School and Library Programs
I offer four book reading and science workshops for elementary schools, libraries and home school groups. Programs generally run an hour, though for preschool and kindergarten students, I can shorten them to a more suitable half-hour. Please feel free to contact me about any of these programs, or related topics I may be able to offer.
Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons/Comparative Anatomy Workshop
This program is best suited for children in first through third grades but has been adapted for older and younger groups.
In this workshop, we will review the bones in the human body and learn how they compare with those of other vertebrates. The topic will be taught through a variety of hands-on activities including Simon Says with bones, an opportunity for students to put together a completely disarticulated human skeleton, and the reading of Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons. Children will additionally have the opportunity to examine bones from a giraffe, a bat, a dog, a dolphin and a snake. There will be an opportunity for questions and student-lead discussion. Topics generally fall into the categories of how one writes a nonfiction science book, veterinary medicine and human biology.
Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks and Chompers/Comparative Anatomy Workshop
This program is best suited for children in first through fourth grades but has been adapted for older and younger groups.
In this workshop, children will learn the types of teeth mammals (including humans) have. We will examine skulls of various animals including a horse, a cow, a rabbit, a dog, a woodchuck, a pig and a human, and identify the types of teeth. Students will review the differences between omnivores, herbivores and carnivores, and see how tooth shape and size vary with diet. Then we will read Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks and Chompers. There will be an opportunity for questions and student-lead discussion. Topics generally fall in to the categories of how one writes a nonfiction science book, veterinary medicine and human biology.
Meet the Vet
This program is best suited for children in preschool through second grade.
In this workshop children bring stuffed animals and invent medical issues for them. Using real instruments and supplies, I walk the students through how I would diagnose and treat their sick “pets” as though they were real. Children participate in hands-on activities such as pretending to wash up for surgery, adjusting the anesthesia machine, giving vaccines and interpreting (real) x-rays. In the process, they learn about anatomy, physiology and disease, and about how similar our bodies are to animals’ bodies. There will be an opportunity for students to listen to their own hearts with stethoscopes and ask questions.
Field Guide to a School Yard/Classification and Identification of Plants and Animals
This program is best suited to children in third through sixth grades, though I also do a version of this program with undergraduate college students. It can be adapted for audiences of any age, including teacher training programs.
In this workshop, I teach students to identify the interesting plants and animals that live in their school yards. We start with a discussion inside of what animals and plants they think they will find outside. We then classify the animals, learning the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates and the categories in each, and learn the different categories of plants. And then we go outside to observe and identify what is living around them. Most school yards have fascinating plants, including ones that have natural dyes children can draw with and ones that are edible. Teachers often use this program as a start to a “field guide to the school yard” project in which the students do further research, writing, and drawing to create their own individual or group field guides.