Academic journal article Science and Children

From the Tip of a Beak to the End of a Tail

Academic journal article Science and Children

From the Tip of a Beak to the End of a Tail

Article excerpt

Two examples of animals assisted by humans can introduce students to the idea that different organisms have particular structures and adaptations that help the animal survive. When discussing the idea of structure and function with young children, it is important to help students make connections to the fact that "different animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find, and take in food, water, and air" (NRC 2012, p. 144). The story of Winter the dolphin allows young students to consider how different animals use body parts to help them move and how each structure is best suited to that particular animal and its environment.

As students get older, the learning progression moves to the fact that these structures can be both internal and external, and may "serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction" (NRC 2012, p. 144). One such situation is presented in Beauty and the Beak, a book about a bald eagle named Beauty. By engaging in a simulation related to the structure of beaks, students draw connections between the shape of a bird's beak and the type of food it eats.

This Month's Trade Books

Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again

By Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hotkoff, and David Yates

ISBN: 978-0-545-34830-0


40 pages

Grades K--3


Winter, a dolphin, was rescued as a baby from a crab trap that injured her tail. …

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