LOTS. The diversity of life on Earth by Nicola Davies.

LOTS. The diversity of life on Earth by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton is a creative, eye catching non -fiction picture book that conveys the message of the amazing diversity of life we have on our planet Earth.

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Nicola Davies invites us to look everywhere and when we do we will find so many different types of life.  Through magical storytelling the reader finds out small facts about different creatures, how they live, how many species there are and where they hide. Emily Sutton illustrates with care, bringing the natural world into focus and helping us to se the intricate details of each animal, plant and insect.

LOTS is a great book to ignite your child’s interest in animals and perhaps a future in animal and habitat conservation.

LOTS is a gentle way to teach children about the importance of all life forms and how we all play a role in caring for them.

An informative and entertaining book, LOTS is one for the science lesson, literacy lesson and just the quiet book before bed.

So what can you do with this book? 

Before you read – write down three things you know about life on earth.

After you read – write down two facts you learnt. Write down two things you would like to know more about. Write down two ways you are going to help make sure no more animals become extinct.

Animal conservation

  •  read about an animal in this book who has become extinct. Work out why they became extinct and actions that may have saved them.
  • List and group all of the different animals in this story. How many groups of animals are there?
  • Look at the page on food/life cycles – can you investigate other animals and how they link in with each other for food and life?
  • Donate money to an organisation or do some volunteer work that would help restore habitats for animals.

Use this book as a springboard to help your child to be aware that everything they do makes an impact. Every piece of rubbish, every flick of a light switch and every trip in the car impacts another.

How can you make a difference as a family? 

 

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The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha

I love bees and this book is a wonderful resource to teach adults and children about the history, science and importance of bees in our lives.

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The book of bees by Piotr Socha is a  book can be read word for word or can be enjoyed by just perusing through the pictures and short stories.

Bees are such an important part of human activity and I don’t think people really understand the importance of bees in our everyday lives.

Exposing children to these books allow for us to have conversations about important issues and how we can make small differences in our lives to ensure that creatures such as bees are cared for.

The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha outlines the history of human interaction with bees, the important role honey has played in our lives and the different types of bees and hives there are in the world.

The science behind hives is explored along with the make up of the colony.

The illustrations add detail and humour to the facts and the end papers are beautiful!

If you ever see this book – grab a copy and share it with a small person in your life, not only will they learn more about these tiny insects that many of us are scared of but they will also realise how life as we know it will not survive if we continue to use pesticides, deplete green spaces and introduce pests.

So how do you encourage your child to appreciate bees?

– Walk outside and look at flowers – are there any insects inside the flowers? Keep an insect diary.

– Look at the bee diagram and draw your own bees, differentiating between the queen, drone and workers.

– Open your cupboard and fridge and write down what wouldn’t be in the fridge if bees didn’t exist.

– Draw up a timeline of human bee interaction.

– Make your own bee hive or beneficial insect home and place it in your backyard, balcony or local park. Keep an eye on it for visiting bugs!

– Check where your honey is from – make sure it is locally made. Local means less pesticides.

Buy your own native bee hive – we have one and we love it. 

Millie Loves Ants by Jackie French and Sue deGennaro

Is there any where in the world that functions like an ant colony?

 

My friend Millie just loves ants.

Mille Loves Ants by Jackie French and Sue deGennaro is a sweet story about a little girl who is intrigued by a delightful echidna and those little insects who creep in and out of our houses on a daily basis.

This is my pre release copy:

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Millie is a spiky bush friend who adores ants and tracks them wherever they go – even if that means going under the bath, into the kitchen, in hollow trees and on the bed!

In Mille loves ants, We see the power of children and their desire to explore their world and expand their knowledge. We also see the ability of children to be able to sit and watch, living side by side with native animals and insects, knowing that without them and the things they do, we would not exist in the way we currently do.

Sue deGennaro’s illustrations have been drawn in soft pastel shades and add to the warm and fuzzy feeling the reader will feel whilst they are reading this story.

The underlying messages of this story are beautiful – a mother echidna caring for her puggle and the importance of ants to our living environment. Both messages are ones which all children need to read about in order to deepen their appreciation of the natural world.

So what can you do with this book? 

 

SUSTAINABILITY

  •  Go on an ant hunt! Where do they ants live around your house and outside area? Watch where they go, what they are carrying and where they live.
  •  Where do Echidna’s live in Australia?
  • Although not all breeds of Echidna’s are endangered, some are and although they are a protected species, their habitat is not. Find out about breeding programs and conservation for echidna’s.
  • How do ants make the soil healthy?
  • What are the different roles of ants – soldier ants, queen ants , drones and worker ants? Draw up your own ant colony with labels.
  • PROJECT: Are ants the smartest insects? Compare different insects and try to come up with the winner!
  • PROJECT: What are your local ants favourite food? Do different ants like different types of food?
  • Check this out: http://www.schoolofants.net.au

LITERACY

  • Rhyme plays a role in this story. Which words rhyme in this story? What else rhymes with ants?

NUMERACY

  • Calculate how many ants might be in your backyard by working out how may are in 10cm2 and multiply it!

 

Bee by Patricia Hegarty and Britta Teckentrup.

What is your definition of community? Do bee’s fall into this category? 

Categorise at least 20 different insects into how they help the natural environment. 

What came first….the flower or the bee? 

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Photo courtesy of http://www.readingisourthing.com/portfolio/bee-patricia-hegarty-and-britta-teckentrup/ 

Bee’s are the forgotten insect that we would be lost without. We love their honey, their pollination skills and their fuzzy little bodies!

Patricia Hegarty writes in rhyme as she introduces the importance of bees in many different environmental settings. These rhymes are brought to life through Britta Teckentrup’s brightly coloured and textured illustrations.

As you travel through the story with the bee, we discover the many different parts to the small environments that bees need to visit as part of their daily life. Children can see how bees work with each other to find the best nectar and can peep through hexagonal cut outs as the bee travels from page to page. There are also hidden animals within each page which allow you to have small conversations with your child about the ecology of each small environment!

So how can we link this story to informing our children about the importance of bees?

Sustainability

  • Get your own bee hive! Perhaps this is not possible for everyone due to the environment you live in or the space you have but it is worth looking into. We have our own stingless bee hive as we live in Sydney. It is wonderful to see them buzzing around on days that are over 22 degrees, foraging for food all over our garden. They are small little insects but work so efficiently! The native stingless bees do not provide as much honey as the european bee but in about 6 months we should have some to share! Exciting!
  • Which plants rely on bees to be pollinated? Which plants rely on wind?
  • Is beekeeping sustainable? Should we be keeping honey bees in Ausrtalia or rely more on the native stingless bee? (The use and management of natural resourcesand waste, and the different views on how to do this sustainably (ACHASSK090)
  • Explore the bee populations of the world. Use tables to gather this information. IS there a decline in the bee population? If there is, what is causing this problem? What can we do?

SCIENCE

  • Many bees in the wild are being effected by pesticides. Explore the alternatives to using pesticides in your garden.
  • Go on an insect hunt. Spend some time outside recording the different types of insects that are alive in a specified area. Create a graph to record the data.
  • Which flowers do bees like to gather pollen from? Explore your local area to see which flowers the bees in your area love. Perhaps you can plant some bee attractive flowers?

Mathematics

  • Explore the patterns in bee hives! (Link to Geometry/2d and 3d shape in numeracy strand) 
  • Explore the Fibonacci sequence in flowers and plants. You will be amazed at how mathematical nature is!

Geography

  • Research the different species of bees in your country. Where do they live, how far do they forage from there hive?
  • Where can honeybees live in your country? Where can native bees live? What sort of temperature, terrain and conditions do they need?

History

  • Explore the history of european beekeeping(The role that a significant individual or group played in shaping a colony (ACHASSK110)
  • How was beekeeping influenced the food economy in your country?

Creative arts

  • Create your own bee dance.
  • Create a poem using the pictures in the story.
  • Create your own recipe which requires honey as a key ingredient.

 

I’d like to thank http://www.readingisourthing.com/portfolio/bee-patricia-hegarty-and-britta-teckentrup/ for sharing this book and image with me! Please visit them on Instagram at @readingisourthing 

Mechanica: A beginner’s field Guide by Lance Baldachin.

How would our planet look if insects did not exist?

Can butterflies be beautiful and brutal?  

Are drones a necessary evil? 

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Mechanica: A beginner’s field guide by Lance Baldachin is a picture book for those who love the earth but wonder what is to become of it if we keep treating it the way we do.

It is circa 2250 and the earth is devoid of any natural life due to human destruction and consumption. However, mechanical creatures have been made to replace what was lost – though these are not always as kind as they look!

This very impressive picture book with detailed diagrams of futuristic insects, small animals and birds captured my attention immediately.

Children will love reading the details about each creature and looking at the intricate designs Lance has included.

There is a glimmer of hope in the Addendum – perhaps nature will always fight us and our consuming ways.

How can you use this book at home or in the classroom?

Science

  • With every animal in the story try to compare and contrast it to a real animal in your own country (if possible) (Links in to higher order thinking skills)
  • Choose any insect in our world and explore how that insect helps us to grow food, keep soil healthy or rid waste.
  • Create your own Mechanica creature. Give it a new name. Outline the details similar to Lance Baldachin descriptions.
  • Create the life cycle for these Mechanica. How is their life cycle altered when they turn bad?
  • What are drones? Explore the history of drones and wonder if we really need them….

Geography

  • Using a world map find out where these futuristic creatures live. Ask why they might live in these regions and not others.
  • What sort of Mechanica could live in your home town?

Literacy

  • Write a journal from the perspective of Miss Liberty Crisp. Outline her journey through the Orient, her experiences in Saraswati and her excursion to the National History Museum.
  • Write a persuasive outlining to others the importance of starting to take care of the world we live in. Present this in a TV advert – make it catchy, straight to the point yet entertaining.

Art

  • Create your own mechanics using recycled materials. Find old nails, bolts, cutlery etc. Not only are you creating something from waste but you are also alerting children on how much waste we do create!

 

Welcome to future Earth.
Despite repeated warnings, the environment has become polluted to such an extent that many areas of the globe have become uninhabitable, and wildlife is now extinct.
From the ashes, a new style of ‘wildlife’ is created. Wildlife that will not remain harnessed by humankind.

Welcome to the world of Mechanica.

Back Cover: Mechanica – Lance Balchin