Science Teaching Materials

BIG PICTURE SCIENCE PROVIDES:



Priscilla Spears, Ph.D. owns Big Picture Science and writes its materials. She has experience as a research scientist in microbiology and immunology. She has been a Montessori parent for many years and taught science lessons at lower and upper elementary levels, as well as assisting with elementary teacher training.


Priscilla is now available to give botany and other science workshops for teachers. Contact Priscilla for more information.



You can view Priscilla's presentation at the 2013 International Montessori Congress in Portland, Oregon at the following link. Please be aware that this is copyrighted material and do not copy it without written permission. Thank you. Cultivating Children's Interest in Plants

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WHAT'S NEW AT BIG PICTURE SCIENCE




Color Photos for the Tree of Life Charts

Color Photos for the Tree of Life Charts



This file enables you to print colored cards for the Tree-of-Life charts (available for free download). These are the same images as the ones on the black and white cards that come with the Kingdoms of Life Connected book. Note that not all of the images are in color. The true kingdoms – plant, animal, and fungi – and the macroscopic protists are in color, as are the cyanobacteria. The electron photomicrographs are still black and white because I did not choose to add artificial color to them. Print this file on letter-sized paper. You can print both sides of the cards or you can print just the color images on photo paper and adhere the new color ones to a set of black and white cards for the Tree-of-life chart. Additional printed sets of the black and white photo cards are available — see “Photo Cards for the Tree of Life Charts” in the Biology Teaching Materials listings.

For more information, visit our Learning Materials page.

Telling the Epic Story of Life in the 21st Century


Priscilla's notes on "Telling the Epic Story of Life in the 21st Century" presented in Dallas in March 2014 are available at this link: Telling the Story of Life 2014

A Spanish translation of the index of terms from Plant Lessons is available as a free download for the use of teachers. It is not to be used for commercial distribution. You can download the file from this link: Índice de términos del Plant Lessons


Illustrated Botany for Children

Illustrated Botany for Children: a Montessori Approach



(A Montessori botany nomenclature)

Part 1: The whole plant, roots, stems, and leaves

Copyright 2014 Big Picture Science and Houston Montessori Center

Here are the materials children need to solidify their botany knowledge. This set of files allows you to print booklets and matching cards that show the features of plants with attractive colored drawings and clearly written definitions. The content of these booklets and cards matches the lessons in Plant Lessons: Introducing Children to Plant Form and Function. The content is updated from traditional sets, and includes new, more mathematically defined leaf shapes.

For more information, visit our Learning Materials page.







Early Spring Flowers

Study Starter Cards for Early Spring Flowers



Start your springtime botany with these colorful cards, which help children learn the names of early blooming flowers and plants. This electronic download allows you to print half-page cards with color photos and name information for twenty flowers and shrubs, as well as four full-page tree cards that show and explain the flowers of maples, alders, and hazelnuts.



For more information, visit our Learning Materials page.







From the Biosphere to Atoms

From the Biosphere to Atoms: A Teacher’s Guide to the Organization of the Living World

Second edition, January 2013

This book presents a major concept framework for life science. It covers the structures of life, starting with the biosphere, and has information about 13 levels of structural organization. The levels include ecosystems, biological communities, organs and tissues, cells, and molecules. Each level has its own chapter, which gives important concepts, background information, and study and activity suggestions. The ideas in this book will help children to put atoms, molecules, and cells in perspective, as well as populations, ecosystems, and biomes. The second edition has new lessons and activities, plus updated classification information.



For more information about this new edition, visit our Learning Materials page.

Suggested to accompany the book: “From the Biosphere to Atoms” poster set.









Biosphere to Atoms Poster Set, by Priscilla Spears

Biosphere to Atoms Poster Set

These thirteen posters show the organization of the living world, an important framework idea for understanding the living world. The original black and white posters have been water-colored and enlarged to 11” X 14”. The levels illustrated are: biosphere, biomes, ecosystems, communities, populations, organisms, organ systems, organs and tissues, cells, subcellular structures and organelles, macromolecules, small molecules, and atoms. The set includes study questions and further information for teachers.

For more information about this new set of posters, visit our Learning Materials page.





Periodic Table of the Elements for Children

Periodic Table of the Elements

ALL NEW! From InPrint for Children, this up-to-date and one of-a-kind magnetic-receptive chart provides a first introduction to the periodic table. It is simplified to show only key data. The base grid identifies elements as solid, liquid, or gas at room temperature. One hundred eighteen magnetic vinyl tiles show the atomic symbols and atomic numbers of the elements. In addition, the tiles are color-coded to identify the elements as metal, semi-metal, or nonmetal. The child places the magnetic tiles on the chart by matching atomic numbers. (Note: All 118 tiles stay in place, even if the chart is displayed vertically.) This set includes an 11” x 16” chart of the completed periodic table, which lists the elements and their atomic numbers along with their attributes and origins. Also included is a smaller version of the same chart you can photocopy for the children, and background information and lesson suggestions for the teacher. The flexible vinyl chart (13” x 25”) is backed with adhesive so you can mount it on a rigid board of your choosing.

For more information, visit our Learning Materials page.

nesting and branching diagrams for the bony vertebrates, by Priscilla Spears

Nesting and Branching Diagrams for the Bony Vertebrates

This material helps children see the major lineages of vertebrates as biologists currently do. It gives them a bridge to branching diagrams and helps them learn to read and use these important diagrams. The file is designed to be printed on legal-sized paper or cardstock. This download includes references, teacher background material, lesson suggestions, the completed diagrams, and blank diagrams for the children to assemble.

For more information, visit our Learning Materials page.













Blue Flax Flower, by Priscilla Spears

Photo Cards for Botany Set 3
48 Flower Cards for Study and Sorting

After you have used Plant Lessons to introduce children to flowers, you will need photos of flowers for children to sort. Here are 48 beautiful color cards that can be used as follow-up after lessons on flower structures. This set includes text cards that explain what can be seen on the cards.

For more information about this new set of photo cards, visit our Learning Materials page.





Plant Lessons, by Priscilla Spears

Plant Lessons -- Introducing Children to Plant Form and Function

“I recommend this title highly to teachers, school libraries, and general libraries everywhere.” –reviewer in SB&F (Science Books and Films)

Second Edition, Revised 2010. This new print edition of Plant Lessons includes all of the material found in the Part 1 and Part 2 PDF (e-Book) files in one spiral-bound volume. Plant Lessons covers the whole plant; roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds. There are new lessons on leaf shapes, leaf margins, the leaf apex, the leaf base, and describing leaves in the field. There’s a new lesson on plant adaptations as well. The lesson revisions include more accurate and up-to-date terms, as well as improved fruit and seed germination lessons. Add to that over two hundred color photos, along with updated book and Internet resource lists, and you have a great approach to botany. You’ll be all ready to help cure plant blindness – the inability to see the beauty and diversity of plants and their forms and structures.

For more information about this new print edition, as well as the two-part downloadable PDF file (e-Book) editions, visit our Learning Materials page.

A Spanish translation of the index of terms from Plant Lessons is available as a free download for the use of teachers. It is not to be used for commercial distribution. You can download the file from this link: Índice de términos del Plant Lessons





Trilobite -- From Outline of Geologic Time and the History of Life

Outline of Geologic Time and the History of Life -- Revised 2014

Revised 2014. Do you have the current (geologic) time? Has your Clock of Eras become a "Clock of Errors?" Does your timeline of life tell an accurate story? Get the new Outline of Gelogic Time and the History of Life for updated information. Visit our Learning Materials page for a complete description.


Botany Lessons Downloads to Support the Teacher and Enliven Lessons

We’ve discontinued the Botany Lessons CD and now offer four electronic downloads in its place. They are pdf files (instantly downloadable e-books) of PowerPoint presentations, and they can be used for teacher education as well as classroom presentations. The slides are fully illustrated with color photos and they may be printed for use in your classroom. Each presentation has additional notes for the teacher.


Amaryllis -- Priscilla Spears

The Amaryllis: An Example for Botany Studies

The Amaryllis: An example for botany studies – This is a booklet for the elementary child and an example of information that can be given in botany studies. You can help your children observe and understand the developmental stages of a flower with this booklet. For more information about this new e-Book visit our Learning Materials page.




Photo by Priscilla Spears

The Plant Kingdom

The Plant Kingdom – The many illustrations are useful in the elementary classroom, and this can be used for secondary students and elementary teacher background as well. It covers all the major branches of the plant kingdom and has the orders of conifers, which are hard to find. For more information about this new e-Book visit our Learning Materials page.




Photo by Priscilla Spears

Flowering Plant Families

Flowering Plant Families – This shows 20 families of angiosperms and covers all major groups. The terminology and order has been revised to match the 2009 classification standard set by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. For more information about this new e-Book visit our Learning Materials page.




Photo by Priscilla Spears

Plant Form and Function

Plant Form and Function – This illustrates the six major parts of plants and covers the whole plant as well. It has many slides that will enhance plant lessons. For more information about this new e-Book visit our Learning Materials page.






Kingdoms of Life Connected -- A Teacher's Guide to the Tree of Life

New Book on the Diversity of Life

Kingdoms of Life Connected: A Teacher’s Guide to the Tree of Life (4th Printing - 2014) is a 198-page book that helps teachers present the Tree-of-Life view of life’s diversity to elementary and middle school students. The content includes “Coming of the Kingdoms” lessons and learning activities for all kingdoms plus the viruses. There are listings of book resources and Internet sites for each kingdom. This book includes black and white photo cards for charts that show the Tree of Life. The charts themselves are described in the book, and the files for printing them are available for download below. Email Priscilla to learn more about the book, or for information about buying the book today visit our Learning Materials page.









Tree of Life Chart

The Tree of Life Chart

The Tree of Life Chart accompanying Kingdoms of Life Connected: A Teacher’s Guide to the Tree of Life is available for free download. Visit our Learning Materials page for instructions.






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