Picture Perfect Science

PB186X2One of my goals with this blog is to provide you with lessons that connect science and picture books. I recently discovered one of the best resources available—a series of three books called Picture Perfect Science Lessons by Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan.

Right now I’m taking a fabulous online course with one of the authors  through the NSTA Learning Center. I love this course because Emily Morgan is “modeling” many of the lessons from her books.

I was delighted to discover that the authors chose some of Dawn Publications’ books to use in their lessons. More Picture Perfect Science Lessons uses Sunshine on My Shoulders.

LESSON PLAN: Sunshine on My Shoulders

The words of the picture book Sunshine on My Shoulders are the actual lyrics from John Denver’s famous song. The light, bright, and sometimes humorous illustrations (by Christopher Canyon) depict a young girl’s glorious sunny day.

Suggested Grade Level: K-2


This lesson is one of a series of four lessons about sunlight, which are described in detail in More Picture Perfect Science Lessons. I encourage you to get this book or one of the other books in the series. They’re great!

  • Day 1: Students experiment with “mystery beads”—UV-sensitive beads.
  • Day 2: Students read an article about sun safety.
  • Day 3: Use the following lesson plan featuring Sunshine on My Shoulders.
  • Day 4: Students draw pictures depicting themselves outside wearing UV protection, such as a hat and sunscreen.)
  1. Show the cover of Sunshine on My Shoulders and ask students: “How does it make you feel to have the sun shining on your shoulders?”
  2. Read the book. You may also want to play the CD (enclosed in the hardback version of the book). It’s also fun to have your students sing along with John Denver.
  3. Ask students: “What are some good things about sunshine? What are some harmful things about sunshine? Have you ever had a sunburn? What are some ways you can protect yourself?”
  4. Explain to students that UV light is the light that burns skin. Sunscreen can protect skin from UV light. Ask students: “What would happen to the UV beads if they were coated with sunscreen.”
  5. Test the question by generously coating five beads with sunscreen. Take those beads and five beads without sunscreen into the sunlight. Let children observe them.
  6. Have the children compare what happens to both types of beads. Then ask: “Do you think the sunscreen blocked all of the UV light?” (No, because some of the beads coated in sunscreen did turn color slightly.)

Common Core Connection:
~Speaking and Listening: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas (K.4, 1.4, 2.4)

Next Generation Science Standards Connection:
~Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer (K-PS-1, K-PS-3; K-ESS-3C)
~Waves and Their Applications (1-PS4-3)
~ Matter and Its Interactions (2-PS1-2)
~Engineering Design (K-2-ETS1)

subscribe     Blog by Carol Malnor I love making connections: kids and nature, science and reading, fun and learning. I discovered the joy of connecting Dawn Publications' books with kids when I was a classroom teacher. Dawn's books were easy to incorporate into my lessons and the kids loved them. I used picture books with students of all ages, from primary school all the way up through 9th grade. Over the years, my relationship with Dawn changed and developed, and I authored Dawn’s Teacher’s Guides as well as writing books for children 4-14 years old. ARTICLE How to Use Creative Nonfiction Picture Books in Support of Common Core and Science ACTIVITIES Dawn Publications STANDARDS Common Core State Standards Next Generation Science Standards National Science Teachers Association Picture Perfect Science   OTHER FAVORITES Dawn Publications Children and Nature Network
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