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Education - Science education (Elementary)

Clarification

It's important for you to know that when you see the term 'juvenile literature' it may mean different things.

For instance, typically 'juvenile literature' is used to refer to all books written for children and young adults, both fiction and nonfiction.

However, when you are searching the catalogue in the Doucette Library to find books for children, 'juvenile literature' is use to refer to only nonfiction books.  (Example: typing forensics juvenile literature will bring up information books about this topic.)

If you are interested in finding fiction then the phrase to use is 'juvenile fiction'. (Example: typing birds juvenile fiction will show a list of storybooks (both picture books and novels) about birds or with bird characters.)

Learn more

Some keywords and subject headings to use when researching in databases like ERIC about this topic, including: science instruction, children's literature, reading materials.

Ask yourself:

• Does it have an authentic connection to science and scientists?

• Does it have ‘story’ involved (as opposed to a simple reporting of facts)?

• Does the book suggest in some way why scientists have a particular interest for their work?

As well…

There are PROCESSES associated with science and in evaluating nonfiction literature having a few of them represented is necessary.

Observing: “…should offer student’s opportunities to actively utilize their observational skills, gain a sense of importance of this process, and become more alert to the panorama of science that surround them every day.”

• Fragile earth: views of a changing world  • Sneeze 

Classifying: “Classifying enhances scientific comprehension because it provides children with the opportunity to relate prior knowledge to new concepts.”

 Living color • Insects and spiders  • Extreme rocks and minerals 

Measuring: “…assists children in understanding the need for scientific accuracy as well as way in which data can be shared with others…provides appropriate writing models.”

• Actual size  • How big is it? 

Inferring: “Purposeful nonfiction literature provides readers with just enough data to develop inferential abilities. They can draw conclusions in much the same way as scientists.”

• Toad  • Salamander room 

Communicating: “…Good nonfiction literature stimulates students to share and disseminate information with each other. Readers’ interests are piqued through literature, and their desire to pass information on to others is aroused.”

Just the right size  • Chameleon, chameleon

Predicting: “…gives young readers scientific opportunities to formulate predictions during the reading process as well as information to follow through on those predictions." 

 Sea secrets: tiny clues to a big mystery 

Experimenting: “Not all nonfiction literature will have (or should have) detailed formal experiments. Nevertheless, students’ curiosity should be sufficiently provoked to pursue their own self-initiated experiments and discoveries."

• Secret of water  • Tracking trash: flotsam, jetsam, and the science of ocean motion 

from: Making facts come alive : choosing and using nonfiction literature K-8 by Rosemary A. Bamford and Janice V. Kristo (2003).

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