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Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science


Found in: 3-5; 6-8; 9-12; science

Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science (2016) by Jeannine Atkins provides imagined glimpses into the lives of three women who added to the fields of entomology, paleontology, and astronomy. The book features three, free verse accounts of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) Mary Anning (1799-1847) Maria Mitchell (1818-1889). Merian was painting insects and plants at 13 and is considered by David Attenborough to have made significant contributions to the study of insects. Anning collected fossils and found some of the first ichthyosaur, pterosaur, and plesiosaur skeletons in England. Though consulted by scientists, she could not join the Geological Society of London and was not always given full credit for her contributions. As a Quaker, Mitchell received the same education as her brothers. She helped her father is his school and in his astronomical observations. She became the first female professional astronomer in the U.S. and, in 1847, discovered a new comet. Each of the three sections comprises chapter poems that focus on aspects of their lives and work. Ask for Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science at your local library.

Historical Fiction, Poetry, Grades 5-Up

Lesson Plans

Scientific Illustrations: Art/Science (PDF) (6-12) Students draw from specimens under microscopes and magnifying glasses to see details, structures, and patterns that are otherwise missed.

Two articles provide more information on Marian and examples of her scientific illustrations. A Pioneering Woman of Science Re‑Emerges After 300 Years  And The Woman Who Made Science Beautiful

Fantastic Fossilization! Discover the Conditions For Creating the Best Cast Fossils (5-8) Students cast fossils using a seashell and three types of soils, and determine if the quality of the cast fossil depends on the kind of soil in which it was created.

From the Internet to Outer Space  (K-6) Students use Google Sky to observe features of the night sky and share their observations.

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