Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Bibliography for Middle Schoolers

We just shared the following bibliography with a local middle school teacher who is having WATER as his classroom theme all this year. If you are looking for something for your middle schooler, this is a good place to start. If you need a different book recommendation, send an email to askwater@aqua.wisc.edu.

Happy reading!

Easy Readers

Cole, Joanna, and Bruce Degen. The Magic School Bus At the Waterworks. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1986.

Cole, Joanna, and Bruce Degen. The Magic School Bus On the Ocean Floor. New York: Scholastic, 1992.

Locker, Thomas. Water Dance. Orlando: Harcourt, 1997.

Van Allsburg, Chris. The Wreck of the Zephyr. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1983.

Chapter Books

Hamilton, Virginia, and Jerry Pinkney. Drylongso. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1997.

Henkes, Kevin. Bird Lake Moon. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books, 2008.

Hiaasen, Carl. Flush. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.

Park, Linda Sue. A Long Walk to Water: a Novel. New York: Clarion Books, 2010.

Philbrick, Nathaniel. Revenge of the Whale: the True Story of the Whaleship Essex.New York: G.P. Putnam, 2002.

Rhodes, Jewell Parker. Ninth Ward. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2010.

Richards, James. Three Rivers Rising: a Novel of the Johnstown Flood.


Bang, Molly. Nobody Particular: One Woman's Fight to Save the Bays. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2000.

Berne, Jennifer and Eric Puybaret. Manfish: a Story of Jacques Cousteau. San Francisco [CA]: Chronicle Books, 2008.

Cohen, Sheila. Gaylord Nelson: Champion for Our Earth. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2010.

Lawlor, Laurie, and Laura Beingessner. Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World. New York: Holiday House, 2012.

Nivola, Claire A. Life in the Ocean: the Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle. New York: Frances Foster Books, Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012.


Ballard, Robert D. Exploring the Titanic. New York: Scholastic, 1988.

Jenkins, Steve. Down, Down, Down: a Journey to the Bottom of the Sea. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.

McKinney, Barbara Shaw, and Michael S Maydak. A Drop around the World. Nevada City, Calif.: Dawn Publications, 1998.

Pringle, Laurence. Ice! The Amazing History of the Ice Business. Honesdale, Pennsylvania : Calkins Creek, 2012.

Wargin, Kathy-Jo, and Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen. The Edmund Fitzgerald: Song of the Bell. Chelsea, Mich.: Sleeping Bear Press, 2003.

Wick, Walter. A Drop of Water: a Book of Science and Wonder. New York: Scholastic, 1997.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fizz, Boom, Read: Exploring Environmental Science!

Need more ideas for your library's "Fizz, Boom, Read!" summer reading program?

Here is another book available for check-out from UW MAdison's Water Library that could help you pair children's and young adult literature with STEM art projects, crafts and experiments.

Exploring Environmental Science with Children and Teens by Eileen G. Harrington

Environmental science is a crucial, and too often missed, part of STEM curriculum. This unique and informative book provides ideas for environmental science programming in schools and libraries. Exploring Environmental Science with Children and Teens provides brilliant ideas for craft, team projects and observation activities. One section even outlines step-by-step advice for creating and sustaining an ongoing "green-themed" book clubs in your library.

Harrington's excellent book is unique as a manual for guiding children and young adults to become actively involved in environmental and citizen science long after they have left the library or classroom. In addition to craft and story-time ideas, Harrington includes learning outcomes for activities, information for young people to get involved in large-scale citizen science projects and tips for doing projects as a family.

Another notable section includes information so students can start their own environmental action clubs. The book encourages students to pick a passion, such as campaigning for composting or another pressing community issue, and form the club from that point. This section helps give educators ideas for inspiring young people to get active in their own communities. 

An excellent book for this year's "Fizz, Boom, Read!" Summer Reading Program!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pairing Picture Books with Science Experiments

The 2014 theme for the Wisconsin Public Library summer reading program is "Fizz, Boom, Read." This theme has the potential to promote the power of observation and experimentation in everyday life.

The Water Library's outreach efforts to Head Start and 4K programs in Wisconsin includes pairing picture books with art projects and science experiments. The Water Library actively collects materials to encourage the integration of science into literature and art for children and has great resources available for developing "Fizz, Boom, Read" story times in your library.

Books to help you develop your own science "Picture-Perfect Pairings":

Picture Perfect Science is a series of great curriculum books designed to align story-time themes with science experiments and standards-based science lessons published by the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) Press.

The Picture Perfect books are divided into themes and provide descriptions of picture books, grade levels, activities and experiments for each theme. The books also provide topics for discussions and journal entries. The variety of activities helps children to discover science through multi-sensory engagement and reflect on their experiences.

The "Be a Friend to Trees" theme includes picture book pairings and more.

Journal entry and discussion topic prompts will help library patrons engage in the theme.

 The Water Library offers three of the books in the series, including:

Expanded 2nd Edition Picture-Perfect Science

More Picture-Perfect Science Lessons

Even-More Picture-Perfect Science Lessons

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Book Review - Education and the Environment

The Water Library continuously acquires books about integrating STEM curriculum into the classroom and more generally into our work with preschool outreach. Throughout June the Aqualog will be reviewing some of the newest STEM-based curriculum books.

Education and the Environment by Gerald A. Lieberman is a forward-thinking publication designed to help educators introduce students to environmental education across subject curriculum.

Lieberman, a curriculum expert and founding director of the State Education and Environment Roundtable, provides guidance for integrating environmental education into subjects such as communication arts, mathematics, science, and history through the use of  "community investigations and service learning." Lieberman's novel approach to environmental education emphasizes connections between communities in nature and their relationship with human activities. The book provides ample information to help educators connect "academic content with local investigations" for a truly unique environmental education experience that gives students an understanding of the issues in their own communities.

Education and the Environment is available for loan at UW-Wisconsin's Water Library and can be requested online through Library Catalog.Please email askwater [at] aqua.wisc.edu

Friday, April 18, 2014

National [Water] Poetry Month

The Water Library would like to celebrate National Poetry Month by presenting some of our favorite water-related poems. 

Here are links to a few favorites. We will post more throughout the next two weeks of April!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Weather Wheels at Ho Chunk Nation Head Start

The librarians from UW-Wisconsin's Water Library recently did some STEM story time and outreach activities with the students at Ho Chunk Nation's Head Start Program in Baraboo, WI. 

The theme was rain, as part of the water cycle, and the students did a "weather wheel" craft. One student colored their weather wheel almost entirely with pink, purple and yellow marker. When asked the types of weather days the drawings represented the student responded by pointing to each picture and saying: 

"This is a really nice day, this is a pretty day, this is a beautiful day and this is a cloudy day!"

Either this student does not actually live in Wisconsin, or she has a very positive outlook about the long winter. 

You might even say this student has a very sunny disposition ; ) 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Review! On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson, Author of Silent Spring

Throughout March, The Water Library's book display is highlighting books featuring female explorers, environmentalists, scientists and scientific activists for Women's History Month.

On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson by William Souder was published in 2013 and made an excellent addition to The Water Library's collection. 

Rachel Carson made environmentalism a topic of discussion in the United States with the publication of her book Silent Spring, but her life and writing spanned far beyond that single publication. Souder's biography carefully traces the many events of Carson's life that inextricably linked her to a deep sense of compassion and curiosity for the Earth. The narrative details the post-World War II fear that led to the overuse and promotion of chemicals in everyday life alongside Carson's burgeoning interest in fisheries and ecology. From the first paragraphs of On a Farther Shore there is a sense of the incredible impact Carson had on the popular conception of environmentalism: The book opens with a description of a press conference delivered by John F. Kennedy in 1962 when Kennedy alluded to Carson's book Silent Spring in response to the inquiries of a news reporter. 

Souder writes, "In this brief exchange something new came into the world, for this was a cleaving point--the moment when the gentle, optimistic proposition called 'conservation' began its transformation into the bitterly divisive idea that would come to be known as 'environmentalism.'"

William Souder's On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson is a compelling read. Souder offers great insight into the origins of environmental activism and the roots of Rachel Carson's legacy. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teaching all about the Great Lakes!

The library is currently researching Great Lakes teaching material for a library patron. There are so many great resources out there that might be of interest to our readers... here is just a sampling:

GREAT LAKES LITERARY PRINCIPLES: From Ohio Sea Grant, eight essential principles and fundamental concepts for Great Lakes learning which support an understanding of the Great Lakes’ influences on you and your influence on the Great Lakes. Link.

FRESH AND SALT CURRICULUM: Fresh and Salt is a collection of activities connecting Great Lakes and ocean science topics to enhance teacher capabilities for accessing science information in Great Lakes and ocean sciences. Designed to be used by teachers in grades 5-10, this exemplary collection provides teachers with an interdisciplinary approach to ensure students achieve optimum science understanding of both Great Lakes and Ocean Literacy Principles. A varied range of instructional modes is offered, including data interpretation; experimentation; simulation; interactive mapping; and investigation. Link.

NOAA EDUCATION RESOURCES - GREAT LAKES ECO-SYSTEMS: Very complete and detailed look at materials for use in teaching about the Great Lakes on a variety of topics from invasive species to hazards to watershed science.  Link.

Do you have a favorite resource? We'd love to hear about it. Just send a message to askwater at aqua.wisc.edu.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Our Big Fat Winter Experiment

On January 21st The Water Library conducted a snow-science-themed story time. The experiment to accompany the stories is called 'Blubber Gloves.'

'Blubber Gloves' is an experiment designed to simulate how blubber works to protect some mammals (like seals) from freezing during the winter. It is also a great use of all that Crisco-brand shortening you have lying around....

To conduct this experiment:

'Blubber Gloves' experiment video...

Put about 2 cups of Crisco (or other vegetable shortening) into a gallon-size zipper bag.
Put your hand into a separate gallon-size zipper bag and insert your bagged hand into the bag of shortening.
Spread the shortening evenly between the two bags, avoiding the topmost portion of the bags
Fold over the lip of the inside and outside bags and then duct tape around the folded lips

Have children put their hands into a bucket/bowl of ice water without any kind of glove until it becomes uncomfortably cold
Have children then put on the Blubber Glove and see how long they can hold their hand in the ice water

Here is a photo of the experiment in action from a blog called 'Frog-tasticfirstgrade.blogspot.com'

And here is another photo from 'Msbrownsgrade2class.blogspot.com'

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Fulfill New Year's Resolutions at The Water Library!

Resolve to....

Camp in the winter wilderness with Paradise Below Zero by Calvin Rutstrum!

Originally published in 1968, this book is perfect for people seeking adventure during winter break. Calvin Rutstrum's classic guide to winter-weather camping advises on the basics like mittens and footwear, but also advises on advanced techniques and equipment.

Learn to ice fish with Ice Fishing Secrets by Al Linder, Dough Stange, & Dave Genz
And/Or Fishing on Ice by Noel Vick

Both books cover ice-fishing techniques for beginning-advanced fishermen. These books have detailed information about species, locations and water patterns for freshwater angling. Helpful recommendations about equipment are also key in both books.

Appreciate children's literature with The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Snowy Day is a favorite winter tale loved by millions. Keats adeptly captures the wonder of childhood discoveries with his bright story and matching artwork. This book is the 1963 Caldecott winner.

Learn more about science with The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson, Ph.D.

The Story of Snow highlights real images of snow crystals and snowflakes in order to answer questions about how snow forms. A great book for snow enthusiasts and snow-hating children alike. BONUS: Instructions for catching snowflakes also included.