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.  

How Do We Know?

This week’s guest blogger is Lynne Cherry! She’s the author and illustrator of the classic picture book about the rainforest The Great Kapok Tree. Her book for older children How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate addresses the timely topic of climate change in an age-appropriate way. (Lynne’s Bio appears at the end of this blog.)


Cherry_smallThe common belief has been that if people understood climate change science they would want to do something about it. But years of teaching and speaking at schools about environmental issues has taught me that messages of gloom and doom elicit reactions of fear, demoralization and hopelessness in children—and the public.

So, if current educational strategies turn people off and motivate them to defer to government authorities or scientists to make decisions rather than trusting themselves to think critically or to change the world, how do we teach about troubling topics? A key to teaching youth about climate change is to teach critical thinking and to teach youth to take action on what they have learned.


Inside: Make a Difference!

side-about2In Lynne’s most recent book, How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate, climate scientist detectives uncover mysteries of the Earth’s climate history through mud cores, ice cores and tree rings. They study birds’ and butterflies’ responses to global warming. Citizen-scientist kids collect data to help the scientists.

Climate change is a critical and timely topic of deep concern, and Lynne’s book tells about it an age-appropriate manner, with clarity and hope.

Working on this book with her coauthor Gary Braasch inspired Lynne to begin her movie project Young Voices for the Planet. Kids can make a difference!

  • Choose from over a dozen engaging lessons, projects, and activities in A Teacher’s Guide to How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate. Suggestions are provided to differentiate instruction and conduct project-based learning. Lessons and activities are correlated to science standards for grades 5 to 8.
  • Watch one or more of the Young Voices for the Planet DVDs with your students, and then discuss the actions you may want to take as a class.


Outside: Become a Citizen Scientist

CLIMTG_StoreLynne Cherry hopes her books and movies will get children excited about going outside and exploring the natural world. An ideal way to get students into nature is through citizen science projects, many of which are described in A Teacher’s Guide to How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate.


Participation in citizen science has the following benefits:

  • Engages students in learning.
  • Makes real-world connections to the classroom.
  • Supports academic skill development. Citizen science is truly an interdisciplinary experience with many opportunities for students to use and practice skills in reading, writing, and math. Research shows a correlation between environmental education and higher test scores.
  • Accommodates students with varying learning styles and differences.
  • Strengthens connections to community.
  • Fosters a sense of stewardship of the environment.
  • Increases a sense of personal worth and competence.
  • Improves school performance.

Download a PDF of several pages from the Teacher’s Guide. Pages 18-23 are specifically about Citizen Science Curriculum.


More Facts and Fun with Climate Change

dvd363_largeI used Hippo Works DVD “Simon Says, Let’s Stop Climate Change” to introduce my 3rd-4th graders to the key concepts related to global warming and climate change. They loved this 30-minute animated adventure with its quirky characters. They were totally entertained while they learned key vocabulary terms, and after watching the cartoon we had a great discussion about concrete actions they could take.


child-flower_90x70There are numerous web sites for Citizen Science Projects, many of which are listed in the Teacher’s Guide. Here are just a few of them:


Lynne Cherry’s Bio

CherryLynne is the author and/or illustrator of over thirty award-winning books for children. Her best-selling books such as The Great Kapok Tree and A River Ran Wild teach children to respect the earth. Lynne lectures widely – and passionately – about how children can make a difference in a democratic society. If they feel strongly about something, they can change the world. She explains to educators how using nature to integrate curriculum makes a child’s learning relevant. Lynne’s books were inspired by her love of the natural world and she is an avid canoeist and hiker.

Visit Lynne Cherry’s website.