Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
The Common Core English standards require students to make sense of non-fiction science text, and Seymour Simon's site can be yet another resource to help your students master this skill. As an author, Seymour Simon creates texts that help achieve this goal while also capturing kids' attention. The experiments on the site move beyond just reading about science, encouraging kids to actually do the science that Simon describes in his books.
The Seymour Simon site also has plenty of other tools to help get kids excited about science. Beyond scientific-reading projects, you could use the science joke and riddle section as a daily class opener. The Summer Resource Sheet could be a great reference to share with parents.Continue reading Show less
Seymour Simon is a website about the work of this renowned non-fiction science author of the same name. The site has free resources to accompany the author's books, including an online science dictionary, teacher's guides (for some of the books), resources to engage kids in summer science learning, and video previews of his books.
Standouts include Experiment: Light at the End of the Tunnel, which helps kids conduct an investigation of light's influence on worms; The Impossible Shrinking Machine, a free e-book that includes experiments kids can do along with the main character; and Butterfly Observation Log, which has students print out a log, get outside, and observe butterflies in their backyard and beyond.
The site includes a letter to educators from Seymour Simon himself -- he emphasizes the importance of inciting a passion for science over studying only scientific facts, as facts can and will change. This ever-fluid nature of science is highlighted throughout the website, as students are encouraged to explore, not memorize.
It's important to recognize that the site itself is designed to promote and sell Mr. Simon's books. However, these books are award-winning non-fiction texts that many students would do well to read. Nevertheless, some of the site's resources could be expanded a bit. The site says it provides book report help for kids, though at the time of review this link simply took users back to the author's biography. There are also some science news updates, but the most recent post was over 4 months old. Nevertheless, the site's blog -- arguably one of its most popular resources -- is updated often and maintains an active following.
Key Standards Supported
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6–8 texts and topics.
Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to an understanding of the topic.
Analyze the author’s purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure, or discussing an experiment in a text.
Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text.
Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Key Standards Supported
Earth and Human Activity
Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Use information from several sources to provide evidence that Earth events can occur quickly or slowly.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive.