Monday, September 23, 2013

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today at Sally's Bookshelf.

My selection is  "The Elephant Scientist" by Caitlin O'Connell and Donna M. Jackson with photographs by Caitlin O'Connell and Timothy Rodwell.

O'Connell and Jackson provide readers with an opportunity to view scientific inquiry first hand as they follow researcher O'Connell in the field.  Her observations of African elephant behavior lead her to hypothesize that elephants have the ability to listen to and communicate via vibrations they "hear" through their feet in much the same way as the insects she studied for her master thesis. 

An overview of elephant behaviors ground students in the basics and set the stage for a deeper examination of elephant communication that includes experiments in the lab and studies in the field.
The science is balanced by information about O'Connell's life, her early fascination with animal behavioral studies and the support from  family and educators.

The photography does a beautiful job of providing readers with insight into the lives of these remarkable animals and bringing the experience of working in the field to life.

A section titled "Explorations" provides additional  reading, DVDs, web links and opportunities to view O'Connell's experiments.  Pachyderm Terms, Selected Source Notes, and an Index conclude the book.

Future scientists in upper grades will find a wealth of experience and encouragement here.  Although the book is written at an 8th grade level, my 4th-6th graders  were fascinated.
Common Core recommended.

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