Extinction: What Happened to the Dinosaurs, Mastodons, and Dodo Birds? with 25 Projects
DescriptionHave you seen a dodo bird recently? Do you have mastodons playing in your back yard? Not likely--these species are both extinct, which means the entire population has died out. More than 99 percent of all species, or about 5 billion, have gone extinct since life first formed on Earth 4.5 billion years ago. Some of those species went extinct at the same time in an event know as a mass extinction. What type of event could cause such a massive die off? This is a question that scientists have asked for decades as they explore the causes of extinction. In Extinction: What Happened to the Dinosaurs, Mastodons, and Dodo Birds? readers ages 9 to 12 learn about the scientific investigative work necessary to answer these questions and find the culprit behind mass extinctions. Follow the scientists as they look at all potential reasons for extinction, including asteroid impacts, massive volcanic eruptions, excessive gases in the atmosphere, climate change, and more. Where do scientists find clues to help them answer their questions? In rocks--scientists travel the globe to excavate the evidence. They look for fossils that might tell them what lived before an extinction and what lived after. They also examine the chemical elements in rocks at the boundaries between geologic eras, as well as the structure of rocks. As they follow the evidence, the pieces of the puzzle come together to form a clearer picture of events that happened millions of years ago, whether it's an asteroid strike or a massive volcanic eruption. Extinction is not just a thing of the past. It is happening right now, at a higher rate than is typical. Because of this, there is debate about whether or not the presence of humans on Earth is having the same effect as an asteroid strike or a massive volcanic eruption. Are we currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction? And if so, what are the causes? Can we stop it? Extinction: What Happened to the Dinosaurs, Mastodons, and Dodo Birds? includes hands-on activities and critical thinking exercises to encourage readers to consider humans' role in the current extinction, what we can learn from past extinction events, and how they can be part of efforts to prevent extinction. Hands-on activities, a fun narrative style, interesting facts, species spotlights, and links to primary sources combine to bring the subject of extinction to life in a fun and engaging way.
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School Library Connection: "Breaking down the complex topic of bioengineering into a kid-friendly format is a tough challenge, and Dr. Christine Burillo-Kirch does a fine job of doing just that. Bioengineering, the field which combines biology and engineering to build devices that help humans, is carefully defined and explained for upper elementary and middle school students. The text and comic style illustrations support science and STEM curriculum and projects while keeping it relatable and simple for budding scientists. The 25 projects, complete with supply lists and step-by-step directions, give students and teachers guidelines for meaningful projects and activities to extend learning and spark critical thinking. Recommended."
National Science Teachers Association Recommends
This book uses the concept of extinction to teach a little chemistry, a little climatology, paleontology, biology (biodiversity), ecology, and a lot of geology. The science information is historical and current, drawing on three-dimensional learning*, incorporating science practices to determine what factors affect extinction in general and specifically.
The integration of concepts help bring the science alive and relevant. I like the interactive side notes with website addresses and even more fun, QR codes. The QR codes link you to a variety of sources to dig deeper into specific content; these links alone make the book worthwhile to me. The activities include hands-on investigations, giving students opportunities to conduct experiments, to practice science while making connections, and to communicate their findings.
Finally! A book about paleontology that begins with a geological time scale stretching from Earth's beginning (about 4.6 billion years ago) to the present. Not only does the timeline map out eras, periods, and epochs, it also places the last five mass extinctions into context. Fortunately, the introductory chapter defines what an extinction is, detailing contemporary extinctions of species. Subsequent chapters examine causes of extinction, asteroid strikes, human evolution, and other examples of survival and adaptation. The author raises the possibility that we may currently be experiencing the sixth mass extinction, pushed by human impact on the environment.
This book is filled with hands-on activities, from making a fossil to examining how oceans are acidified (and the impact on shells). There's even a list of items to take on a (water) bear hunt. Additional features include text boxes that highlight fin facts; sidebars that provide definitions; and a series of species spotlights. What I really like: the last chapter lists concrete steps we can take to reduce human impact on our planet and slow the rate of species extinction.