you place your box? Why?
  1. Design and build model airplanes. Which simple machines will you need to build and fly your model airplane? Fly your plane and record how far it flies on each flight.
  1. Design and construct a raised bed for vegetables. Have a vegetable growing contest with your family. Who can grow the longest zucchini? Which simple machines will you need to construct a raised bed and plant your vegetables?

Science is fun! Keep asking questions and creating new ideas!

Lois Spangler is an accomplished author and educator who has received many distinguished awards for her Lois Spanglerclassroom work during her 32-year career. In addition to her personal achievements, she has worked with students to help them earn both state and national awards from numerous organizations including NASA, Toshiba and the NSTA. Although The Fort on Fourth Street is Lois’s debut picture book, she has written, edited and managed more than 30 books including 6 ancillary science books for Scott Foresman Science. As an author and education expert, she has served on various committees and boards, including as a judge for the NSTA’s ExploraVision National Science Competition and the NSF’s Selection Committee for the “PAEMST.” Visit her websitewww.edconnectionsllc.com for more information.

Swimming with Sharks at the Tennessee Aquarium

How does an aquarium take care of such a wide variety of aquatic creatures?

Well, the Tennessee Aquarium shares with us videos from the volunteers that work to keep their aquatic animals clean happy and healthy.

Retired TV weatherman Thom Benson is lucky to work at the Tennessee Aquarium; but, even a job there doesn’t guarantee a dive. He shares that honor with 175 volunteer divers who also deliver educational programs, help feed some of the animals and maintain exhibits. He usually only dives once a month during regularly scheduled “scrub nights.” “The volunteer divers are the ones who really deserve praise for what they do to support the Aquarium,” Thom noted.

Shark diving:

Arapaima:


Feeding Red Tail Catfish:  

Feeding Giant Australian Freshwater Stingrays:  

Author Jennifer Keats Curtis worked with the Tennessee Aquarium and four other Aquariums to show young readers what daily life is like under the water and behind the scenes.

For more information about the book visit the book’s homepage at Arbordalepublishing.com

Also, visit the Tennessee Aquarium’s website to learn more or visit!