Thursday, August 08, 2013

Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails

Review from Bethann Neville - I think this could be used in your math classes!


Franco, B., & Jenkins, S. (2008). Bees, snails, & peacock tails: Patterns & shapes- naturally. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
An intriguing illustrated poetry book about shapes and patterns found naturally in the world from spider webs to beehives.  Betsy Franco investigates several geometrical shapes and patterns from animal’s wings to uniquely designed environments.  Accurate mathematical and scientific information, along with vivid descriptions, make it an exciting way to learn about the mystery of animals.  For example, whenever the puffer fish “senses there’s something to fear, it puffs itself up till it’s almost a sphere.” Likewise, “off comes the old skin and waiting below, repeating designs appear in a row.”
On several pages, Betsy Franco uses a form of poetry called concrete poetry, which is written and printed in a shape that signifies the subject of the poem. For example, when discussing the spirals and tiny details on topshell snails, she writes the line of print in a spiral pattern.
Betsy Franco also applies sense imagery as she uses words such as delicate and round, as well as phrases such as “slice through the air,” “travel in peace,” and “scurries about nibbling acorns” to awaken the senses while reading.
This illustrated poetry book has rhyme and rhythm that flows throughout the text. There are matching sounds at the end of most lines; however, not every line has a matching sound. This particular choice Betsy Franco made is important to its read aloud quality, as it seems natural, not forced when reading.
This poetry book allows students to easily respond through writing.  In science, students can participate in leaf rubbing.  They can write about symmetry, patterns, or shapes found on the leaf or leaf rubbing.  In addition, students can write a short poem from the perspective of an animal or insect from the book.
W.K.1 & W.K.2
Why do you think the ants walked in a very straight line?
What other animals have patterns or shapes on their body?

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