Froguts Virtual Dissections

Media Item

Bibliographic Information: Froguts Inc. Froguts Virtual Dissections. 2001.

Plot Description:
This online biology software guides a student through the process of dissecting several different subjects, including squid, starfish, and the original frogs. The full-color virtual dissections and quizzes prepare biology students for the actual dissections in their classroom labs. It is also a valid substitute for in-person dissections in 18 states including California.

Quantitative Reading Level: Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 33.8

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This tool is presented in third-person, focusing on the selected subject for dissection. It teaches biology skills and vocabulary. The media is 9th grade level.

Content Area: Science-Biology

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Reading for 6-12: #2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms; #4  Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context; #5 Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas; #9 Synthesize information from a range of sources; #10 Read and comprehend science/technical texts in appropriate grades.
  • CCSS for Writing for 6-12: #9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • CCSS for Language 6-12:  #3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening; #4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a fun tool to use in Science Curriculum. It is best suited to 9th grade through 12th grade. It explores biology and dissection.

Supporting Digital Content:
http://www.froguts.com/

Note: I last used Froguts about a decade ago, and the program was impressive even then. It now includes x-rays and other new tools.

Why Do Dogs Pant?

Media Item

Bibliographic Information: Hank Green’s SciShow. Why Do Dogs Pant? 2014.

Plot Description:
Panting is the main way that dogs release heat from their bodies. Humans do this by sweating; dogs only have sweat glands on the pads of their paws. Dog tongues are wide and flat, giving them a larger surface area for saliva to evaporate off of, removing heat quickly. This does dehydrate them, so on hot days dogs need lots of water that they can use up.

Quantitative Reading Level: Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 77.9

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This video is presented mainly in second-person, focusing on why dogs pant and the scientific reasoning behind it. The media is 3rd grade level.

Content Area: Science-Biology

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #2 Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea; #4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area; #7 Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words both in isolation and in text; #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great short video to use in Science Curriculum. It is best suited to 2nd grade through 5th grade. It explores dog biology.

Supporting Digital Content:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8sxpxXjSBs&list=UUZYTClx2T1of7BRZ86-8fow
https://www.youtube.com/user/scishow

The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System

Picture Book

Bibliographic Information: Cole, Joanna. The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System. New York: Scholatic, 1990.

Plot Description:
Arnold’s cousin Janet joins Ms. Frizzle’s class for an informative adventure in outer space. She keeps bragging how her school is better, even as the school bus transforms into a rocket ship. The class visits the moon, the sun, the inner planets, the asteroid belt, and the outer planets. All the kids are relieved when they arrive back on Earth, and together make a mobile of the solar system.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 480; Accelerated Reader: 3.7

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person, focusing on teaching the reader about our solar system. Janet’s bragging quickly becomes annoying. Most words in the book are two syllables.

Content Area: Physical Science: Astronomy

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #2 Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text; #7 Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great early reader’s science book. It is best suited to 3rd grade through 5th grade. It explores themes like school and the solar system.

Character Diversity:
Mostly Caucasians, plus African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latinos.

The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

Science title for high school.

Bibliographic Information: Watson, James. The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA. New York: Scribner, 1968.

Plot Description:
This book shows James as he definitively discovers the structure of DNA, the molecule of life. There is a little backstory on how he came to this point in his life. He introduces his teammates, especially Francis Crick. He describes the thrill of working against other gifted scientists and the bitter rivalries, as with Linus Pauling, that resulted. In the epilogue, he says that all of the members of the team may remember details differently, but acknowledges that Rosalind Franklin was a much better scientist and human than he initially thought.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 1220

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
James, in his mid-twenties, writes in the first person language of a scientist. His sentences are fifteen to twenty words, usually, and often use language that need context to understand. Some key phrases are repeated often (helical, cytosine, etc.) and are understood without context by the end of the book.

Content Area: Science-Biology

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Reading for 6-12: #2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms; #4  Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context; #5 Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas; #9 Synthesize information from a range of sources; #10 Read and comprehend science/technical texts in appropriate grades.
  • CCSS for Writing for 6-12: #9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • CCSS for Language 6-12: #3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening; #4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a fascinating science book, and should be used in conjunction with a biology lesson teaching about DNA. It is best suited to 9th grade and above. It is a surprisingly honest account of discovery. It should be read with other accounts by the scientists who James worked with, due to the controversy over his general exclusion of Rosalind Franklin.

Sea Horses Picture Book For Kids

One Science picture book

Bibliographic Information: Jacobs, Emma. Sea Horses Picture Book For Kids. Austin, TX: A Reading Place, 2013.

Plot Description:
This picture book has large photographs of seahorses in their native environment. It takes the reader through their appearance, their homes, their food, their predators, their babies (and how the males carry the young), and their lifespan. It also gives details on various species: lined seahorses, pot-bellied seahorses, dwarf seahorses, and sea dragons.

Quantitative Reading Level: Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 84.7

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book has a mild amount of technical terms, but most sentences are easily understandable by an elementary school student. Sentences have an average of twelve words; words average two syllables. This is an engaging book.

Content Area: Science-Life Science, Marine Biology

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Reading for K-5: #1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a good introduction to seahorses, which are always popular with elementary school students. It is best suited to 3rd through 5th grade. It has many useable facts for a “My First Animal” report.