Once again, the STEM Tuesday Team put together a powerhouse book list for this month’s theme: CHECKING YOUR HEALTH. You can access that book list quickly and easily right HERE.
As always, on Week Two, we’re going to take a few books from the list and talk about classroom application. Upper elementary, middle school, home school, summer school – we’ve got activities for you!
Lights, Camera, Action
Use Maris Wicks’s fascinating book Human Body Theater, a Nonfiction Revue to put on a show! The book, which is in graphic/comic strip format (can we say graphic novel for nonfiction? Hmm….) is divided into Acts One through Eleven, with each act explaining one of our bodies’ systems. Students might work in groups, choosing a system and writing a script for a whole-body performance. A ticket to the Human Body Theater might be just be the hottest ticket in town!
Then and Now
Using Bubonic Panic: When Plague Invaded America by Gail Jarrow and Ebola: Fears and Facts by Patricia Newman, compare the effects of two devastating illnesses that hit the world at two very different times. What challenges do scientists and medical professionals face today that are similar to those faced years ago? What advances have made research and treatment easier? What still needs to happen in order to prevent an epidemic from ever occurring again?
Biology Biography Bash
Many classrooms hold Biography Bashes or Living History events or otherwise showcase people from history who’ve had an impact on the way we live. Consider hosting a biography event centered around historical figures who have made a difference in the fields of health and medicine. This month’s book list contains two fantastic examples: Florence Nightingale: The Courageous Life the Legendary Nurse by Catherine Reef and Breakthrough! How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever by Jim Murphy.
And, don’t forget fiction!
Here at The Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors, the STEM Tuesday team loves to highlight great middle-grade fiction with our nonfiction topics. In Chasing Secrets: A Deadly Surprise in a City of Lies, Gennifer Choldenko’s fictional characters must try to understand a mysterious illness. She sets the story against the very real backdrop that was San Francisco in 1900. I was hooked in chapter one, when the main character says “I know I shouldn’t say things like this. Aunt Hortense says I try hard to be peculiar. But she’s wrong; I come by it quite naturally.”
So, here’s a challenge for the comment section below: Add a middle-grade fiction title that explores a health or medical issue. Contemporary or historical, realistic or science fiction. Can you come up with one to share?
Michelle Houts created today’s STEM Tuesday post. She’s the author of several fiction and nonfiction books for kids, including the STEM-based Lucy’s Lab Chapter Book Series from Sky Horse Publishing/Sky Pony Press. After reading about bubonic plague, tuberculosis, ebola, and other deadly diseases for today’s post, she is now going to go wash her hands. Again.