Category Archives: Writing Connections

Apple Botany: “An Apple a Day” Notebooking Pages

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Apple Nature Study for September … and Beyond!

{First published 7/26/12… Revised 9/5/16}

September is for apple picking… Here in New England, the days are still summer-y, but the nights are cool and crisp. And doesn’t it seem like the skies are getting bluer? You might see that the leaves on most of the trees are still be green, but, in the foothills, the red maples are just starting to color up.

You likely are still trying to get some outdoor time with your kids. So I have a great set of notebooking pages to go along with your nature studies this month!

science strategies apple botany

In New England, autumn brings out fall colors… and apple picking! {Photo credit: (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2010}

What’s in “An Apple a Day?”

This collection of botany journaling pages focuses on the structure of the apple blossom and the formation of the fruit. The 20-page set includes both primary and regular-lined pages, so it is suitable for grades K-4. The detailed botanical drawings show both a simple fruit cross-section, as well as the parts of the apple flower and fruit.

In addition to the above diagrams, this e-book also has pages for vocabulary work, free writing and so much more! For example, you can use the blank illustration pages, as well as a variety of frames and lined pages, for a variety of science journaling, laboratory response and writing activities. Furthermore, you can customize your set by printing out only the pages that you want.

Click on the images below for views of some of the pages of this 20-page set.

You can download this e-book ~ just click on the “Buy Now” button below the banner. Then, we will send a link for the download, to the email you give on the order form, within 24 hours of receipt of your payment. Thank you!

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Teaching Geography? 7 Hands-On Items that You MUST Have!

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Earth Science Strategies #2: Using Hands-on Materials

In the last post, I showed you how using models was an important way to teach earth science to young children. Now let’s talk about using hands-on materials as another earth science strategy. We’ll also see how teaching geography in your earth science lessons is easy, using the right materials.

Do you work in a preschool classroom or with young adults? No matter what age your students, you will love this list of models and concrete objects for the geography classroom. So, even if you’re not a Montessori teacher, you will see the usefulness of these items, for any grade. So let’s see which ones you need for YOUR classroom. {Then click on the links for more information.}

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Globes are useful for teaching geography through earth science work. {Photo via Creative Commons}

Teaching Geography Using Physical and Visual Models

Physical Models of the Earth and Its features

The more a material resembles the real object of study, the easier it is for students to understand it. So, start teaching geography and geology using models that are 3-dimensional images of the earth and its surface features.

#1 ~ Globes: There are many globes to choose from. First, use a physical globe with realistic colors for land and water , useful for all ages. {Always start with a globe that represents land and water using natural colors: green, brown, white, blue.} Maybe turn it upside down for a great conversation starter about “up” and “down” in space!

#2 ~ Land and Water Models:  Next, let students explore land and water features using water and models of basic surface features: island and lake, peninsula and gulf, isthmus and straight. Use these ready-made Montessori land and water forms, or make your own.

http://simplesciencestrategies teaching geography

Begin globe work that use two colors, only: green for land masses and blue for water bodies. {Photo Credit (c) Jason Wilson, 2006 via Creative Commons}

Visual Models of Earth features: Photographs

So, your students have an understanding of the way the Earth looks from space. Now it’s time to use 2-dimensional images (i.e., photographs) to study geography and earth science.

#3 ~ Photos of the Earth from Space: Because I subscribe to National Geographic Magazine at home, I like to use images from the National Geographic website.   But you can also use Bing to find amazing images of the Earth from space. Post one on your SmartBoard for students to see as they enter the classroom ~ use it as a discussion starter!

#4 ~ Land and Water Form Photos: Don’t throw away old magazines! Tear out images and begin creating a picture file ~ the high-quality images are great for so many learning tasks. Don’t worry too much about sorting ~ leave your filing system open and flexible. Magazine photos make great prompts for writing, too {see this article on using picture prompts with English Learners}.

http://simplesciencestrategies.com teaching geography models

Use real photos of the Earth from space to spark discussion during earth science lessons. {Photo Credit of Hurricane Sandy (c) NASA/Rob Gutro, 2012 via Creative Commons}

More Visual Models of the Earth: Graphic aids

#5 ~ Climates of the World: Colorful posters about the regions of the Earth are great additions to earth science and geography work. For homeschool, we use the map that comes in the National Geographic magazine. We hang it within view of our work table. These two-sided maps often address bigger issues. For example, this month’s issue visually presents the changing Pacific coastline. In my classroom, I keep these maps in a file for student use.

#6 ~ Geography Nomenclature Cards:  Students use nomenclature cards to learn important concepts. Once students learn these concepts, the teacher then adds the label with the vocabulary word on it. While you can always buy nomenclature cards online, you don’t have to buy them. You can also download these FREE Montessori continents cards, or check out this Pinterest board for tons of other Montessori nomenclature materials. Or, if you’re handy, apply the ideas to create your own card sets, using concepts from your own geography curriculum.

#7 ~ Outline Maps: Students of all ages love maps. The Notebooking Treasury has thousands of blank outline maps to jump-start your geography lessons.  Check out the continent maps and the world maps, for starters. {If you want to try the notebook pages out first, download some FREE resources first — you’ll be very happy, believe me!}

http://simplesciencestrategies.com teaching geography climate

Posters and maps showing the climate and culture of a region are helpful additions to your geography and earth science studies. {Photo credit (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2016}

Time to Get Teaching!

In this post, I’ve shared just seven teaching materials that you must have, if you want to be a great geography teacher. Using these materials, teaching geography, in your earth science lessons, will be engaging and rich, for all ages.

What classroom supplies do YOU want to add to this list? Let me know in the comments section, below.

{Please note: this post contains some affiliate links. It also has links to some free and wonderful stuff that other educators are offering to all of us!}



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5 Tech Tools to Add Power to Your School Day

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Tech Tools for Homeschool and Classroom

The Oxford Dictionary defines a tool  as “a device or implement, especially one held in the hand, used to carry out a particular function.” In our classrooms, technology is everywhere. Teachers use it; students use it. But are we getting the most out of these products as tech tools?

In this post, we will look at five tech tools that you can add to your school day, without needing PD or a college course to use them. Not only are these great for the classroom, they add interest to homeschool and tutoring sessions, providing other ways for students to learn and practice material.

5 Tech Tools to Try

IXL Math and English

IXL is a comprehensive math and English language arts practice website for use by K-12 students and educators. A paid subscription ($12.95/mo, or $99/year) gets you unlimited access to thousands of Common Core Standards-based practice sets, progress monitoring, including reporting, and awards for the student as he masters standards. If you are a Canadian citizen, you are also directed to curriculum specific to your province.

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IXL Math and Language Arts – free, standards-based practice each day.

For those who don’t need the full subscription, free access gets you 20 practice problems per day — a great independent assignment to assess student progress on a particular standard. You don’t get the reporting feature, but I have my son photograph and text me the score screen to show me how he did on an assessment.

New content is posted to the site regularly, with new material for higher-level English on the way, and brand new apps to get access to the site on all your mobile devices.

Project Spark

Interested in teaching computer science to your students, but don’t know how? Sign up for Project Spark, and your kids will be coding with no help from you, at all.

In Project Spark, students use a video game setting and intuitive commands to create “worlds” run by “brains” (computer programs), creating characters and game-style actions (e.g., picking up objects, getting rewards) by writing their own html code. The interface is game-like, but the learning is straight-up computer science, with students learning about string variables, subroutines and other basic computer science concepts using drag-and-drop coding components.

Students can choose to publish their worlds for others to explore and use. If they don’t know how to do something (e.g., change the color or texture of a creature’s skin) there is a ton of Google-able content by other users.

The digital download is available free for Xbox One and Windows 8.1.

Dipity

Timelines are a great way for students to summarize their learning in history class. In my house, however, lives a young man who has always abhorred any activity that involved “cutting and gluing.” Using Dipity, an online timeline-building tech tool, he can create beautiful timelines, complete with photographs and links to online resources — a great way to create a multimedia presentation, using simple cut-and-paste functions.

Users can change backgrounds, fonts and timeline markers not only to create timelines, but also to document their learning over the year, to create visual guides to their reading over the semester, or to chronicle important events in their own lives — the options are limitless.

http://simplesciencestrategies.com tech tools

Use Dipity to create stunning, interactive timelines online.

Users can create a few timelines free, or subscribe to Dipity Premiums (subscriptions start at $4.95/mo) for more timelines and premium backgrounds and effects.

Bing Home

For a great tech tool that can become a great addition to your students’ independent work, look no further than the Bing home page.

You probably have noticed that the Bing home page image, which changes daily, is always visually stunning and generates many questions. But have you ever noticed the little squares on the Bing home screen? These clickable spots on the daily image lead to great content on the image, using Bing’s own highly rated search function.

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Use the Bing Home image as a springboard for web-based research.

For example, in the image for today (11/10/2015), we see an overhead view of a shopping mall, which we learn is in Singapore (by clicking on the “info” button at the bottom of the screen). The clickable spots on the image lead to three other Bing tech tools, Bing images (of street shots in Singapore), Bing videos (showing shopping areas in Singapore) and Bing web search (with links to a renowned Hindu temple in Singapore).

You could use the Bing home page image to start a great web quest, or as a way for students to begin to explore a topic of study, to gather ideas for their own research project.

Bing offers many other tech tools for the classroom. All are free. You can choose to set Bing as your home page or simply type in www.bing.com to use the home page image.

Khan Academy

Need something for one of your advanced students to do while you work with her classmates? Does one of your students need a refresher on how to solve for x? Is your homeschooler interested in Neoclassical Art and you don’t know a thing about it? Khan Academy is a tech tool for you!

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Khan Academy lets students create a customized learning path.

With only an email address, you can start a class account and invite all your students, or set up accounts for each student, for free. You can assign placement tests for a particular subject, and Khan will build a customized practice plan for that student. Or you can let a student create his own learning profile, telling Khan Academy what he wants to study, and letting Khan recommend materials for him (a great “unschooling” tool).

No matter how you choose content, Khan keeps track of your students’ activities and progress, through their own individual dashboards, and a coaching report placed your teacher dashboard. Additionally, parents get a report on their child’s activities, via their email address. Students win badges for various tasks (minutes on Khan, mastery of a concept, videos watched).

Khan has an amazing wealth of short instructional videos for teachers and students (if you forgot how to read the periodic table, or use the FOIL method in algebra).

Khan Academy  is always free, all the time, and is available for PC or Mac OS.

Tech Tools for All Your Teaching Needs

Have you used any of these tech tools in your classroom or homeschool? Leave us a note to tell us how you included any of these in your routines.

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Power Thinking: Concept Mapping in Smart Notebook 2015

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Powerful Thinking… Powerful Learning

When we teach, we want students to learn. The more we can get them to think about the content we are presenting, the deeper and longer-lasting their learning becomes. In this post, we will explore Power Thinking, a concept mapping and outlining strategy that helps students organize information.

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Power Thinking: a great concept mapping and outlining strategy for all ages. {Image via Creative Commons}

What is Power Thinking?

Power Thinking is a strategy that students use to organize information, much like you would do in an outline. The most important piece of information, the title or topic, represents Level 1; main ideas are Level 2; other ideas or details become Level 3. Additional levels may be added, depending on the topic or the age of your students. For some students, the information can be color-coded by level, or the ideas can be numbered.

In the Power Thinking strategy, students stand in a circle in an open floor space and take turns placing pieces of information on the floor, building the map one piece at a time. When students run out of information to add, they may move one piece to another part of the map. In my classes, I usually conduct two rounds with information, then two rounds moving information, before ending the task.

The trick to Power Thinking is that the task is performed silently. This allows students who need more think time to process without classmates calling out answers or giving advice. It also requires students to think more deeply as they wait.

The Learning Benefits of Power Thinking

As with any concept mapping activity, Power Thinking helps students think about the many ways they can connect information, leading to a deeper understanding of the topic being studied. The hierarchical thinking that is used also helps students understand main ideas and supporting details. Older students can use this thinking to take better notes.

Power Thinking assists a wide range of learners, providing multiple entry points for the students in your class. The ability to stand and physically move items helps students who need a more active learning environment. Color cues, when used, aid in identifying levels of information, and help some students remember the levels later. Because there are many ways to connect pieces of information, students who are divergent thinkers are able to participate equitably, as well.

Concept Mapping Technology

Thanks to the plethora of educational technologies available in most classrooms today, students can practice concept mapping on many electronic devices. In this post, we will explore the use of the Smart Board and Smart Notebook 2015 software as concept mapping tools to use in Power Thinking.

Concept Mapping Using Smart Notebook 2015

The newest version of Smart Notebook includes built-in tools for concept mapping on your Smart Board.  Follow the steps below to make your Power Thinking Activity high-tech.

Before you teach:

  • Step 1. Open Smart Notebook 2015.
  • Step 2. Click the new concept mapping tool on the top tool bar.
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Smart Notebook 2015 includes a new concept mapping tool in the main tool bar.

  • Step 3. Prepare term cards for students. On notecards or pieces of sentence strip, write the terms and phrases that you want students to use in the concept mapping activity. {A practice set on bird eggs is included for your convenience.}

Power thinking:

  • Step 4. Pass out term cards to students. Each student should have at least two cards. Adjust the number of terms to match your class size.
  • Step 5. Students begin mapping. One at a time, students come to the board and create a map item by writing the term on their card, and circling it. Circling it causes the term to become a movable item on the Smart Board.
  • Step 6. Students connect items on the map. As students place their terms on the map, they can drag them to other terms and connect them by drawing a line between related items.
  • Step 7. Students move items. Once all the terms are on the board, continue with 1-2 additional rounds, allowing students to move one item to a new location, erasing and redrawing connections.

After teaching:

After the learning task is finished, you may save and print your concept map. Power Thinking can be repeated after instruction of key parts of the topic, and can also be used as a summative assessment after instruction is completed.

For an exciting collaborative twist on concept mapping, see the video, below, where students collaborate to build a concept map of words and photos using their individual mobile devices and the classroom Smart Board.

Get Mapping!

I hope you enjoy this concept mapping tutorial for use with your Smart Board. Happy mapping!

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Snowy Days Poetry Round-up

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Snowy Days in … March?

http://simplesciencestrategies.com snowy days

Here in New England, our calendar says it’s spring. Despite what the date is, we can experience snowy days in New England from October through March. We might have just celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, but we are having a winter that just won’t quit.

Whether you have a one day winter, or live in a place where winter lasts for months, you can tie snowy days into your literacy block through poetry.

In this Poetry Round-up, you can find snow-themed poems for your winter weather studies, or for a day like today, when winter weather sneaks into spring. So, get out your snowshoes and come along for this snowy ride…

 

Snowy Days Poetry for Poets of all Ages

Poetry is an amazing way to teach students about visualization. Because a poet has to create a strong feeling or image in a small space, the words used must be powerful, and well-chosen.

The poems I have chosen reflect the snowy days theme, grouped by grade level band. When choosing poetry for your homeschool or classroom, there are some rules that can help you select the proper reading level:

  1. Poetry is often more difficult for students to understand than stories. Look for the student’s reading level, and then choose the level below as a starting point.
  2. Practice a new skill or strategy with a poem that is easier to read. Don’t be afraid to use a poem that is “lower” than your child’s grade-level or usual reading-level. The child spends more energy understanding the poem then, rather than figuring out how to read the words.
  3. Students should hear the language of poems just a little beyond their reach. Choose a poem to read aloud that is from the band above where the child normally reads.

 

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Your Snowy Day Poetry Library

I like to have a range of levels of poetry in my classroom. Consider creating a snowy days theme basket, and adding poetry of a variety of levels for independent reading, read-aloud and small group literature circles.

  • PK/K ~ Incorporate songs and finger plays  about snowy days and winter weather into your daily routine
  • Grades 1/2 ~“Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening,” Robert Frost; Snow, Snow: Winter Poems for Children, Jane Yolen
  • Grades 3/5 ~“Snow,” Karla Kuskin; It’s Snowing! It’s Snowing! Winter Poems, Jack Prelutsky; “Jack Frost,” Gabriel Setoun; “The Ant and the Cricket,” Anonymous; “Winter-Time,” Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Grades 6/8 ~ “A Riddle ~ On Snow,” James Parton; “Picture Books in Winter,” Robert Louis Stevenson; “Talking in Their Sleep,” Edith M. Thomas; “Winter Sport,” Anonymous
  • Grades 9/12 ~ “Joe’s Snow Clothes,” Karla Kuskin

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Link Winter Studies to Literature

Add variety to your science lessons by beginning your science class with a poem or a passage about snowy days. When you link science and poetry you add interest to your lessons. You also show a link between science and literacy, and keep your students intrigued.

If you’re packing up your winter literature for the spring, tuck a few of your favorite winter-themed poetry books into a tub and start a snowy days theme basket ~ See my Swiss Family Robinson theme basket directions for details.

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Kindergarten Literacy and Science

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The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. ~ Albert Einstein

Kindergarten Literacy and the Common Core State Standards

There is a storm brewing in early childhood education land.

Recently, two educators began a discussion over the Common Core State Standards, and whether or not kindergartners should be required to read by the end of the year. The conversation is creating a greater discussion about what kindergarten literacy really is. The post below shares both sides of the issue.

Peter Greene vs Robert Pondiscio: Should Kindergartners Be Required to Read?

I wanted to LIKE this post a million times.

First, I want to clarify that I am NOT an opponent, in general, of the Common Core State Standards. I do, however, have some reservations about basing so much of what we do, as parents, educators and schools, on this one set of standards. I think we are at risk of losing the parts of kindergarten that help ensure that our kids become great readers later on in school.

 

What Should All Kindergartners Know, Understand and Do?

Most early learning standards include multiple domains as part of a child’s “curriculum framework,” including social skills, motor play, creative arts, and other areas as part of teaching the whole child. Math, reading, science and writing are included as the parts of the cognitive domain. Early learning standards typically follow a developmental range from approximately age 2 to age 6, which would include most kindergartners and even some first graders.

The Common Core State Standards, which have become the only standards most American public schools even discuss, focus only on language arts and mathematics. With such a pressure for students to do well on the high-stakes tests in the elementary grades, our early grades have become hyper-focused on guided reading, reading skills, reading assessments, and reading support groups. Mathematics might be in there, but we are often hard-pressed to find science and social studies. Creativity, motor play and other areas are relegated to “Fun Friday,” recess, or other teachers, in the form of “specials.” They now assume a “nice-to-have” status that is easy to cut out, when test scores reveal reading problems in higher grades. Science, nature study and outdoor exploration find no place in most kindergarten curriculum.

We really don’t children who can read and write. We want children who are readers, who are writers, who are literate in all senses of the word. We want them to be able to speak about many topics, to ask questions and figure out how to answer them, and who are lifelong learners. When we define kindergarten literacy narrowly as reading and writing, we have ignored the foundations of oral language, experiential learning and inquiry that create scholars.

 

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Rich learning experiences create opportunities for writing. {Photo credit: (c) Kim M. Bennett, 1996}

What is Kindergarten “Literacy?” How Should It Be Taught?

A report in the Washington Post outlines some interesting findings about the “new” kindergarten:

  • Many children are developmentally unready to read in kindergarten;
  • No research shows long-term gains from learning to read in kindergarten;
  • Play-based kindergartens show more long-term effects on learning than ones with a more academic focus;
  • Children learn from hands-on, playful experiences with materials, the natural world, and caring adults;
  • Active learning, conversation, and play give preschoolers the skills needed to be great readers in elementary school;
  • Teachers in successful, play-based kindergartens weave literacy and language into real-life experiences.
http://simplesciencestrategies.com kindergarten literacy

Kindergarten literacy includes a variety of receptive and expressive language opportunities. {Photo credit: (c) Kim M. Bennett, 1996}

 

It is sad to me to see kindergartens barren, no easels, no dramatic play. Construction centers and sensory tables disappeared long ago from most classrooms. Blocks and puppets have been replaced with skill worksheets and letter cards, and nature walks have moved aside to make room for “intervention” groups. We wonder why 2nd graders can’t follow a set of directions or solve math problems with counters, or why 3rd graders don’t know how to use a measuring cup or eyedropper in science class. All that “play” isn’t really play, is it?

When we give kids interesting things to do, they want to read about them, and write about them.

Two of my four children had very late birthdays, and were also readers before entering kindergarten. At home, they spent hours a day, exploring the outdoors and catching things in jars. They started school at age 4, and were four for a long while.

Could you pick them out in the class? Absolutely. Both by their rolling around on the floor and acting “immature” (read, like a preschooler), AND by their ability to read. They couldn’t sit still for longer than five minutes in class, but they knew the names of all the birds at the bird feeder, every insect in the garden, and the difference between a frog and a toad. Today, they would likely be considered not ready, age-wise, and their science knowledge would be  a footnote on the report card.

http://simplesciencestrategies.com kindergarten literacy

Conversation about real-life experiences creates a strong language base, essential for success in elementary literacy. {Photo credit: (c) Kim M. Bennett, 1996}

What are Your Thoughts on Kindergarten Literacy?

What are your thoughts on literacy in preschool and kindergarten? How do you feel the Common Core State Standards should be implemented in the early childhood years? Do you successfully weave science and the CCSS together in your kindergarten class? Leave a comment below.

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The Legendary Narwhal

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The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. {Jules Verne}

Winter Weather Not Fit for Man nor Beast? Look at the Narwhal!

It is February 15, 2015, and New England is being hit again by snow, below zero temperatures and hurricane force winds. Boston and other coastal cities are struggling to cope with more snow and depleted snow removal budgets. It would appear that all life needs to retreat to someplace warm and hunker out yet another round of winter weather here in the Northeast.

But there are amazing creatures that thrive in the very kind of weather and climate that causes us, humans, to cringe and run for cover. In the waters north of  New England, and all the way to the top of the blue marble we call home, there is one sea creature who is superbly made to withstand life in the icy waters of the extreme Northern Atlantic and under the ice floes of the Arctic Ocean: the narwhal.

Today is World Whale Day, and to celebrate the occasion, and to keep with our winter weather theme, let’s get up close and personal with this incredible, cold-loving whale.

 

Hearts for Home Blog Hop

 

The “Unicorn of the Sea” ~ the Narwhal

The narwhal, Monodon monoceros, the only living relative of the beluga whale, is a year-round resident of the frigid waters of the Arctic, off the coasts of Canada, Russia and Greenland. Its unique single tusk, which is really a tooth, makes the male narwhal readily identifiable by even the littlest whale enthusiasts. This tusk grows from 7’ to 10’ long, and points slightly upward, giving the narwhal another one of its names: Qilalugaq qernartaq (in Inuit, “the one that points to the sky”) {Female narwhals sport a much shorter tusk}. Scientists don’t really know why the narwhal has this long tusk, so it’s been the subject of much speculation and legend.

This mid-sized whale can grow to nearly 20 feet in length, and an adult male, at maturity, can weigh nearly two tons.

 

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Narwhal range and distribution. Hashed area represents winter range; dark area represents summer range. {Image credit: (c) Wikipedia, 2015}

 

Being a toothed-whale, narwhals are meat-eaters, dining on flatfish, cod, shrimp, squid and other ocean life that lives deep in the Arctic Ocean. While feeding, narwhals have demonstrated the ability to dive up to 5000 feet below the ocean surface, and remain submerged for up to 25 minutes without surfacing for a breath. Like many other sea mammals, the narwhal uses echolocation to find prey while hunting.

Like other whales, narwhals use a variety of clicks and calls to communicate with one another. As you can imagine, their icy home, deep-diving habits, and relative rareness make it hard for us to know a lot about the narwhal’s calls. Fortunately, there are marine scientists who specialize in the study of this rare Arctic resident. The Narwhal News Network recorded this audio clip of a pod of narwhals at night, off the coast of Greenland, on February 9, 2011:

 

http://simplesciencestrategies.com narwhals

A pod of narwhals, off the coast of Greenland in winter. {Click image to hear audio clip of narwhal communication, from the Narwhal News Network, February 9, 2011}

 

The Narwhal in Legend and Folklore

The name narwhal, itself, is an Old Norse word that means “corpse-like,” in reference to the mottled gray, white and black fur covering the whale’s body. It is said that the Vikings, a legendary sea-faring people, thought that the skin and shape of the narwhal’s body resembled the bloated, decaying body of sailors who had met their demise in the icy deep. Not a pretty picture…

Their unusual appearance has caused the narwhal to be the center of some interesting folktales and ideas over the centuries. Their horns have washed up on the shores of lands in the far North, adding credence to legends of unicorns and “proof” of their existence. Royalty over the centuries have paid small fortunes for these horns, although trade of these is now illegal in most lands.

Creatures that resemble narwhals have appeared in woodcuts and early maps, among the “sea monsters” that were said to inhabit the unknown waters to the west of Europe, and the narwhal has been proposed as one possible identify of the “leviathan” mentioned in the Bible.  This mysterious whale is featured in the following passage from Jules Verne’s science fiction novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea:

“Captain Farragut was a good seaman, worthy of the frigate he commanded. His vessel and he were one. He was the soul of it. On the question of the monster there was no doubt in his mind, and he would not allow the existence of the animal to be disputed on board. He believed in it, as certain good women believe in the leviathan — by faith, not by reason. The monster did exist, and he had sworn to rid the seas of it. Either Captain Farragut would kill the narwhal, or the narwhal would kill the captain. There was no third course.” (Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1870).

The University of Washington Press has published a book about the mysterious narwhal, entitled Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World. The video, below, is a synopsis of the book ~ take note of the ancient woodcuts showing the narwhal as a sea monster on maps:

 

 

More Legends of the Narwhal

If you are intrigued by this denizen of the icy deep, read more about the narwhal in the following legends:

 

Winter Animal Study and Literature Links

Study the Narwhal as part of your winter studies

Connecting science and literature is a great way to add some excitement to your winter lessons. Why not add a study of the narwhal to your seasonal plans for February? This lover of the icy North is a perfect example of how an animal’s structure and habits make it suited for a seemingly inhospitable climate, and the legends around this rare creature lead to some fascinating legend studies.

The ebook, “Nature Study Notebooking Pages: Mammals” ($5.95, The Notebooking Treasury) is a big help for students organizing both facts about mammals and literature connections from their studies. This 392-page volume has both primary- and narrow-ruled pages of a variety of formats, including range maps and summaries of the life habits of 49 popular mammal species, as well as a set of template pages for the study of any other mammal, such as the narwhal and beluga whale. I have found these pages to be a big help in organizing students’ research on many topics, and use them at home with my own homeschoolers. Click the link above to order directly from this page, or click the image below for current specials from this publisher.

 

February Subscriber Freebie

 

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