What's the Matter in Mr. Whiskers' Room
By Michael Elsohn Ross
Illustrator Paul Meisel
Publisher Candlewick Press
Curiosity and experimentation run rampant in Mr. Whiskers' class. When the children get to school one day, he has science kits set up at various stations indoors and out. His only rules are that they play at the stations of their choice and mind their manners.
As the children play, they make discoveries. While playing with water and water droppers Mr. Whiskers asks, "Does water take up space?" As the children think about the question Mr. Whiskers guides them to consider the first big idea of the book, "Everything around us is matter, and all matter takes up space."
Mr. Whiskers' science lesson on matter grows as the children explore gloop, oobleck, ice and water, rocks, water tubs, and sand and mud. Their explorations lead to more big ideas about matter. The book concludes with information to create your own science kits to explore the big ideas about matter for yourself.
If you read this book to your children, plan on setting up the science stations. They'll beg you to let them explore science in the same hands-on way. You'll also be pleased that they can learn many of the elementary level science objectives on the study of matter in one day-one very messy, long day-still a very productive day.
If you're having trouble finding creative ways to do science, I highly recommend this book as a starting point in discovery-based science learning. This is a much simpler approach to take rather than attempting set experiments that require a specific outcome to make the lesson point.