Using novels in the science classroom 

Ocean/Biology/Ecology Themes

Arctic/Environmental Fitness Themes

Rain forest  Themes

Physics/Physical Science/Chemistry Themes

Science Fiction/Social Themes

Other Web Resources
Using novels in the science classroom 
                       Under Construction  12/06/02

The following is a list of novels that integrate science related themes and issues into the story.  This list is a compilations of suggestions from world wide web resources, other science teachers,  and personal experience.   An indication of reading level is given where it's known.  Links to author pages are included for some authors.  Annotation is provided as available, and is under on-going development.

Ocean/Biology/Ecology Themes

      Rachel Carson by Kathleen V. Kudlinski
      Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.  The first outcry (1962) against the destruction of our environment continues to be an important and vital message.  Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.  The first outcry (1962) against the destruction of our environment continues to be an important and vital message.
      The Voyage of the Frog, by Gary Paulsen
      The Case of the Missing Cutthroats, by Jean Craighead George
      Zia, by  Scott O'Dell
      Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,  by Jules Verne
      Blue Skin of the Sea,  by Graham Salisbury  (Grades 5-7)
      Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott OíDell   (Grades 5-8)

Exploration/Antarctica/Arctic/Environmental Fitness Themes

     Black Star, Bright Dawn,  by Scott  O'Dell  (ages 9-12)
Most young girls' experiences never involve hunting bearded seals on the ice, even within the
Alaskan Eskimo culture. In Scott O'Dell's gripping novel, Bright Dawn is an exception. In her father's eyes, she became his son's replacement ever since her brother drowned. When Bright Dawn is 18 years old, her father, recently injured, insists that she take his place in the  Iditarod, the famous Alaskan dogsled race covering more than a thousand miles between  Anchorage and Nome. Unflinching, yet trembling in her mukluks, she faces her challenge head-on.
      Troubling a Star, by Madeleine L'Engle
      Ocean Girl, by Peter Hepworth  (Younger Readers)
      Have Spacesuit-Will Travel,  Robert Heinlein  (Older Readers)
      Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O'Dell
      A Wrinkle in Time,  by Madeleine L'Engle
      Call it Courage,  by Armstrong Wells Sperry
     Antarctica, Journey to the Pole,  by Peter  Lerangis
      Julie's Wolf Pack, by Jean Craighead George
      The Call of the Wild, by Jack London

  Biology/Ecology/Rainforest Themes

      California Blue by Klass (Discovery of new butterfly species causes problems with local lumber industry)
      Green Mango Magic,   by Sylvie Hossack  (Grades 4-6)
      Call it Courage,  by Armstrong Sperry  (Grades 4-7)
      Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott OíDell   (Grades 5-8)
      Lord of the Flies,  by William Golding  (Grades 8-10)
      Jaguar  by Roland Smith
A terrific adventure story set in the Amazon basin in Brazil that follows the
exploits of 14 year old Jake and his research scientist father Doc as they try
and set up a jaguar preserve. Written by a research biologist, this fast-paced
page turner includes several sections with excellent descriptions of the
rain forest and its inhabitants, helping to drive home many of the teaching
points in this year's JASON curriculum. In addition to the well developed father
and son "team", the book also features Raul, a strong native character, and
Flanna Brenna, a great female scientist role model.

      Deep Dream of the Rain forest  by Malcolm Bosse
This complex and sophisticated novel will take students on an expedition
through the jungles of Borneo in 1920. The story follows the adventures of a
15-year-old British boy who is captured by two young native tribes people who
believe he has the power to aid them in their dream quest. The novel is at a
significantly higher reading level than Jaguar and deals with complex cultural
issues that may only be appropriate for mature readers. The excellent
descriptions throughout provide a great opportunity to compare and contrast
the ecosystems and culture of Borneo with those of our JASON X primary site
in Peru.
     Jack London's The Call of the Wild
 A critic of writer Jack London called his animal protagonists ìmen in fur,î suggesting that his literary creations flaunted the facts of natural history.  London responded to such criticism by maintaining that his own creations were based on sound science and in fact represented ìÖa protest against the ëhumanizingí of animals, of which it seemed to me several ëanimal writersí had been profoundly guilty.î How well does London succeed in avoiding such  ìhumanizingî in his portrayal of Buck, the hero of his novel, The Call of the Wild?

  Physics/Physical Science/Chemistry/Nuclear Themes

      The Wind from the Sun.  Solar Winds Race
       Dignifying Science,  by Jim Ottaviani (1999)  Historical fiction, real science and buoyant art make great chemistry for the reader.
     October Sky by Hickam (True story of man who dreamed of
       launching rockets into space)
       Phoenix Rising by Hesse (Accident at nuclear power plant)
      Z for Zachariah by O'Brien (Post nuclear war survival)
      The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds by
       Zindel (Science experiment is just the background for this mother-daughter story)

      The Giver
      The Cay and I

  Science Fiction/Social Themes

       Eva by Dickinson (Girl's brain put in monkey's body)
       Fantastic Voyage by Asimov (Doctors are miniaturized and put into man's bloodstream)
       Flowers for Algernon by Keyes (Medical experiment to turn a retarded man into a genius)
       The Girl Who Owned a City by Nelson (A fatal virus kills everyone over the age of 12)
       Matilda Bone by Cushman (Apprentice bonesetter and practitioner of medicine in Medieval England)

Related Websites 

Book lists

How to use Novels

Novel Study Guides


Web sites related to the use of Novels in the Science Classroom

Book lists


Children's Books for High School Science


Earth Science

Poetry and Science

Cool Tools for Teachers

Book links k-12   Activities linked to book titles

Sites suggesting Uses of the Novel in the Science Classroom

Teaching through the Novel (African American Literature)


UNITES:  Using Novels to Unite the Curriculum (K-5)

**Science Fiction \ Space Technology : Tools for Learning

Words from the Ocean

The Uses of Science Fiction in the Classroom

Article by Doug Johnson

Reading and Writing Science Fiction

BooK Intermediate Science through Children's Literature

Science Issues and Ethics: From Evidence to Decision-Making :a college class that uses sci-fi in their biology
class. Not very useful for me, but for those of you interested in the 'science' portion of sci-fi, this should
be a great resource. Good job of linking ideas to concepts, etc...

Literary Concepts - parts of a story

Resource Link for many novels Island of the Blue Dolphins and A Wrinkle in Time : a site maintained by NASA
specifically for teachers. A good resource for using sci-fi in the classroom.

Session 13 A B
                     "Using Novels in the Classroom to Teach Reading, Writing and Spelling"
         Learn how to use a novel to teach skills in your classroom. We will model various strategies we have
         used in our classrooms - Primary through middle school Bring one of your favorite novels with you to
           this session and your own list of language arts or spelling objectives for a collaborative planning
                                    session you can use in your classroom.
                                                  Sue Bentz
                                                John Sandora
                                               Katrina Scanlon
                                               Espe Elementary
                                           North Allegheny Schools

Novel Study Guides online

Novel Cyberguides

*** Novel Study Links  Several good science suggestions here.

The History of Science



Science Fiction



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