mystery The answer to the clues may be found at the bottom of this column.    Teachers and Parents: Enter to win an entire set of Dawn’s nature books of one title for your home or classroom. It's fun and easy!
Just read the clues below. They describe an aspect of nature—a plant, animal, mineral, habitat, or natural process.
When you're ready to make your guess about who or what I am, click ENTER NOW.
Who Am I?
spacerglass1 Clue 1:  I'm a member of the "dog family."
glass1 Clue 2:  I live throughout North America in deserts, prairies, forests, and even in towns and cities.
glass1 Clue 3:  You might hear me howling at night to communicate with my pack.
glass1 Clue 4:  Don't let me trick you—I am NOT a wolf.
Do you think you know who I am? ENTER NOW.
Entries should be submitted no later than noon on Friday.
If you guessed correctly, you’re automatically entered into the monthly drawing for a set of nature books from Dawn Publications.
A contest winner will be announced at the end of September.
Throughout the school year, clues for a new Who Am I are posted no later than Sunday night, so you can use them with your class on Monday morning.Good luck!
The answer to last week's mystery was: SEASHELLS Although Inside Outside Nature blog is changing it's focus, this weekly "Who Am I?" will remain the same! Teachers, click here to get ideas about how to use the contest with your students.  

Monthly Archives: May 2013

Have an APP-solutely Great Summer

This is the final blog of the school year. We’ll be back in the middle of August with more nature activities for your classroom and “Who Am I?” mystery contests. Until then I’ll leave you these ideas that are perfect to use over the summer!

grassphoneedits_1The Wilderness Society identifies two cultural forces children face today: “a plethora of technology and a dirth (sic) of time in nature.”

Is it possible to use technology to help kids connect with nature? The answer is “yes!”


Malachi Bazan, through Simply Nature Media, has joined forces with Dawn Publications to use that technology. “Some folks will hide out on a hill and eschew technology, but there doesn’t have to be a fight between nature and technology,” Malachi says. “We’re coming into an age where the digital world can help us appreciate and protect the natural world.” He’s done just that by creating interactive nature apps based on Dawn’s award-winning children’s books.

So don’t be surprised if the next time your kids play a game on a phone or tablet, they just might be enticed to go outside.


From Inside to Outside: We’ve Got an App

Explore these apps to experience the connection between technology and nature:

Over-App-CvrOver in the Ocean App: Will your family be visiting the beach this summer? This app introduces children to ocean animals and their babies, from one octopus to ten seahorses. When they’re touched, the babies move on the screen. For example, the octopus squirts an ink cloud and the seahorses flutter—which is exactly what happens in real life. The app includes a counting game as well as scientific information. It also gives children the choice to “Read to me,” “Read to myself,” or “Sing to me.”

Out of thousands of apps, Over in the Ocean App was selected for the book iPad Apps for Kids.


Over in the Jungle App: This app, a sequel to Over in the Ocean, follows a similar format with butterflies that “flit,” monkeys that “swing,” and leaf cutter ants that “scurry” at the touch of a finger, making this app a delightful introduction to the rainforest habitat as well as a counting game.

BUG_SHOPNoisy Bugs App: A summer evening isn’t quiet for those who listen carefully. Based on the book A Noisy Bug Sing-a-long, this app is a wonderful bridge to a whole noisy, busy world of insects. Kids will discover who is making what sound and how they do it (hint: it’s not with their mouths!). Using the app, kids can watch the insects move while listening to their actual sounds. The book is on sale right now, and the app will be available June 6th.


More Fun with Apps

With an abundance of apps on the market, you may feel overwhelmed about which ones to choose. The following websites will help you:


A Not So Silent Spring

I’ve been keeping my door opened lately so I can listen to the sounds of spring—the tweeting of baby birds, the chirping chorus of frogs, and the buzzing of bees. These vibrant sounds are an integral part of the seasonal change from the quietness of winter to the exuberance of spring.

images-7But what if spring was silent? Rachel Carson first posed this question when the use of DDT threatened our environment. She bravely sounded the alarm against the indiscriminate use of toxic pesticides.

Rachel Carson’s concern grew out of her love for all living things. As we teach our children to love the natural environment, they will  want to care for it too.


Inside: Make It Yourself

hbhp.130pxRachel Carson began writing nature stories as a young girl, assembling them into small books.

Making books gives young children a creative way to learn subject matter while practicing basic skills, such as fine motor control and following sequential directions.

Use these step-by-step directions to help your students make their own books using readily available materials.


Outside: Make Sound Maps

In this outdoor activity, children listen to natural sounds and record them on a map of their own making. Joseph Cornell, the creator of Sound Map says, “Children love this activity—they become completely absorbed and sit surprisingly still while making their sound maps.” Get complete directions and teacher tips for Sound Maps.


More Facts and Fun about Rachel Carson and Spring Sounds

Read Noisy Bug Sing-a Long BUG_COVER2and learn who is making what sound, and why. Then have children imitate the sounds to create your own classroom chorus.


GIRLS_StoreFind out EHWAN_COVER41more about Rachel Carson in Dawn Publication’s books Girls Who Looked Under Rocks and Earth Heroes: Champions of Wild Animals.


Rachel said, “I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel.”

Teac41kFamnuCsL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_hers: get inspiration for awakening a love of nature in your children from Rachel’s book, The Sense of Wonder.




Change is in the Air

2-20-CommonCoreAppleThe “Next Generation Science Standards” were announced last month. What does that mean for you? They may  change the way you’ve been teaching science!

In general, the new standards go beyond science as simply a list of facts and ideas students are expected to memorize. Instead, they emphasize teaching “how” scientists actually investigate and gather their information. Teachers will be expected to focus more on concepts, giving students a deeper understanding of a topic.

One of the topics that students will gain a deeper understanding about is climate change—a concept that can’t be neglected from the curriculum any longer. The new standards recognize that climate change is a critical and timely topic of deep concern.


Inside: Glaciers and Greenhouses

imagesHow We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate (by Lynne Cherry and Gary Brasch) and my companion Teacher’s Guide are the perfect books to use with your older elementary and middle school students.

In an easy-to-understand format, students can read about and actually see the evidence scientists have gathered from flowers, butterflies, birds, frogs, trees, glaciers, and much more.

Use  two of the lesson plans from the Teacher’s Guide with your students: Disappearing Glaciers and Life in the Greenhouse.


Outside: Young Scientists

How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate  includes the important role “citizen-scientists” play in gathering data.

images-6For example, until 1975, butterfly scientists did not know where monarchs went on their fall migration south. People had seen them in Texas and along the Gulf Coast, but nobody knew where they went next.

Canadian scientist Dr. Fred Urquhart was the first to mark the butterflies with tiny tags to track them across the continent.

Thousands of citizen scientists helped him gather the data.  Monarch Watch is one of the many citizen science projects your students participate in. You can find dozens more citizen science projects for the classroom in the Teacher’s Guide.


More Facts and Fun about Climate Change

Climate provides K-12 teachers with the BEST interdisciplinary resources.

Young Voices for the Planet DVD, by author Lynne Cherry, presents inspiring and  replicable youth success stories showing kids “taking the reins.” They’ll encourage both children and adults  to embrace the seriousness of climate change and to take action.

Especially for Elementary Teachers: Explore the “Big Questions” about Climate Change at NASA’s Climate Kids website.