When Sue Found Sue by Toni Buzzeo
This book would definitely be welcome in my classroom. It would appeal to girls and boys in grades 2-5. While the reading level would be more appropriate for grades 3-5, there is too much content and learning to pass it up as a read-aloud in order to discuss vocabulary and the challenges of Sue Hendrickson’s life. Other books have been written about her which may provide additional information.
Biographical information about Sue Hendrickson is provided in a manner that children can link to, mainly her curiosity and preoccupation with finding things. Children do not hesitate to bend down and pick up items that interest them. Why not display these in the classroom and write about the adventure of finding them, why they’re kept, why they’re liked, etc. Illustrations could accompany these stories.
Paleontology books could be displayed with this book for those who are interested in animal skeletons and dinosaurs. Models of dinosaurs could accompany the display with sorting activities according to diet, size, and where they lived (world map). Sue Hendrickson read books about topics that interested her – what a good example for students!
Various forms of graphing (line, bar and pie) of the genres of books that interest the class could be constructed which may provide some interesting and useful information. Math questions would be a good follow up for comparing information on the graphs.
Science connections could include examining bones to determine what part of the body they came from. Bones could be saved from meals and then boiled, dried, and refrigerated until examined by students wearing plastic gloves. Drawing the bones and labeling the parts would help children look more closely and be more deliberate in their “research.” Magnifying glasses could be used to look at cells, cartilage, and marrow.
Illustrations were spot on for showing the tools and methods used by paleontologists. The water colored rock layers implied sedimentary rocks where water once covered the land. This is an important consideration for finding animal remains and leads to learning about sedimentation. Locating South Dakota, and perhaps specifically where T-Rex Sue was located could lead to internet research.
Finally, perhaps a school grounds DIG EVENT could also use stakes (popsicle sticks) and string to give each student a small plot and would necessitate the use of math skills; length, width, and even volume of soil removed. Improvised tools could be old tableware. Students and teachers may be curious about the history of the school property and wonder what may be dug up from long ago or from recent years. Findings should be displayed and interpreted in the classroom “museum.”