As I mentioned in my earlier post, I’ve become quite intrigued by the idea of the minimester recently. It’s a fascinating idea and I can’t help but think about minimester classes I’d like to offer. The title of the class I’m describing here is Writing and Illustrating Science Books for Children.
I envision this project having 5 parts:
- Researching a topic in science to gain the necessary knowledge to write a children’s book.
- Writing the text.
- Helping peers to edit their texts and rewriting thier own text based on feedback.
- Illustrating the book with traditional or digital media.
- Sharing it with elementary school aged children.
Students would be working on their scientific knowledge, research skills, editing, and writing. They would get to explore an illustration technique in depth. They would share their work with an audience beyond their classmates and teacher. Who knows? They might even get a publishable result.
I often have high school students write an illustrate short books explaining a particular scientific concept. I like the project because students find it satisfying and it is a genuinely useful learning tool. Unfortunately, in the context of a regular science class we never have time to work carefully on the editing and illustrating, so the results are always quite rough. I believe it would be a very rewarding experience for students to produce a polished piece they can be truly proud of.
Writing a scientific children’s book is something I have a bit of experience with. Here are some photos of pages from a biography of Charles Darwin I wrote and illustrated a number of years ago. (My apologies for the poor photo quality; I don’t want to take them out of their frames and can’t figure out how to keep the glass from interfering with the pictures.)