by Jon Scieszka

Scieszka, Jon. Ill. Lane Smith. 2004. Science Verse. New York: Viking.

Introduction:  Imagine if one day everything you heard sounded like a poem.  Not just any poem, mind you, but a science poem.  That's right! Poetry and science have come together.  Listen up as you hear the science verse in Scieszka's book.  Show the cover art of the book and tell the audience ahead of time, the topics covered in Science Verse.  Scientific topics include:  Evolution, Water Cycle, Food Chains, Matter and many other spoofs on famous poems from a scientific point of view.

Summary:  A young boy feels he has been cursed with science verse by his teacher, Mr. Isaac Newton.  And on Thursday, he begins hearing everything as a science poem.  The entire story takes place during a single class period as Mr. Newton teaches in poetic form.  All the while the boy is dreaming while he sleeps. When the boy awakes, he realizes he is cured of his science verse curse.  But then he goes to Mr. Picasso's class...

There are many wonderful science poems in this book.  Each poem is filled with facts about a science topic, but it also serves up a dose of humor like only Scieszka and  Smith can do.  I have chosen one of my favorites from the book to share.  The poem is called, The Senseless Lab of Professor Revere.  See if you can guess what it is about.

The Senseless Lab of Professor Revere

Listen, my children
And you shall hear
Of how loud noises
go in your ear.

And look, my youngsters 
bright lights will be
the way you figure out
how you see.

And feel, my students
Is that too much?
With gopher guts, 
you learn to touch.

And chew, my kiddies.  
Oh what a waste.
That frog-eye stew 
was for you 
to taste.

And sniff, my scientists
Ain't it swell
How ten-year-old cheese
demonstrates smell?

So those are your senses.

Class is done.

Next week - diseases!   

Won't that be fun?

Extension:  Ask students if they had a favorite poem from the story?  What other science topics would they like to see in the book?  Invite children to work in a small group to create their own science verse.  

Review Excerpt:  Kirkus Review (August 15, 2004) In 1995, Mrs. Fibonacci laid a Math Curse; this year, it's Mr. Newton who says, "...if you listen closely enough, you can hear the poetry of science in everything."  What follows is a madcap collection of science poetry that lampoons familiar songs and poems.

Other books by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith:
Cowboy and Octopus. 2007. Viking.
Squids will be Squids:  Fresh morals, beastly fables. 1998. Viking.
Math Curse. 1995. Viking.

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