Sunday, October 10, 2010

Albert Einstein

From the Giants of Science series...

Albert Einstein by Katleen Krull, presents the story of Einstein in a reader friendly way, great for students in upper elementary grade classes. Krull informs the reader of Einstein's life and attempts to summarize some of Einstein's very confusing theories such as that of relativity. The reader finds that Einstein was much more than a genius. He was a son, a husband, a father, a friend. He struggled to make ends meat at times and was a famous and rich scientist at other times. He was a scientist of physics, a worker in a patent office, a political pacifist and also a Jew who had to run from Germany. His story told by Kathleen Krull opens up one's eyes to many different sides of Einstein that one normally would not think of.

Teachers: here are some resources and ideas to teach this book and about Einstein...

Web Resources:
  • Einstein Links: This website has a wealth of links about Albert Einstein. Any of these sites could be helpful for a lesson about Albert Einstein depending on the depth and breadth of the lesson or unit. One link includes a science site with tons of activities for kids relating to Albert Einstein. Another site gives some explanations of his most famous theories. These two sites are just the tip of the iceberg, and these sites can be useful for grades 4-12.
  • Presentation: This website is a Prezi presentation. It goes over the basic known facts about Einstein and could be used as an initiation to a unit or lesson about Albert Einstein. It could even be played in a class as students are entering in an upper elementary school classroom where the students switch classes for certain subjects. 
Key Vocabulary: There are a lot of content area words that students will probably not understand. In many instances, Krull explains the words, but in other instances, it is assumed that the reader already has the vocabulary. It will be important for this novel to know what your students do and do not know as far as tier 3 content area words. Here are some words I picked out that may need to be pretaught. However, I strongly reccomend reading this biography before your students because there may be other words your students need help on.
My words: Cubism, atonal, stream of consciousness, physics, reclusive, phenomena, rapture, deductive, relativity, intellectual, diplomatically, quirky, autism, echolalia, compulsory, dynamos, boisterous, diligence, solace, bohemians, bravado, doctoral dissertation, cloister, patent, synchronicity, illegitimate, photoelectric affect, quanta, quantum theory, theory of special relativity, fathom, rheumatism, counter intuitive manifesto, Nobel Prize, maverick, schizophrenia, ambivalent, pacifist, Nobel laureate, psychoanalysis

Before Reading: An anticipation guide would be extremely helpful for teaching this novel. Questions to ask would involve tier 3 content area words such as physics or even theory of special relativity. Most of Einstein's life is defined by big, scientific terms and the amount that your students know about these terms will shape your teaching.

During Reading: Have students write down questions they have while reading this novel. These questions could end up being a great post reading activity where you could have your students do research to answer one of the questions they have about Einstein and/or one of his theories.

After Reading/Writing: After reading have students write a persuasive essay in which they convince the audience which one of Einstein's discoveries was the most important.

Across the Curriculum:
Science: Students can research one of Einstein's discoveries and then share as a class in order to learn more about Einstein as well as the discoveries/inventions.

Krull, K. (2009). Albert Einstein (Giants of Science). New York: Viking Juvenile.

Happy Reading (& Running) =)

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