Review: Hands-On Nature draws upon years of environmental studies and science work by the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. This widely recognized organization has supported teacher training and community participation in schools in several states. The four major sections of the book point to its value in relation to Connects topic for this issue: adaptations, habitats, cycles, and designs of nature. Within each section of the book are numerous investigations, such as rotting logs (the tree to turf machine), insect life cycles, a study of change in white-tailed deer, and frogs and polliwogs. This is a very usable book with well-tested activities and background information that can aid teachers and community volunteers in K-6 classrooms. Paperback. 236 pages.
Other Information: Hands-On Nature is available from VINS, 2723 Church Hill Rd., Woodstock, VT 05091. Call 802-280-2223 online http://www.vinsweb.org
Ever since the publication of Charles Darwins studies on evolution, there has been great fascination in the ways through which plants and animals adapt to their environments in order to survive. A number of the articles in this issue explore ways in which we can introduce students to adaptation, change and survival.
In this activity children explore the ways that animals protect themselves from predation. While this activity is desert based, it can easily be adapted to any environment: prairie, seashore, woods, field, etc.
Martha Mitchell notes that gaining familiarity with a problem, with people and their needs, can lead to the student-designed service learning projects or to other types of student investigations. She points to the value of, "Helping kids to see how their own actions effect the environment."