Children’s Story Assignment Directions

Due Tuesday, September 21
For your first assignment, you will write a children’s story based on the organism you are observing in your biology lab. The story will be read by fourth and fifth grade students (roughly ages 8-10) from Houghton Elementary School. In addition to sharpening your ability to communicate scientific material to others, your efforts will be rewarded by real responses from real students. In the past, these responses have always been thoughtful and entertaining.

For this assignment, your story should:

  • include both written and visual components
  • be based on what you can learn/ have learned about the organism you have chosen for your biology experiments
  • be creative, entertaining, and well thought-out
  • be appropriate for this age group (We will look at some examples in class)

Beyond these requirements, you have a free hand to invent the most creative story you can. You can draw on your experiences at Cole’s Creek. You can draw on your experiences in lab. You can draw on any other experiences related to biology or writing or working with children that will help you to write and illustrate an appealing story.

For the visuals, you can use computer-generated images, collages, drawings, paintings- anything you think will support your story and your work well. You should, however, be prepared to talk about why you chose the visuals and layout that you did, and what you hoped to accomplish with these choices.

If you aren’t quite sure where to begin, try to think back to the types of stories you liked to read when you were younger. In addition, you might want to consider options such as giving them choices about how to proceed through your story, or including activities for entertaining readers while also informing them about your organism.

Other questions that you should consider:

  • What do you want your readers to learn from this story?
  • How must you use language in order to make fourth and fifth graders understand what you are trying to communicate?
  • How do children see or look at nature?
  • What types of issues, ideas, language, etc. are appropriate for this age group? What is inappropriate?
  • How can you get them interested in your organism?
  • How can you use visual elements to best support or enhance your ideas