Children often ask, "What do you like best about writing nonfiction books?"
My answer RESEARCH! That's how I either get to do hands-on investigating myself or talk to experts.
|Me in Antarctica|
|Me and Baby Mike|
Or I get to interview experts around the world who have explored and investigated what I'm researching.
|Dr. Andrew Whitworth in 14-story tall tree in cloud forest in Peru studying woolly monkeys. Read about his research in WOOLLY MONKEY MYSTERIES (Millbrook, 2019)|
A great research topic for RESEARCHERS-IN-TRAINING is a local tree.
Older students can tackle investigating a tree in their home yard--or during a visit to a local park with their adult partner. Younger students can share in a class investigation of a tree in the school yard--or bring in a potted tree as a classroom "visitor".
Below is the hands-on investigation. It's to give a tree it's annual checkup.
A TREE'S CHECKUPPick a tree whose lower branches are easy to reach. Then check it out by answering these questions "Yes" or "No".
1. Are some twigs or branches bare?
(When it's still the season for leaves. In other seasons, there should be buds where new leaves will grow.)
2. Do any of the leaves look curled or dead?
(When it's still the season for leaves to be healthy.)
3. Look closely, do you see any holes or tunnels through the bark? If so, insects may have attacked the tree.
If you answered "No" more than "Yes" the tree is probably in good health
For the expert interview, the children could do this activity.
Have children interview an adult member of their family about a tree they remember from their childhood. They should work up 3 questions to ask their expert. Here are some samples they could use:
1. Where was the biggest tree you ever remember seeing as a child?
2. Can you tell me a story about any tree you remember from where you grew up?
3. Please tell me about any time you got to play in a tree. Did you climb up? Did you fall down? Did you have a tree house? Or a tree swing?