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This may surprise you, but middle school students LOVE listening to books read out loud!!
Reading has always been one of my favorite ways to relax and unwind! I love to share my love with reading with my science students through read alouds in the classroom.
Science novels in middle school make great read alouds, novel studies, and unit hooks!
Why use science novels in the middle school classroom?
- Expose students to new books and authors
- Great jumping point for discussions
- Novels that integrate science can help students see real-world applications
- Using science novels in middle school is a great way to extend the curriculum and enhance a love of reading!
Short on time? Here are a few ideas for fitting science novels into your middle school classroom:
- Begin class with a few pages of the novel to get the class settled and focused.
- Use the first chapter or excerpt to to introduce a new unit.
- Combine ELA and have students write short summaries of the novel.
- Select books that are related to your unit of study and read only the first chapter to expose them. Set aside copies in the school library for students to borrow.
HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE SCIENCE NOVELS FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL WITH SOME FREE RESOURCES!
Historical fiction plus a graphic novel? Yes please!
Laikia is both a quick read and a huge hit during our space unit!
It’s the fictionalized story of Laika, the first living creature that was launched into space.
Dog lovers, you may need a box of tissues, but this is definitely worth the read!
In this realistic fiction novel, the main character loses her best friend in a drowning accident. The main character struggles to make sense of this tragedy, and is convinced that it was caused by a rare jellyfish sting.
This book is interwoven with interesting scientific facts that make it a great read-aloud for middle school science students.
Bonus – it’s in the works with Netflix to make a movie!!!
3. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Yes, your students probably read The Lorax in elementary school, but this quick and easy book takes on a whole new meaning when students get older!
4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
This true story is about a poor southern woman who had her cervical cells unknowingly harvested without her consent when she was treated for cancer in 1951. Over the years, her cells have paved the way for scientific discoveries and have become one of the most important tools in medicine.
This book is a great segue into difficult questions about ethics, race, and culture.
There is a Young Reader’s Edition of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot & Gregory Mone) that’s an age appropriate choice for middle school students. It ties very well into the life science curriculum. ***However, this edition seems to be out of print at the time, and can be difficult to find.
Teacher’s Guide & Movie Version
5. Hidden Figures (Young Reader’s Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterly
Students will love the true story about four African American women who helped NASA to launch our country into space. They may have already seen the movie, but trust me, the books are always better!
There are several free resources available to enhance the novel!
6. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Reader’s Edition) by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is based on the true story of a 13 old boy from Malawi who uses engineering to save his village from famine.
Students will love this inspiring story that weaves science concepts of magnetism and energy.
Some resources you may enjoy:
- William Kamkwamba’s TED Talk about his experiences in Malawi.
- Teacher’s Guide from Howard Community College with lots of ideas for introducing the novel, discussion questions, and assignment ideas
- Netflix released a movie adaptation in 2019.
7. Hoot by Carl Hiassen
Learning about endangered species? Students will love Hoot, a perfect novel for middle school filled with mystery, suspense, and of course, endangered species.
Scholastic has a free teacher’s guide available with lessons for students to discuss, research, and write about topics from the novel.
A movie version of Hoot was released in 2006. Currently it is available on Netflix.
8. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Life as We Knew It is the first in a series about the moon being pushed closer to Earth and how it changes EVERYTHING!
This survival story is told through the main character, Miranda’s journal entries.
Thinking about using this book in class? Take a look at Susan Beth Pfeffer’s blog post loaded with TONS of resources for using it in the classroom!