Posts Tagged ‘The Private Eye’

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge

On Sunday I posted about using jeweler’s loupes with my students in science and writing poems.  I felt a little guilty writing poems in science class, like that was somehow not allowed.  But my friend and slicer Dani Burtsfield posted a link to a podcast in her comment.  The podcast from Heinemann featured Amy Ludwig VanDerwater talking with authors Valerie Bang-Jensen and Mark Lubkowitz about science and poetry.

Amy asks, “Is a poem a system?”

She continues, “”Do you feel if a poem is a system … is the reader’s intent and background, when a reader comes to a poem, is that energy that flows through that system?”

Later, Amy brings up genre study. “one of the things I see that happens with writing is that … sometimes writing is divided up into these little genres, and we do this for a few weeks, we do this for a few weeks, and we do this for a few weeks. But what gets lost, and what can get lost, is the bigger idea of how to notice these patterns. How to see how interlocking pieces of words work together in a text beyond genre, like transcending, flying over genre.”

Amy’s ideas led me to my lesson today with my science kids.  I wanted to use the patterns of poetry to notice the patterns in science, to fly over genre.

We were using jeweler’s loupes to look at plants, but today we were looking closely at mold.  Last week we set up mold terrariums using ziplock bags and a slice of bread and apple.  Following the weekend, guess what grew?  Yucky mold!

Mold on an apple

“What does the mold remind you of?”

“An old man’s beard.”

“Whipped cream!”

“Let’s write a poem about it.”

Moldy Poem

Mold is growing on our food.
We know it’s made of spores.
Now it looks like
an old man’s beard,
white and green like sour cream.

Mold is creeping like a fox
preying on a squirrel.
Decomposing apples and bread
like bacteria in my mouth.
A marshmallow made of spores.

Writing this poem helped solidify some science concepts through discussion and creativity, observation and discovery. I think we’ll write poems in science more often. Thanks, Amy, Valerie, and Mark for permission.

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Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge





I teach science to one of my groups of gifted kids.  While I think science is fascinating, I don’t feel like an expert in teaching it, so I’ve taken on a stance of discovery and inquiry.

We made nature journals to begin our study of food webs and plants. The school has an amazing garden that we visited to make observations.

Equipped with jeweler’s loupes from The Private Eye kits we ventured to the garden for “research “. I had my phone with me and enjoyed taking photos by holding the jeweler loupe up to the lens.

Back in the classroom we talked about how we can use analogies to write about something in nature.

What does a snail remind you of? We made a list:

  • a snake
  • green heart from Moana
  • fake snail on SpingeBob
  • curled up caterpillar
  • spiraled spider egg
  • Yin Yang symbol
  • a design with swirls
  • God’s eye
  • a seashell

We wrote a poem from their list:

I found a snail in the garden
like a snake curled up small
or a caterpillar in a cocoon.
It looked like a spiral spider egg
or a design on wallpaper–
God’s eye?
An E all swirled around.




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