Sources: Exploring Environmental Science with Children and Teens

Sources: Exploring Environmental Science with Children and Teens

Exploring Environmental Science with Children and Teens. By Eileen D. Harrington. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2014. 264 p. Paper $50 (ISBN: 978-0-8389-1198-3).

Current classroom education focuses primarily on reading and math. This leaves little room for learning material that inspires scientific inquiry. To address the gaps in learning, many educators advocate for school-aged children to have more exposure to the sciences through STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curricula. In an effort to meet this need, Exploring Environmental Sciences with Children and Teens by Eileen G. Harrington creates an avenue for public and school libraries, along with museums, to cultivate partnerships, programs, and learning experiences outside of the classroom as a means of addressing deficiencies in science.

Harrington gives an excellent rationale for the necessity and benefits of encouraging and promoting scientific inquiry, focusing on museums, school libraries, and public libraries as ideal venues for creating informal, fun, and literacy-rich environmental science programming. She aggregates science literature and activities for audiences of preschoolers through high schoolers.

This book reveals knowledgeable, engaging, and active learning experiences to incite curiosity, comfort, and connections with environmental science. Harrington presents preschool and family programming, story times, book clubs, self-guided activities, and teen action clubs, among other activities, to help teachers and librarians accentuate student learning. Exploring Environmental Science supports programming by providing detailed structure and strategies while giving an abundance of ideas to ensure success. Also provided are bibliographies, multimedia suggestions, and web resources for further consideration and extensions to learning.

The book also covers science-related topics like Earth Day, plant life, habitats, life cycles, scientists, animals, rocks, and fossils, all of which align with common themes taught in school curricula. This offers public libraries and museums an opportunity to complement learning through entertaining craft activities and to promote reading self-efficacy in the sciences for children and teens.

Although geared towards librarians and museum program coordinators, teachers looking for curriculum ideas are also likely to find this book valuable for lesson planning or enrichment activities, as it inspires programming, collaboration, and appreciation of the sciences within and outside the classroom.—Tiffeni Fontno, Education Librarian, Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts


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