Classroom Resources

During the time your students are working on BioKIDS, you may wish to provide a collection of print resources that focus on biodiversity and related concepts. We list a few titles below. Your school media specialist is likely to know of good resources available in your library, to supplement our list.

General Biodiversity and Ecology

Ecology (Usborne Science & Experiments). Richard Spurgeon, Tulsa, OK: Usborne Publishing. 1988. ISBN 0-88110-363-2. Dewey J 574.5 SP

Good general resource, lots of good definitions and some good examples.

Biodiversity. Dorothy Hinshaw Patent. New York: Clarion Books. (1996).

Good resource for general concepts, but does not go into depth. As mentioned in a _ Booklist _ review, "Patent uses lots of examples -- of various habitats and ecosystems and keystone species -- but nothing is discussed in depth, and the generalizations seem random."

Bats, Bugs, and Biodiversity. Susan E. Goodman, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York, 1995.

After preparing for more than a year, a group of 7th and 8th graders from Michigan went on an educational adventure in the Peruvian rain forest. This book provides an account of their trip. Although the content is tropical rainforest instead of our local biodiversity, it might be interesting for your students because the children are from Michigan (albeit western Michigan) and just slightly older. If you want to introduce broader biodiversity topics, this might be a good book to use.

Urban or Backyard Wildlife

The City Kid's Field Guide, Ethan Heberman, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 1989.

Describes the wildlife commonly found in a variety of urban environments, including backyards, vacant lots, parks, and city margins.

One Small Square: Backyard, Donald M. Silver, W. H. Freeman, New York, 1993.

Explains how to observe and explore plants, animals, and their interactions in your own backyard. The series also includes "Cave," "Pond," and "Woods." (A software title is also available.)

Nature’s Great Balancing Act: In Our Own Backyard, E. Jaediker Norsgaard, Dutton, New York, 1990.

Discusses the interrelationship of all the creatures and plants in nature, emphasizing the important of insects.

Nature in Your Backyard: Simple Activities for Children, Susan S. Lang with the staff of Cayuga Nature Center, Millbrook Press, Brookfield, Connecticut, 1995.

Through a series of projects, experiments, and activities, this book presents the natural world that's right outside the door.

Animal Groups

Question and Answer Encyclopedia: The Natural World. 2000. Dempsey Parr (an imprint of Parragon, Bath, UK). 255 pp

Lots of answers to many of the common questions and not-so-common questions, mostly about animals, organized by topic such as "Birds," "Desert Animals," "Endangered Animals." There's a good index in the back to find specific animals.

Eyewitness Juniors series from Knopf and/or Dorling Kindersley. e.g. Amazing Spiders, Amazing Beetles, Amazing Birds, Amazing Mammals

A real-life look at amazing but true behavior in the animal world. Each book is full of fascinating facts and lifelike photos. Organization is by concept, such as "Growing up" and "Food and feeding." There is a brief index so you can find particular animals, but they are short books so students could flip through to find a picture they recognize.

Backyard Insects, Millicent Ellis Selsam, Four Winds Press, New York, 1981.

Text and photographs discuss common garden insects and their protective appearance (including camouflage, warning colors, copycat characteristics, and scary characteristics).

The Bug Book. Hugh Danks, 1987. Workman Publshing, NY.

This is the book that comes with a plastic bug collecting jar. It contains information for identifying particular kinds of insects, organized by microhabitat, as well as a glossary and ideas for field projects.

Bug Wise: Thirty Incredible Insect Investigations and Arachnid Activities, Pamela M. Hickman, Addison-Wesley Publishing, Reading, Massachusetts, 1990.

Text, illustrations, questions and answers, and suggested activities introduce the world of insects and other arthropods

In general, Dorling Kindersley is one of the best publishers for kid's nature book. They are informative and appealing.

The Explorer series are 64-page books aimed at ages 5-10. "DK Explorers are exciting information books packed with projects and facts that teach youngsters to observe the world around them." Titles include:

  • Butterflies and Moths
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Insects

The DK Pocket series is aimed at ages 12+. Books are typically 128 pages. They are a combination of field guide and general reference. Titles include:

  • Birds
  • Reptiles
  • Mammals
  • Butterflies and moths
  • Nature Facts

Habitats and Adaptations

Animal Architecture, Jennifer Owings Dewey, Orchard Books, New York. 1991.

A beautifully illustrated book showing the variety of houses animals build for themselves. The text and illustrations reveal how each animal builds the home that will suit it best.

Animal Homes, Sally Cartwright. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, New York. 1973.

A really great book that shows how an animal's lifestyle (particularly winter use and care of offspring) matches with the type of home it makes. A chart at the end helps organize all the details.

A Look at Teeth and Tusks, by Ruth Thomson. 1989. New York: Franklin Watts Inc. ISBN 0-531-10723-X.

Although written for a younger audience, it provides a good explanation of how teeth are adapted for different foods.

Paws and Claws. Theresa Greenway, Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishers, Austin. 1995.

After citing some general facts, the book explains special capabilities of animal feet: moving quickly; digging; climbing; hanging upside down; maneuvering on snow, sand, and rock; and more. Each skill is explained briefly and with five or six specific examples.

Food Webs

Who Eats What? Food Chains and Food Webs, Patricia Lauber, Harper Collins, New York, 1995.

Explains the concept of a food chain and how plants, animals, and humans are ecologically linked. Each link in the food chain is important because everything depends on others for survival.

Bugs for Dinner? The Eating Habits of Neighborhood Creatures, Sam and Beryl Epstein, Macmillan Publishing, New York, 1989.

Recounts how squirrels, grasshoppers, ants, spiders, and other creatures in an urban environment find their food and avoid being eaten.

Magic School Bus Series

The Magic School Bus series is aimed at a younger audience, but you may wish to use them with your class anyway. Some of the books and video episodes address biodiversity content. The following are most in line with BioKIDS content:

  • The Magic School Bus In The City (city critters)
  • The Magic School Bus Hops Home: A Book About Animal Habitats (habitats)
  • The Magic School Bus Butterfly and the Bog Beast: A Book About Butterfly Camouflage (adaptations)
  • The Magic School Bus Gets All Dried Up: A Book About Deserts (desert adaptations)
  • The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten: A Book about Food Chains (food webs)
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BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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