Common Ground: The Water, Earth, and Air We Share. By Molly Bang. Illus. by the author. 1997. 32p. Blue Sky Press, (9780590100564). Gr 3-5.
This beautiful picture book brings real questions to students in a way that is neither above their heads or condescending. Beginning with a simple story, and ending with the idea that after this, we have nowhere else to go, Bang has children begin to thing about the world around them. How can we protect the air, water, and land around us? Why is important to do so? This book is sure to get younger children thinking about a subject that is very close to home.
The Lorax. By Dr. Seuss. Illus. by author. 1971. 72p. Random House, (9780394923376). Gr K-3.
In his politically driven book, The Lorax, children are introduced to a world much like our own. One where plants and animals are losing their homes and resources because of the pollution brought about by mankind. The air and water in this seussian land are ruined causing a mass exodus of the native inhabitants. This book speaks to young children, and broaches a topic that in some cases may be too hard for little minds to understand. It also puts the future in the hands of the newest generation with it's powerful statement "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
Oil Spill. By Melvin Berger. Illus. by Paul Mirocha. 1994. 32p. Collins, (9780064451215). Gr K-2.
Here is a book that no only teaches students, but tries to get them involved. Great for a read aloud and introduction to experimentation, Oil Spill, begins in 1989 with the Exxon Valdez oil spill and teaches students the causes and effects of the oil on the ocean. This book encourages children to get involved by writing to their senators and telling them that even the smallest of people can have the largest impact.
Tracking Trash Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion. By Loree Griffin Burns. 2007. 54p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, (9870618581313). Gr 2-5.
While a more daunting read, this book is filled with all sorts of information about the ocean that children will love learning throughout the elementary grades. Younger students will have to be guided through as the information is plentiful and the vocabulary more advanced, but the lessons learned about ocean currents and pollution are worth the work. Children will learn the impact that we have on the ocean and ways to help reduce the burden we place on our environment.
Using Air. By Sharon Katz Cooper. 2007. 24p. Heinemann Library, (9781403493156). Gr. K-2
This book gives an easy to understand overview of air. We learn why it is important and how we know it is around us, even when we can't see it. It also introduces air pollution, what causes it and what we can do about it. The photographs do a good job of adding to the text and the glossary in the back is useful to students who are just starting.
Clean Air for Kids. Here is a game that introduces young children to the air quality index. What is a green day? How about an orange day? Buster the Butterfly will help kids decide what the air quality index is at their house and if they feel that it is safe for them to play outside.
EEK! Hole in the Ozone. A site describing the how and why of the hole in the ozone layer. We learn what caused it, when it began, and how we can fix it.
Thirstin's Match Fun Facts Game. This is a fact matching game for kids. It would be useful to help assess a students knowledge of the topic of water conservation.
Water Busters! Here is a game that helps children see where they could be wasting water at home and how to prevent it. Not only can they conserve water by doing these simple things, they can help their parents conserve a little money on the water bill!
Virginia Standards of Learning
SOL1.8b The students will investigate and understand that natural resources are limited. Key Concepts include factors that affect air and water quality.
- Natural resources provide us with the things we need in order to live, including food, clothing, water, air, shelter, land, and energy.
- What we put into the air, especially the products of the fuels we burn, affects the quality of the air. Waste produced by animals, including humans, and factories can affect the quality of water. Some pollution washes from yards, streets, and farms.
- Many natural resources are limited and cannot be renewed. Other resources are limited and cannot be renewed, but they may last a very long time.
- Recycling recovers used materials. Many materials can be recycled and used again, sometimes in different forms. Recycling helps to save our natural resources. An example of a recycled material is newspapers that are turned into writing tablets.
- Reusing materials means using them more than once. Examples include using dishes and utensils that are washed after use rather than using paper plates and plastic utensils and putting them in the trash.
- Resources will last longer if we recycle them, reuse them, or reduce consumption of them.
- The creation of parks can help preserve land. Parks have many uses, including recreation.