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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Science Reviews - Part 2

Katya's Book of Mushrooms by Katya Arnold
is out of print but can be bought used or found in a library if you're lucky.

This is a fabulous book for mushrooms, a true living book with a passionate about the subject author. The author shares about different types of mushrooms, identifying (Latin names are provides as well as common names), how to hunt for mushrooms, poisonous ones to stay away from and plenty of anatomical depictions to learn from. My favorite section so far is the polypores, which are mushrooms which grow on trees. It's hard to believe but this book even has instructions for growing mushrooms at home.

The author mixes personal stories from her life which makes this book come alive for whoever reads it. I consider this a must-read for anyone studying mushrooms in their botany study.

Invisible Allies: Microbes that Shape Our Lives by Jeanette Farrell
and Invisible Enemies by Jeanette Farrell

These fascinating books about microbes are excellent reads, yet I would wait until later to read Invisible Enemies, it is indicated for 6th grade and up and contains social and cultural information about AIDS and other diseases that are best left to a more mature mind.

Invisible Allies could be read to a 3rd grader and up without trouble, possibly even a 2nd grade depending on the parent. Invisible Allies will send you on a journey of helpful microbes found in foods such as breads and yeast and even explores other cultures foods.

The Amateur Naturalist by Nick Barr

This is one book that offers so much that it would take me a long time to share it all! From picking a microscope, telescope to estimating a tree's height- this is one reference book worth having for any homeschool that has any inkling of wanting to do nature study. While the information may be dense for elementary students to read on their own, it can serve as a read aloud or handbook for nature study. This one book contains such varied information, it could replace a lot of smaller topic focused books we have on our shelves, including outside nature activity books. There are excellent instructions on how to make a cast of an animal's footprint, preserve a spider web for observation, and it goes on. This book on my list of 'have to buy' and I'm grateful for the time being my library houses it on the shelf so I can peruse it any time I wish unless someone else has discovered this gem!

I will conclude this post here and my reviews of books, I've had to switch gears to reading about math and researching resources that may help us achieve our goals of switching to a living math approach. We just received our copy of My Nature Journal by Adrienne Olmstead and we are extremely pleased. Camille loves that there are writing assignments in the book- I believe this base will help us develop stronger nature journals in the future which I've lacked direction in since we've started our nature studies. It has been touch and go for us regarding journaling, My Nature Journal is an excellent place to start.

Lastly, I will also recommend Science Notebooks: Writing about Inquiry by Brian Campbell and Lori Fulton. This is an excellent tool for any teacher on how to develop solid science notebooking skills. While The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise provided an outline for a science notebook, this book dives into the whys and hows.

Too many good books, so little time.



Jennifer said...

We also own My Nature Journal and my daughters have absolutely loved it!

We will have to read the mushroom book next time around through Botany. Growing up, we had lots of Chantrelle and Pine mushrooms growing in the woods behind our house. Even though I don't like eating them, I have fond memories of mushroom hunting and I would love for my kids to experience it :)

Jonnia said...

Thanks so much for these reviews. I went ahead and ordered the Ameteur Naturalist. I'll have to check our library for the mushroom book. They sound great!

jennybell said...

I've been thinking about buying The Nature Journal, but I hadn't heard from anyone who used it and I hadn't found one in the bookstore to page through and judge for myself. Thanks for mentioning it.

Sheryl said...

So glad you got the nature journal. I think it is an excellent source that I will use next year as well, as my dd gets older and the writing assignments become more feasible. We are studying spiders right now and found many wonderful webs on an old abandoned bridge yesterday..complete with trapped insects and all. My four year old boy was the most intrigued by this find. We drew the webs in our nature journals. I must say Jessica that it was YOU that got me started on this nature study idea in the first place. Thank you for helping sprinkle some CMason into our studies!! Enjoy the GA weather!

christinemm said...

Hi Jessica,
I just ordered a copy of Amateur Naturalist based on your recommendation. I see Amazon has copies starting at $1 and the full retail is $30. Wow. I ordered through your blog link.

Question on the mushroom book. What kind of illustrations are those? Are they woodcuts? I have a thing for woodcuts. Mary Azarian is one of my favorite woodcut artists.

Learning to make my own woodcuts is on my list of craft skills to teach myself. Right now I'm polishing skills on knitting and machine sewing. Lino cutting and screen printing are also on the skill list to be learned. :)

Have a great day!