Friday, August 29, 2014

Using Picture Books to Teach Science and Other Subjects

For my post today, I thought I would share with you how you can use picture books to science and other subject areas.  I chose a few picture books that are currently on the shelf at my home.  Some of what I might share is obvious, but in other books, you might have to engage your child by using questions about the story to lead to learning in other areas.  What I really hope you take away from this are ideas about how to use picture books for activities other than just to teach your child to read.  Depending on the child, you could potentially use picture books as a supplement all the way up through middle school.  Let's get started!


Curious George in the Snow by Margaret & H.A. Rey: 

In this story, George and the man with the yellow hat are visiting a winter sports competition.  As usual, George and his curious ways leads to some interesting activities.  In this book, it is sledding down the hill on different contraptions, including a giant pizza pan!  From this story, you could develop a variety of science activities.  You and your child could investigate snow, or winter sports, or even how an inclined plane works.  Based on the age and ability of the child, you choose how technical you get.

God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren

God Gave Us You is a sweet picture book about a conversation between a polar bear mama and cub.  This book could be used as part of your Bible lesson curriculum.  The story includes a repetition of the phrase, "God Gave Us You," with the polar bear mama teaching the cub that God was the reason she was part of their family.  That is really the message of the book.  But you could also use it to teach about life in the arctic.  There are many animals in the book including polar bears, seals, foxes, whales, penguins, and caribou.  The illustrations are beautiful and this book would be great if you wanted to study different biomes or climates and the wildlife that live there.

If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Laura Joffe Numeroff has written a series of "If You Give" books and they are a great tool to teach reading.  But there are many other wonderful things hidden within the stories too.  If You Give a Moose a Muffin lends itself to teaching about baking, making homemade jam, gardening, sewing, and painting.  There are so many fun and creative activities you can create with this particular picture book.  I once used of her other books in the series, If You Give a Pig a Pancake, as a springboard for a writing activity.  I read the book to my sixth graders, then had them rewrite the story about something that was interesting to them.  They had to follow the "If You Give" format, and bring the story full circle, like the author does in the book.  That was probably the most fun writing assignment I worked on with my students ever.

 The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Snowy Day is a very simple story about a little boy going out in the snow to play, the adventures he finds and what happens to a snowball he brings home with him.  This story would be a great tool to teach about different types of matter and what happens when something changes from a solid to a liquid.  You might even perform a science experiment with this book during the wintertime if you live in a snowy area.

There are so many fun ideas and activities and lessons you can draw from picture books.  It also works the other way around.  If you want to teach a certain subject area, google whatever your lesson is about and the term picture books.  This will work for many subject areas.  There are even picture books that will help children with mathematical concepts!

I hope this simple little post has sparked your imagination with different ways to include picture books in your lessons and make learning fun, yet simple for kids.  Blessings to you on your homeschool journey and happy reading!


This post originally appeared at Growing Your Homeschool.

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