Friday, September 8, 2017

Counting with ants, sheep, and other wildlife

Themes for the day: counting, measuring, animals


Jump, Leap, Count Sheep! 
by Geraldo Valerio
24 pages; ages 2-5
OwlKids, 2017

One, two, three, here they come... Canadian animals.

This counting book has a twist: all the animals live in Canada. So kids are learning about their local wildlife as they learn the numbers.

What I like about this book: It's fun! The illustrations are stylized and imaginative, and may inspire kids (and adults) to try their hand at drawing local wildlife. Each page presents a number three ways: the numeral (3), the word (three), and the correct number of critters being introduced. But Wait! There's More! There are other elements on the page to count, such as the prey that mantids are hunting. The animals are also active, so active verbs are featured: hunting, jumping, swimming...

Sheep Won't Sleep
by Judy Cox; illus. by Nina Cuneo
32 pages; ages 4-7
Holiday House, 2017

Clarissa could not sleep. She tried everything: warm milk, reading, humming a lullaby - even her knitting. 

So she decides to count sheep because, as we all know, counting sheep helps you fall asleep. But the sheep get into things and tell her she needs to try harder.

"Try pairs of alpacas" one advises. So she does, counting by twos. When that doesn't work she tries counting llamas, then yaks, until her room is filled with woolly animals.

What I like about this book: The colors and designs of the wool coats of the yaks and other animals. And Clarissa's clever strategy that capitalizes on her knitting skills.

Ants Rule, the long and short of it
by Bob Barner
40 pages; ages 4-8
Holiday House, 2017

It's time... to plan the Blowout Bug Jamboree!

But first, the ants have to measure each bug. We don't find out why until the end, which is a big surprise for everyone.

What I like about this book: ants are pretty small, so how do they go about measuring things? A normal ruler is too big to handle. Not to fear: they use "ant units". For example, a caterpillar is four ants long. Through dialog, tables, charts, and graphs, the ants compare sizes of their buggy friends who are invited to the big party. I also like the collage art work, and the "ant rulers" that run along the bottom of some of the pages.

Beyond the Books:

Go on a Counting Field Trip. Take a walk through your neighborhood and count the animals you see: cats, squirrels, bumble bees, dogs, goldfinches. Take notes, and when you get home, create a chart or graph or table to represent your data.

Measure things without using a ruler. When I'm outside, I use my hands or feet. But there are many possibilities for measuring tools.

Counting Steps. Take a big person for a walk. Measure distances from a starting point and compare how far it is in kid steps to big person steps. Take different size steps. Have fun!

Car counting challenge. Next time you're on a long drive and getting bored, challenge people to count to 100 (or more) by 2s, 5s, 3s, 13s.... make it more challenging for older people.

Today we're joining the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. We're also joining others over at Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copies from the publishers.

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