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Every summer Maggie and her parents travel to the biological research station in Maine where she spends her days exploring the forest. Her interest in nature baffles her friend Mitch and delights her neighbours who enjoy teaching Maggie their First Nation traditions. A visiting scientist brings Maggie a special surprise for her birthday, but her initial excitement over the beautiful fire bugs is dampened by the ominous call of the Raven outside her bedroom window. Sure enough, the fire bugs begin to inexplicably die and Maggie is faced with an ecological mystery. She appeals to the reluctant Mitch for help, and together they experiment to test everything from global warming to the paper in the jar. Just when they both despair that the beautiful fire bugs will all perish, a most unusual answer solves the case. Meanwhile Mitch has discovered a new love of nature, her parents have a new research topic and Maggie has strengthened her resolve to protect the natural world.
This book would make an excellent companion to an ecosystem activity in which students explore and investigate insects found in a local habitat. The students could learn how to record information and sketch pictures into a field note book. The specimens could also be categorized by taxonomic features using equipment such as magnifying glasses and microscopes. Field observations could also be used to create food webs that demonstrate interactions within the habitat.
This novel might also serve as a catalyst for students to explore science careers related to the environment. They could research professions that interest them and prepare fact sheets that explain what each type of scientist does and the education/training required. The fact sheets could be displayed where other students could read them.
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