Hands-on lessons can be fun and compelling, but when it comes to life science, they aren't always possible, practical, effective, or safe. Children can't follow wolves as they hunt elk, visit a prehistoric swamp, or shrink down to the size of a molecule and observe photosynthesis firsthand. But they can explore a whole world of animals, plants, and ecosystems through the pages of beautifully illustrated, science-themed picture books.

Perfect Pairs, which marries fiction and nonfiction picture books focused on life science, helps educators think about and teach life science in a whole new way. Each of the twenty lessons in this book is built around a pair of books that introduces a critical life science concept and guides students through an inquiry-based investigative process to explore that idea-;from life cycles and animal-environment interactions to the inheritance of traits and the critical role of energy in our world.

Each lesson starts with a Wonder Statement and comprises three stages.

  • Engaging Students features a hands-on activity that captures student interest, uncovers current thinking, and generates vocabulary.
  • The heart of the investigative process, Exploring with Students, spotlights the paired books as the teacher reads aloud and helps students find and organize information into data tables.
  • Encouraging Students to Draw Conclusions shows students how to review and analyze the information they have collected.

Bringing high-quality science-themed picture books into the classroom engages a broad range of students, addresses the Performance Expectations outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards, and supports the goals of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. Even if you are science shy, Perfect Pairs can help you become a more confident teacher whose classroom buzzes with curious students eager to explore their natural world.

chapter |6 pages


chapter |8 pages

Getting Started

chapter |9 pages

Meeting the Standards

part |76 pages

Lessons for Grade 3

part |62 pages

Lessons for Grade 4

chapter Lesson 4.1|10 pages

How Our Body Structures Help Us Survive

chapter Lesson 4.2|8 pages

How Feathers Help Birds Survive

chapter Lesson 4.3|9 pages

How a Tree's Structures Help It Survive

chapter Lesson 4.4|9 pages

How Animals Depend on Their Senses

chapter Lesson 4.5|11 pages

How Natural Resources Provide Electrical Energy

part |74 pages

Lessons for Grade 5