Using Children's Picturebooks to Develop Critical Thinking Skills and Science Practices in Grades 3rd-5th
thesisposted on 01.01.2015, 00:00 by Emily Cleveland
Science literacy among US adults is extremely low and interest in science related careers is declining. In an era where environmental challenges pose a significant threat to humanity, it is imperative that the generation of students who grow to inherit this problem be scientifically literate and interested in science issues. By capitalizing on positive science attitudes in primary grades, teachers can alter this trend by developing critical thinking skills and science practices in order to build a foundation of knowledge and skills for subsequent secondary science learning. Picturebooks can provide relevance and context for meaningful science learning; develop visual and text literacy, and present science as an approachable, interesting discipline. This project is intended to explain the benefits and justifications for using picturebooks to promote critical thinking and development of science practices and how to select appropriate books for classroom use. Accompanying this project is an analysis of ten exemplary picturebooks for teaching science. A template is used to evaluate these ten books and explain the qualities that make each book an effective teaching tool. In addition, examples of classroom activities that meet Next Generation Science Standards Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Common Core Informational Literacy Standards are presented. It is intended that this project will serve as a useful resource for educators looking to enrich science learning for students in 3rd through 5th grade.