Earth is our home, full of environmental problems and diverse life. This four book series covers the gamut of important topics.

Each of the 122 page books provide resources, background information, and hands-on environmental projects perfect for middle grade minds. The chapters begin with a cartoon featuring young inquisitive kids and an essential question. From there it is off to explore each topic. Pictures are scattered throughout and QR codes lead to primary resources. New words are defined in a handy WORDS TO KNOW corner panel. A full glossary and resource section in the back are invaluable.

These are not dry textbooks. They’ll motivate youngsters to become more aware of life on earth and encourage understanding in a fun interactive way. Here are a few highlights from each edition:

Planet Earth: Finding Balance on the Blue Marble with Environmental Science Activities for Kids introduces middle grade readers to all the parts of the natural world, including the oceans, the atmosphere, the earth, and everything in between. In this book, kids master ecology basics, such as the food web and animal habitats, while also learning about environmental issues such as wind and solar power, endangered species, climate change, and more. Stories about new innovations in fields such as recycling, agriculture, and energy production galvanize readers to turn their creative thinking skills to their own inventions.

Twenty activities are included. Many are intended to be completed at home, but teachers could also use them in the classroom. My favorites were Build your own worm castle  and the Make your own Ozone Deletion Experiment.

Garbage: Follow the Path of Your Trash with Environmental Science Activities for Kids invites middle graders to investigate the world of trash! The average American produces more than four pounds of trash every day—multiply that by 300 million people and you’ve got a lot of garbage! Where does it go? How does it break down? What are the challenges of dealing with so much waste? What can we do decrease the amount of stuff we are throwing away? Garbage explores questions like these while encouraging kids to think about the choices they make that generate garbage in the first place.

The book begins with an eye-opening spread of how long certain pieces of trash last in our environment. A great reminder to recycle and sets the stage for the more than two dozen activities. You can even test which materials break down most efficiently on your own in one of the experiments. The final chapter titles of REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, and RETHINK focus on changing our behavior toward garbage.

Biodiversity: Explore the Diversity of Life on Earth with Environmental Activities for Kids introduces middle schoolers to the evolution of life on Earth, beginning with the first single-celled organisms that emerged 3.8 billion years ago to the complex, multi-celled organisms that exist today and make up the tree of life. Biodiversity is found everywhere on the planet—on land, in the water, and even in extreme environments such as ice and volcanoes. There are actually entire microbiomes beneath our feet, in puddles, and even in our belly buttons!

Biodiversity is big word with a simple meaning: It includes humans and the millions of other species like plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and microorganisms who share  the space we call earth. It’s a web of more than 1.5 million species! The twenty plus activities are the most wide ranging of all the books: Ones on Acid Rain, Oil Spills, Candy Bar Dissection, and Making Biogas are a sampling.

In Biomes: Discover the Earth’s Ecosystems with Environmental Activities for Kids, middle school kids journey across the planet and visit the world’s nine terrestrial and aquatic biomes to learn about the distinctive climates, geologies, resources, and organisms that can be found there. Kids will wander through forests, sizzle in deserts, shiver in the tundra, plunge beneath the seas to explore coral reefs, and slog through marshy waters. Along the way, readers will encounter the flora and fauna adapted for survival in each unique climate zone. They’ll learn about gnarly krumholz trees, bioluminescent sea creatures, camouflage, carnivorous plants, and blubbery marine critters.

A fun look at the different biomes, driving home the point “Every little action is connected to every other action!” You’ll be making your own recycled paper, planting a hummingbird garden, and testing air quality. Two dozen activities in all.

Nomad press has created a winning series. It’s hands-on, up to date, with solid science practices. Use as a resource or the centerpiece for an entire unit of study. Learning as it was meant to be where doing promotes never forgetting.


Coming up this Monday is another edition of…

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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  1. I really enjoyed your post. Great topic for kids! Many projects that would highlight Earth Day, on April 22. The theme this is protecting our environment – our planet. This four book series would be excellent classroom books.

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