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Plastic Ahoy!

Plastic Ahoy!

Mr. Ferris and his Wheel

In Finding Nemo, Nemo’s Dad Marlin wakes up riding on the back of Crush the sea turtle. Crush is surfing the East Australian Current (EAC) that runs along the coast of Australia. Currents are moving ocean water. They are generated by the wind, temperature, the amount of salt in the water (salinity), by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun, and by events like earthquakes. There are several currents in the earth’s oceans that constantly circulate the oceans’ water.

In some places out in the middle of the earth’s oceans, currents surround an area of ocean. These areas are called gyres. You can see the earth’s five gyres on this map. One of the gyres, located off the coast of California (it takes a week by boat to get there!) is called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Why is it called that? Because it is full of TRASH, namely, plastic. Water bottles, action figures, legos, you name it. If people somewhere on earth decided they didn’t want it, it’s out there, floating in the ocean, brought to this spot by the ocean’s currents.Gyres250

Plastic Ahoy! is the story of a research vessel called New Horizon that sailed to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to study the plastic there. The scientists wanted to answer important questions about how the plastic might be affecting the ocean and the creatures who live there. Questions like:

  • How much plastic is actually out there?
  • Are fish eating the plastic? Is it hurting them?
  • Are the plastic chemicals poisoning the water?

MapTriangles

The book follows three students, Darcy, Chelsea and Miriam, as they help gather samples and prepare experiments. As you can tell by the cover, the book is full of great photos of the ocean and all of the activities that take place on the boat, and not just the scientific ones. You also get to see how the scientists eat, sleep and keep fit while living for long periods of time on a small ship.

The book did three really important things for me.

  1. It made me want to learn more about the ocean.
  2. It made me worry about all that trash in the ocean.
  3. It made me want to do more to use plastic less.

The book also has extra interesting pieces of information that make you go, “Huh. Really?” Here are two things I thought were interesting:

1. What the number inside the recycling triangle means. When plastic is manufactured it is made into small pellets called nurdles. Nurdles are then formed into different shapes like milk jugs or patio chairs or legos. Different kinds of nurdles make different kinds of plastic. The number inside the recycling triangle that you see stamped on the bottom of things made from plastic, tells what type of nurdle was used. Knowing the number helps you know how to recycle the plastic. Interesting! When the recycle container shows which number can go in it – pay attention! It’s important!

2. What bioluminescence is and does. Bioluminescence is a chemical reaction inside organism that make them glow when they are scared. It is a defense to confuse predators. Sometimes, the movement of a ship on the water at night can scare bacteria in the water…the water is so full of bacteria that the water glows in the dark. I would love to see that!

Websites:

Books:

Tracking Trash Polluted Oceans What Can We Do About Oil Spills and Ocean Pollution
Im Not a Plastic Bag Save the Oceans Earth Friendly Waste Management
Trash Talk
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The Girl from the Tar Paper School

The Girl from the Tar Paper School

Mr. Ferris and his Wheel

Describes the peaceful protest organized by teenager Barbara Rose Johns in order to secure a permanent building for her segregated high school in Virginia in 1951, and explains how her actions helped fuel the civil rights movement.

Websites:

Books:

 

The Story of the Little Rock Nine Separate is Never Equal The Lions of Little Rock Ruby Bridges Goes to School
Remember The Power of One Through My Eyes
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The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats

The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats

Mr. Ferris and his Wheel

A fascinating look at how scientists solve a medical mystery when brown bats start dying off all across the country. Is climate change to blame? Are the bats sick? Do they have a fungus or a virus? Are they being poisoned? No one knows for certain. Walk with the scientists as they piece together evidence to help save the little brown bats. Wonderful pictures of the bats as well as the scientists at work in the lab and in the field, or in this case, the cave.

A finalists for the 2014 Cybils Award in the category: Non-Fiction for Early and Middle Grades.Cybils Logo

Websites:

Books:

Little Brown Bats Shoadows of Lght
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Beetle Busters

Beetle Busters

Mr. Ferris and his Wheel

This book about the tree-killing Asian longhorned beetle reveals how the help of everyday people, their neighborhoods, teams of beetle-sniffing dogs, and a nationwide effort from bug scientists to tree doctors are working to eradicate this invasive pest.

The Longhorn Beetle gets its name from its very long antennae, which look like two “long horns” coming off its head. There are two spiked protrusions coming off the thorax to aid in deferring predators.

Websites:

Longhorn Beetle

Books:

Emerald Ash Borer Beetles
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Stubby the War Dog

Stubby the War Dog

Mr. Ferris and his Wheel

American soldier J. Robert Conroy befriended a stray dog with a stumpy tail while training to fight overseas in WWI. They bonded so closely that Conroy smuggled him to Europe, where Stubby accompanied Conroy’s regiment on the Western Front, lending both his superior olfactory senses and amiable temperament to the war effort.

Conroy kept a scrapbook for Stubby. This book is FULL of great photos from it as well as remembrances from the people who were Stubby’s friends. Dog is definitely man’s best friend. Loyal with a capital “L”.

Websites:

Military Animals:

Animals at War Navy Seal Dogs Sea Lions in the Navy Combat Wounded Dogs
Rags Hero Dog of World War I Soldiers Dogs Stubby the Dog Soldier Military Dolphins
War Dogs Dogs on Duty Nubs

Military Animal Stories:

Caesar the War Dog Operation Blue Dragon Duke Dog Tags Prisoner of War Dog Tags Semper Fido
Dog Tags Strays Dogs of War Soldier Dog The Donkey of Gallipoli
Darling Mercy Dog of World War I Fly Cher Ami Fly Bunny the Brave War Horse

World War I:

50 Things World War I Voices of World War I Women Heroes of World War I The Sinking of the Lusitania
Harlem Hellfighters Treaties Trenches Mud and Blood Archie's War Truce the Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting
Shooting at the Stars The War to End All Wars Wordl War I For Kids War Game
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