My students are crazy about Sarah Albee's nonfiction books. Each year during our nonfiction unit Poop Happened: A History of the World from the Bottom Up gets passed around the classroom as if it were contraband. It's almost as if simply by holding it in their hands, they're breaking the rules and they love it! Last week I brought in Bugged: How Insects Changed the World and handed the book to the student I had promised it to, and she began jumping up and down. I don't have Poison: Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions and Murderous Medicines yet, but I'm expecting the same kind of response when I add it to our collection. In addition to the above trailer, Sarah has a bunch of other videos for Poison that highlilght stories she was unable to fit in the book. When I saw the one about Ponce De Leon below, I immediately thought about the fifth graders in my school who do reports each year on explorers. Be sure to check out Sarah's activity, too!
Activity Name: The Dark Side of the Periodic Table
Activity Description: Choose one element from the periodic table that is also mentioned in the book (arsenic, mercury, thallium, polonium, radium, phosphorous, etc). Research the element using the book and other sources, and write a paragraph, or make a list, of different products used by humans that are made from that element, or compounds that contain that element, both useful and nefarious, both historical and today.
Whether it be for one specific student, a small group of kids, or a whole class, finding a "just right" book makes the teacher's and the students' day.