Our Earth

March 21, 2012

Our Earth

By Joanne Mattern

Capstone Press, 2011

Fact Finders Series

ISBN #9781429653954

Grades 3-6


“We all call Earth home. Of all the planets and other bodies in the solar system, Earth is the only place that supports life. That makes our planet one of a kind!”

Our Earth introduces the planet we know so well in its place within our solar system. It continues with the formation of the solar system and the reasons Earth can support life. This first section explains orbit, axis, rotation, and revolution, and then begins to explore inner Earth.

The remaining chapters of the book fill in information about the land, the oceans, the atmosphere, and the biomes on Earth. The final chapter addresses photosynthesis, weather, and the water cycle, all parts of the processes that allow life to thrive here.

Our Earth is an excellent survey of our planet and a great introduction to each of these individual processes that take place. Photographs and diagrams add information and highlighted vocabulary is defined at the bottom of the page where it was introduced. The text is reader-friendly and the book has an appealing layout that shows the information well. Fun facts are sprinkled on some of the pages. Back matter includes a glossary, a read more section, Internet sites, and an index. Joanne Mattern does an excellent job with science subjects and it’s a fun book to read. The book hits on a number of science concepts—all in one book. In all its complexities, who can get tired of reading about the Earth and its amazing processes?

Activity 1

Choose a topic from the book and find out more about that subject. You might want to investigate plate tectonics, the water cycle, the carbon cycle (not in book but interesting!), Earth’s atmosphere, the moon, the Sun, or photosynthesis. Make your own poster or display to share the information you learned.

These links will get you started:  tides, plate tectonics, water cycle, carbon cycle, Earth’s atmosphere, photosynthesis, moon, Sun

Activity 2

Choose another planet. Then look up information about that planet and create a chart or Venn diagram to compare and contrast the Earth and that planet. This activity could be done as a group project, too.

NASA’s site has planet information. Click on the planet and then go down to the read more tab.

National Science Standards: Earth and the solar system; Earth Materials and Systems; Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions;  The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes; Weather and Climate

Book provided by Capstone

The Grand Canyon

March 17, 2010

The Grand Canyon

By Jeffrey Zuehlke

Lerner, 2010 Lightning Bolt Books

ISBN #13: 978-0-7613-4261-8


Grades K-3

Beautiful photographs highlight the text of this book and its information. It covers the erosion that formed the canyon and goes on to explain the three major areas that formed it, and relatesinformation about the U.S. park rangers as a part of the national park. It also shows the mules taking visitors to the bottom and the rapids in the river at the bottom.

A simple map of Arizona and the Grand Canyon area start the back matter, which also includes fun facts, a glossary, further reading, and an index. Large, bold text makes the wording inviting and little sidebars add an additional sentence of information to the pages. The book makes an excellent start to introducing earth science and erosion.

 Activity 1

Set up a simple erosion experiment. Form two identical hills out of topsoil. Plant rye grass seeds on one and water both of the hills gently (and equally) until the grass grows. Using a large jar or pitcher, quickly pour equal amounts water on both hills. Do this daily and watch for the results.

Write up your experiment and draw conclusions about the effects of erosion. Use this form to guide your writing.

Activity 2

To show how the layers were laid down to form the rock and make the oldest rock on the bottom, stack up newspapers for a week, laying the most recent one on the top of the stack. Ask the children which paper is the oldest and examine the dates. Relate this to the Grand Canyon’s formations and how the oldest layer got on the bottom.

Activity 3

Make your own layers of earth. Fill a jar in layers with peat, sand, pebbles, and topsoil. Examine the layers and discuss them in relation to the Grand Canyon and how the rock was formed.

 National Park Service information about the Grand Canyon

See these beautiful pictures of the Grand Canyon.

View the canyon from the dizzying perspective  of the skybridge and  learn more.

National Science Standard: abilities to do necessary scientific inquiry; properties of earth materials

Book provided  by publisher


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