Thursday, January 12, 2012

STEM Friday: Sea Turtles (National Geographic Readers)

Sea Turtles (National Geographic Readers)
written by Laura Marsh
2011 (National Geographic)
Source: Orange County Public Library

Check out STEM Friday at Capstone Connect

What I really like about National Geographic Readers is how they are great vehicles for teaching nonfiction text features to primary students. In Sea Turtles, you get a world map that shows where these reptiles travel. All of the continents and oceans are labeled. There is a fabulous two page spread of a green sea turtle where labels abound. You learn that the scales are called scutes and that sea turtles can't pull their heads in like land turtles. This information makes for an opportunity to teach contrasts. A cool bubble map could be created in highlighting the seven kinds of sea turtles. It also presents the opportunity to do a little extra research on each species. Valuable vocabulary words like endangered and instinct are also featured. There are two sections near the end that spotlight dangers to sea turtles. The first section talks about fishing nets catching turtles. Another problem are the lights of buildings near the beach which confuse sea turtles who think the light is natural and gravitate toward that light. The second section shows volunteers who rescued sea turtles caught in the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A diagram telling students how to help the turtles finishes the book.

When you are trying to teach nonfiction text features, you want a simple text that can highlight the feature and not be too complex. Sea Turtles has that quality which makes it a prime candidate for use in a K-2 classroom. Click on this link to see a video that is an excellent accompaniment to the book.

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