Within this STEAM Reader Activity Book, the seventh-grade students at Sunny Street Middle School continue their journey with our readers. The following describes key content areas in the book and is meant as a general summary as it is not comprehensive of all subject matter.
We join our students at a soccer game where Lia finally makes it on the team. Lia scores a critical goal but slips and injures her ankle. After the game, Lia heads to the local hospital with her friends to discover she has broken a bone in her foot. The friends chat with the doctor and share their knowledge of cell theory and cell structure. Dr. Baxter teaches them about how multi-cellular animals are organized. When back at school, they learn about the chemistry of matter, which is linked to the composition of the human body, including the four main groups of organic compounds. They learn about the role of inorganic calcium compounds and how they are essential in X-Rays and now understand what was showing up on Lia’s X-Ray. In the next chapter, we follow the class as they use their knowledge of the organization of the human body to create the movie ‘Fantastic Voyage’ as a play to present to the school.
Alejandro’s dog Socks makes an appearance as he responds to a danger demonstrating a reaction to an external stimulus and homeostasis as he pants to cool down. When Alejandro, Mee, and Zane meet with Zane’s father, the local vet, he explains the importance of homeostasis to maintain stable internal conditions. We meet with Socks again later in the Reader Book as we find Alejandro testing Socks with a genetic kit to see what breed he is. In class, they learn about heredity, how genetic traits are passed from generation to generation through genes found on chromosomes, and the differences between asexual and sexual reproduction.
We join Dave, Riku, and Louis as they prepare for their Little League baseball game. They listen to their coach and make sure that they eat the right foods to create a store of potential energy in their body, and this pays off as they win their game.
We find Zane working at the local pet store as he dreams of having an aquarium in his bedroom. When he finally sets up his aquarium with his friends Rosa and Tlingit, they discover bubbles on the underwater plants. They predict that the air bubbles result from photosynthesis, which is confirmed in class the next day, where they learn about photosynthesis in greater detail. They learn how the energy trapped in plants as primary producers are transferred up a food web or chain. They then begin a study of plant structure and function, which leads to a demonstration in the classroom for Open House.
We meet again with Tlingit’s grandfather Taku and Rosa’s father, Dr. Slater, a satellite engineer, exploring the Solar System and why Earth is a unique planet to support life. They then explore the requirements for living things to survive in space on a space station. They discover that the plant zinnia, which has been grown in space, and the trio of friends, decides to embark on a project to create a demonstration of Space Plants for their local County Fair. They take first place for the Most Creative Plant Exhibit category!
In the after-school club, Yue, Sarah, and Dave make a bird feeder. They notice a particular adaptation of a Finch to break open seeds with its beak. This discovery leads to them learning about natural and artificial selection and how it creates our world’s biodiversity.
In the last chapter of our Reader Book, we find Sarah, Riku, and Alejandro volunteering for the National Parks. They learn about the importance of freshwater and how a drought can lead to a forest fire as they survey an area in the park devastated by a fire. They witness a landslide after a storm and study weathering, erosion, and deposition when back at school. After six months, they re-visit the National Park to discover that succession has begun in the area devastated by the forest fire.