Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen, is a book that explores the somewhat outrageous idea of digging a really big hole. In this book there is a lot to see and imagine as Sam and Dave dig deeper and deeper into their backyard.
While the book tells a story, it could lead to an interest in learning about the earth for some kids. Here is a resource for a plethora of activities for learning more about dirt.
However, since this book has an ambiguous ending a good place to start is by asking kids to think of questions they have after reading the book. Some of the questions will relate to the story and some relate to lessons from earth science. Here is a lesson that can be stretched out over several days to keep the discussion going and allow kids to think more deeply about questions they have.
Rationale for the Lesson
Professionals, who have looked at how we learn about science, recommend that we use questions as a starting place. Giving kids time to ask questions and seek answers is modeling science and engineering practices.
When I teach leadership skills in business, questions are part of the leadership process. Large businesses look within their own ranks for leaders who can question what is possible and take action directed toward new ideas in a world of ambiguity. As leaders of children we can model these practices. This lesson is designed to ask questions and classify the questions and start to answer them using imagination or research.
Digging for Answers
Objective: Learners will identify questions and sort them into questions that can be answered using imagination and questions that can be answered by learning more information about earth science.
Learning Connection: In first grade there is an English Language Standard that suggests we give kids a chance to explain the differences between books that tell stories and books that give information.
Read the book aloud.
Ask the listeners:
Is this a book that tells a story or a book that gives us information about a topic?
Explain: Yes, this is a book that tells a story. After we read stories we often have questions about what really was happening or something we wish we knew more about.
Create a list of questions that can be used in future lessons. Make sure there are a few more questions than there are kids. Add some questions to the list that are developmentally appropriate. These questions will be used in future activities.
Day two: Reflect back on the chart made after reading the book. Point out that some questions can be answered by using imagination like a writer. Explain how other questions can be answered by learning more about earth science. Use a magnifying glass for added emphasis and several cutout shapes of magnifying glasses to mark the questions that need research.
Day three: Point to chart of questions. Read aloud each question while encouraging kids to read along. Ask each student to select a question. Give each student their question for them to take to their work area. Ask kids to tell how they think they can answer the question. Will they need to imagine an answer or look at other research?. If they need to look it up where can they look? Then give each child time to work on their question and write in their learning journal.
Day four: Allow time for each child to share their question and the work they did to answer the question.
Cup of Leadership is a blog for people who lead children.
Deanne Bryce is a writer for young children and an advocate for personal leadership at all ages. This post is part of a project called Book Drops for Kids. The project promotes using picture books to inspire interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) thinking.
At least once a month a picture book is purchased from an independent book store and “dropped” in a little library to for someone to use. STEM lesson plans for these books are posted on Cup of Leadership. Check the Facebook page to see other books that have been dropped.