Teaching Nature, Friendship, and Our Ecosystems in a Fascinating Picture Book With Quirky Animal Partnerships

Updated on October 13, 2017
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Fun, Fact-Filled Book of Friendships Between Animals in our Ecosystem

Fun and fact-filled picture book for ages 5-9 with information about how our ecosystems work.
Fun and fact-filled picture book for ages 5-9 with information about how our ecosystems work. | Source

Do You Know How Animals Help the Ecosystems?

Nature is a fascinating topic, and this fun, fact-filled picture book by Pavla Hanackva is a great book to add to a science classroom to learn about how animals help our ecosystems. Amazing Animal Friendships: Odd Couples in Nature explains how animals partner to help Mother Nature in a variety of ways to keep the ecosystems healthy. Creatures that live on both land and sea partner with each other in fascinating ways to manage the land and sea systems. Plants are also part of these partnerships.

The first chapter, Pulling Together, begins the story of how these partnerships work. Do you know the meaning of "symbiosis"? This first chapter has several scientific terms about these quirky systems to introduce children to scientific vocabulary.

The text for each chapter is written in simple terms with short and easy-to-read small paragraphs. Each chapter describes the animals that partner with each other and the duties that each has to contribute to the partnership. The partnerships can be quite intriguing. Young readers will be intrigued by animals that they might not have heard about.

Did you know that hippos and fish help to keep water clean when they partner together? This partnership is like a vacuum cleaner for the water. How about the fact that the Australian marsupial honey possum and the partnership with bees that help to pollinate the plants? The partnerships between sloths and moths, whale sharks and small fish, and shrimp and gobies are fascinating in the work that is done in nature together. An index and glossary are included in the book.

Linh Dao contributes her talent as an illustrator to Amazing Animal Friendships. The illustrations are done in beautiful pastels and each page is filled with fun, cartoon-like creatures that partner to help nature work properly.

Amazing Animal Friendships: Odd Couples in Nature was published by Scribblers, an imprint of The Salariya Book Company Ltd, and is recommended for ages 5-9. It has an ISBN of 978-1-912006-49-9.

Science in My Classroom

I used books such as Pavla Hanackova's Amazing Animal Friendships: Odd Couples in Nature in my early childhood classrooms to teach about concepts in nature. Books are always a great way to introduce a concept to young children. This book lends itself to a wealth of ideas to introduce young to scientific concepts in the STEM curriculum that schools are using now. The "S" in STEM stands for science. Nature is a part of the curriculum for elementary children. The subject of nature is an intriguing subject for young children. Animals in nature create a wealth of ideas for your classroom.

I have included a brief lesson plan for using this book to teach about our ecosystems and the partnerships between animals that aid in keeping our ecosystems healthy.

  • Read Amazing Animal Friendships: Odd Couples in Nature in a group reading experience.
  • Call attention to the highlighted vocabulary words in the beginning chapter "Pulling Together".
  • I recommend that you use each chapter separately and in separate science sessions. Both land and sea creatures are included in the book. Teachers will want to divide science sessions into the two areas of land and sea.
  • Have a globe ready to locate the areas of the world where the animals live, both land and sea. Children will want to locate Africa and Australia on the globe. Geography can be combined with the science concepts found in the book.
  • Lead the children in a discussion of the variety of animals that partner to help nature. My classes always enjoyed making charts in a science lesson. This book lends itself to many ideas for creating learning charts after reading together.
  • Children will also enjoy making a PowerPoint presentation of the variety of ecosystems found in the book.
  • Classify the animals into the categories of "producer" and "consumer".
  • Create a teacher-made classification bingo game with copies of the fun illustrations of the animal characters from the story.

Teaching Science and Ecosystems in Your STEM Curriculum

What tools do you use in your classroom to teach science in your STEM curriculum for young children?

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