6 Picture Books on Seasons, Earth Day, & Nature’s Abundance

Having grown up in an area where the change in seasons was not particularly pronounced, I can’t stop geeking out about it where I live now. Every day is like a treasure hunt that never disappoints: a new variety of blossom budding here, a new nest built there.

Spring is a particularly lovely time to observe and celebrate the abundance of our earth & to visit our responsibilities toward it, not least because it includes Earth Day (coming up on April 22). Here are some of my favorite picture books that will be sure to enhance the celebrations.

The Earth Gives More by Sue Fliess & Christiane Engel. This beautiful read shares not only the changing of the seasons, but the abundance of the earth through time. Pleasant rhymes without becoming overly didactic.

Luna & Me by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw. Follow Julia Butterfly Hill’s conservation efforts as she made an ancient Redwood named Luna her home for two years. Our students may not be able to live in a tree for years, but they will be inspired by the action of one.

One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul & Elizabeth Zunon. Speaking of the impact of one, this is a powerful story of the difference a person can make to their community and the earth. Your students will love the unique collage illustrations as well.

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes & Laura Dronzek. Though this book doesn’t come back specifically to conservation efforts, it’s a lovely representation of spring’s unpredictable arrival and nature’s lovely, winding course.

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. Students who may have a harder time connecting with nature in their urban environments will especially love this story as Liam finds a way to unfurl Nature’s abundance in the middle of the big city (also see High Line greenway).

All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon & Marla Frazee. Lyrical poetry and gorgeous illustrations that will truly get students celebrating the abundance of this beautiful world.

Bonus: be sure to also check out the picture books round-up for my Sustainable Development Goals provocations that I’ve gathered here.

Happy Earth Day!

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Inquiry into SDGs: Climate Action

This is a series of provocations designed to provide resources for students to inquire into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. For more, click here

Today’s provocation centers on the global goal of Climate Action, that is, the need to take “urgent action on climate change and its impacts.” Use the resources below to help students consider what this might mean for them!

Resource #1: HiCamp – A Letter to Congress By Christopher Newman

Resource #2: SciStarter Citizen Science video

See also the Earth Challenge 2020 & video here.

Resource #3: Planet Under Pressure by Moth

Resource #4: Climate Action Plan by Squint/Opera

Resource #5: What Can a Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers

Provocation Questions:

  • What is climate?
  • Why does our climate require action?
  • How does global citizenship connect to climate action?
  • What is our responsibility to take action for our environment?
  • How can one person make a difference?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

Inquiry into SDGs: Life on Land

This is a series of provocations designed to provide resources for students to inquire into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. For more, click here

The global goal of Life on Land is all about protecting and restoring ecosystems, forests, and biodiversity. In my experience, many children already tend to be passionate here, to saving endangered species to rainforest conservation, so bridging to the Sustainable Development Goals might be a natural connection.

Resource #1: Wildlife Aid’s ‘Saving Harry’ by Kris Hofmann

Resource #2: Nokia, HK Honey by Kiku Ohe

Resource  #3: Biotop by Jola Bańkowska

Resource #4: Toposcape by Adnaan Jiwa (might be a little advanced for younger students, but a fascinating watch!)

Resource #5: Age of the Farmer by Spencer MacDonald

Resource #6: A Boy & a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz & Catia Chien 

Resource #7: The Tree Lady by  H. Joseph Hopkins & Jill McElmurry

Provocation Questions:

  • What is deforestation?
  • What is an ecosystem?
  • What is the connection between deforestation and animal species conservation?
  • Why is every species an important part of an ecosystem?
  • What is our responsibility for sustainable use of trees for ourselves? For our world?

To subscribe or manage your preferences, click here. See more on the weekly topic schedule here.

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

Inquiry Into Being A Scientist

This is part of a series of provocations on learner identities. Discussing what it means to be a scientist certainly lends itself more to inquiry, but it’s still a valuable step to purposefully take. After all, as long as we insist on rigid science fairs, some students may feel that they only qualify as scientists if the Scientific Method is in play (complete with a tri-fold board). Use the following resources to provoke thinking and discussion on what it really means to be a scientist! Resource #1: Why I Study Physics by Shixie Resource #2: Insight: From Migrant Farming to Mars via The Kid Should See This Resource #3: Patterns in Nature by National  Geographic Resource #4: Photography by Sebastião Salgado This photo series is awe-inspiring. Compilation via Ted-Ed. Resource #5: Tiny Perfect Things by M. H. Clark & Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell
Provocation Questions:
  • What does it mean to be a scientist?
  • What is the impact of seeing ourselves as scientists? (on ourselves, on our world?)
  • What is our responsibility to be scientists?
  • How does being a scientist relate to citizenship?
  • What is the connection between exploration and being a scientist?
  • What skills do scientists use?
  • What tools do scientists use?
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Provocation for Design in Nature

I am a huge sucker for time-lapse. It’s a mesmerizing phenomenon that by speeding up time, we get to feel like we’re slowing down. This is especially enjoyable when it comes to nature, which is why two of the four resources in this week’s inquiry include time-lapse videos.

The concept connections here include pattern, design, geometry, seasons, etc. Time lapse also lend themselves well to the PYP Transdiciplinary unit of “Where We Are in Place & Time.” But the exciting part about provocations is that we have no idea in which direction this might spark our students’ curiosity.

Resource #1: WoodSwimmer, time-lapse by bfophoto

Resource #2: Spring, time-lapse by Jamie Scott

Resource #3: Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature, picture book by Joyce Sidman and Beth Drommes

Resource #4: Animation Explores the Beautiful Circles of Our World, video by National Geographic

Provocation Questions:

  • How are change and patterns connected?
  • How are form and function connected in nature?
  • Why are there so many different designs and colors in nature?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto