The coral Kingdom by Laura Knowles and Jennie Webber

The time is now, the chance is brief!

Stand up and save the coral reef!

Amazing pictures lie deep within this great Australian Geographic picture book, alongside a rhyming story that will teach young readers all about the coral reef and the creatures that live there.

As you journey below the water line you will see how the coral reef is created, how animals interact with it and how human behaviour is causing damage.

The bleaching of the coral reef is touched upon – not dwelled upon – which is important for young readers. Instead, easy tips and suggestions are offered within the story and at the end with a page full of suggestions.

The illustrations are spellbinding and add so much to the short story – giving you the parent or teacher to talk about that creature and how they live in the water with the reef.

Teaching children about the coral reef is a really important issue right now due to the damage that has been done. This book is a great way to start to teach your children about the small things that they can do to make a difference in the future of the planet (and hopefully their small steps will be followed by their parents bigger steps!)

The coral Kingdom by Laura Knowles and Jennie Webber is an excellent book for children of all ages, and one which links in nicely with science, geography and sustainability.

So what else can you do with this book

SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

  • Visit the end pages of this and choose an animal you would like to research further.
  • Seek out the suggestions at the end of the story as to how you can save the GBR.
  • Find newspaper articles about the GBR and what is happening to it. Seek out both positive and negative stories.
  • Sign or create a petition about the GBR urging the government to stop coal mining and dredging of the land and sea near the reef.

LITERACY

  • Link up all the rhyming words used. Find more words that rhyme with these words and try to create a few lines that you could add to this story about the coral reef.

NUMERACY

  • How much of the GBR has been bleached?
  • How many different types of animals live in the GBR?
  • If the GBR was destroyed how many less tourists might come to Australia?

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 The Coral Kingdom

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The street beneath my feet by Charlotte Guillain and Yuval Zommer

Have you ever wondered what is underneath the road, path or bush track you are walking on?

Have you ever dug down just a little and noticed a change in soil type or creatures?


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Well this just might be the book for you!  The street beneath my feet by Charlotte Guillain and Yuval Zommer is not only a colourful and informative book, it also folds out to around three metres in length! 

As you unfold each page you are taken deeper and deeper underground , exploring different life forms, buried rubbish, fossils, ancient artefacts, underground rivers and different types of rock.

This book will ignite so many conversations of how we use the underground world for our own benefit and perhaps might make you think what we are destroying in order to get to rocks like coal which we seem to think we desperately need.

Children will love to see the hot lava and magma which bubbles underneath our feet and the glorious gemstones which are created by this heat.

Rocks and different parts of soil are so important to the health of plants and animals which live on earth and through reading this book you can really talk about the importance of looking after the soil by thinking about what you throw in the bin, what you place down the drain and how you dig things up!

But overall I think the winning aspect of this book is the fact that is does fold out and the children can move through the soils – gaining some idea of the depth soil goes to.

A great read and one for budding environmentalists, scientists, historians and geographers!

So what else can you do?

 – Have a read of another book about soil

– Dig a hole and look at how the colour changes as you go down. Look at what is in the soil sample – animals, insects, rocks or rubbish?

– Conduct your own science experiment and see the best type of soils for plants to grow in. Learn about how much of a role soil plays in the life of a seed. Try sand, dry dirt, wet dirt, potting mix, compost etc. Place them all in the same location and give them a similiar amount of water. Predict and then watch!

– Explore the rocks we use for buildings, science and energy. Where do they come from? How do we get them out? Are they running out and are there alternatives?

– Could you create another book in this style? What could the topics be?

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Milo and the magical stones

 

Symbiosis

A strange word I used to associate only with the rainforest  – strangler figs, leaf cutter ants and fungus and many plants and butterflies. All of these works in different symbiotic ways – negative and positive. Which is very similar to the way humans and the planet work together.

As the population of the planet increases and we all want more, we are working against the planet by not giving it enough time to grow and survive.

Milo and the magical stones by Marcus Pfister is a beautifully written story that allows the reader to decide how they think the mice should treat the island that they live on. A mice named Milo finds a magical stone and then discovers there are many more. He is told by the wise mouse, Balthazar that if they are going to all take a stone each that they must give something back to the island. The reader can then choose to pursue the ‘Happy ending’ or the ‘Sad ending’ to see how symbiotic relationships can blossom or fail.

By allowing children to choose which path they take allows them to think about the path they would take and also see the outcome of the opposing path.

There are many actions in our daily lives where we can choose to make a difference to the planet we live on.

This books provides a simple start for children (and adults) to start to become more conscious of the actions they take on a daily basis.

Teaching tips

  •  Ask students to write down different activities they do each day and then with a partner work out how this action could be more environmentally friendly.
  • Write a letter to their parents outlining how they can make small changes to work in a positive way towards the environment.
  • Compare this story to a real life current situation (coal mining and land degradation, tree logging and soil degradation, large scale deep sea fishing and loss of habitats and species, land clearing for farming or housing and lack of green space). Use a Venn diagram to make the comparison easier. Use current newspaper articles, images and videos for younger students.

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NSW Curriculum links:

Geography

Stage 1:  Features of places.

Stage 2: The Earth’s environment

Stage 3: A diverse and connected world.

Science

Stage 1: Earth and space, Living world