When it comes to picture books, you might think of little kids during literacy time. But picture books can actually be fun and informational for middle schoolers as well. In my experience, middle schoolers appreciate a chance to be a “kid again” and take a break from more challenging texts. Which is why I love using marine science picture books with middle schoolers.
Not only are picture books enjoyable, but they can make complex concepts accessible. One of my favorite ways to use science picture books is to introduce a new unit. It gets students engaged in the content and gives them basic background knowledge to build on.
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My Favorite Science Picture Books
A cargo ship is hit by a giant wave and a box of ten rubber ducks goes overboard. Because of the ocean currents, the ducks are sent in various directions and meet lots of marine life on their journey. This book is a cute way to introduce marine life and habitats, plus wind and currents.
I often use this book to introduce my Air-Sea Interactions unit.
There are lots of misconceptions about sharks, and Eugenie Clark wanted to change that. In this science picture book, students will learn about a female scientist who devoted her life to researching sharks. One thing I really like about this story is how Eugenie actually gained an interest in sharks at a young age. I think it can be relatable for middle schoolers. I use this book during our Bony & Cartilaginous Fish unit.
What does a nineteenth-century dress maker have to do with science? Well, Jeanne Power changed the way we study underwater life. She built glass tanks to study animals and published her findings in scientific journals. At a time when women didn’t get much recognition in science, Jeanna made a large impact. This science picture book goes really well with our history of Marine Science unit at the beginning of the year.
This is a great book for helping students understand the power of coral reefs. During the story, Erin Spencer, a marine ecologist, covers the types of coral, their lifecycle, where they live, and more. This is a great book for introducing your Coral Reefs and Human Impact unit.
Want more tips for planning your marine science units? Grab the free Marine Science Pacing Guide for a week by week breakdown of what I teach throughout the year.
I hope you can see why I love using science picture books in the classroom. They are so many stories out there to choose from which can help you ease into a new unit or topic, while also getting your students engaged.