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If you are looking for some books that aren’t the usual fare, why not try some science/nature themed poetry? Here are a few that deserve to be a part of every home library.

If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky and Ted Rand (Illustrator)

A friend of mine recently showed me this book, written all in haiku. Although that might sound about as exciting as bread molding, this is an incredible book. The vocabulary is stimulating, and the illustrations are superb. I would say this book would be acceptable as a read aloud for younger children and definitely would be a book your children would return to again and again. Although the cat is the title, most of the poems involve creatures from nature.

insectlopedia by Douglas Florian

My son’s first grade teacher gave a copy of this book to my son and he still cherishes it. I love the fact it is accurate and insightful, as well as creatively fun. And yes, the title is supposed to be in lower case.

mammalabilia by Douglas Florian

Douglas Florian actually has a whole series of poetry books, so if your child isn’t interested in insects, try some of the others.

in the swim by Douglas Florian

The Amazon.com review of this book says: “Even the most educated marine biologist could learn something from this whimsical, beautifully illustrated collection of 21 poems about sea life.”

Math Talk: Mathematical Ideas in Poems for Two Voices by Theoni Pappas

Although not a science book, per se, if you like poems for two voices, this is another fun one.

Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out by Ralph Fletcher

This book is a great resource for older children (and even adults) who are interested in writing poetry. If every school used this book to teach poetry, I am positive that poetry would be everyone’s favorite subject.

Finally, if you want to learn more about nature/science poetry, try The Miss Rumphius Effect website.

Hope you enjoy some poetry today!

A question just came in about what ant mandibles look like. Now this might not be something you think about every day, but it really is an interesting topic. I remembered a wonderful website that discusses all the things that ants do with their mandibles and shows some fantastic close up photographs of different species. I do have to warn you, however, it is written for adult scientists. The site is called Diversity of Ant Mandibles.

For a more child-friendly general discussionof insect mouthparts, check my recent post on the topic.

It's science fair season for us and we've been hard at work doing our research. I thought I'd share a few websites we found to be well-organized and helpful. Even if you aren't doing a science fair project, the ideas from some of these sites can lead to fun science explorations.

Useful Science Fair Websites:

Science Buddies has tons of free science fair project ideas. If you are looking for a topic, visit the “Topic Selection Wizard” which helps students narrow down their interests and pick a project. Although it does take a few minutes to wade through all the pages of questions, the end result was right on target for my son. The resulting projects were informative and had a lot of good, in depth detail.

The Exploratorium Learning Studio says it “receives many requests for help with science fair projects, both from teachers and students. We have brought together here some good places to start. Remember, they're just a start -- explore them!”

All Science Fair Projects has a lot of ideas, but beware, they have a lot of ads, too.

Science Fair Adventure seems well organized and easy to use

The Internet Public Library has a bunch of useful links to other sites, which seemed relevant and up-to-date.

Cool Science Projects has just what the name implies, with very interesting photographs.

Discovery Channel Education has information on the scientific method, etc.

SciFair.org has a lot of links to science pages, seems to be a well-maintained site

Inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement, and as you know, sites can change overnight, so check each one before you let your child explore. If you have found a useful website you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment.

There are numerous books available that are written to help kids find science fair projects.

Janice Van Cleave has a whole series of science fair books, such as:

Janice VanCleave's Guide to More of the Best Science Fair Projects by Janice VanCleave

Janice VanCleave's A+ Science Fair Projects by Janice VanCleave

You can find many other books about science fairs, too.

100 Amazing First-Prize Science Fair Projects by Glen Vecchione

The Complete Workbook for Science Fair Projects by Julianne Blair Bochinski

The Scientific American Book of Great Science Fair Projects by Scientific Americanand Marc Rosner

If a science fair project is in your child's future, help is only a book or a website away.