Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What Is It Made Of?: Noticing Types of Materials

What Is It Made Of?
written by Martha E.H. Rustad; illustrated by Christine M. Schneider
2016 (Millbrook Press)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Ms. Sampson asks, "Would it work to make a window out of wood? Or a shirt out of glass?"

Most of us take for granted what materials make up the things that we use. I grab my laptop and turn it on. I never consider what makes up the computer. I'm probably more interested in how many likes my pet photo got on Facebook. Thankfully, the kids in Ms. Sampson's class are different than me. They're excited after playing a guessing game about materials. A quick observation of the classroom yields seven different materials that are present. Next, students use their sense of touch to categorize materials on a table. After that, a treasure hunt around the school helps the class fill out a chart that further categorizes materials by color, texture, and weight. Shockingly, old snack in a desk is not one of the materials found. What the students observe is that there is definitely a purpose behind the choice of materials for the things they use. The culminating activity for Ms. Sampson's class is to build a sculpture in art class using different materials.

Matter is a fun subject to study. K-1 classes will be set up nicely for this unit by reading What Is It Made Of? I'm all for encouraging observation and categorization. This helps across the curriculum. The books in the Nature's Patterns series are also cheerfully illustrated and realistic in how young students react to fun science. I like their enthusiasm!

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