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Students create biome books

By Staff
Kim West
Russellville Middle School is now the proud home of 165 young authors after the completion of a recent homework project assigned by sixth grade science teachers Lee Brownell and Karen Sewell.
After completing a unit about biomes, the sixth graders were instructed to create an original book detailing what they had learned. They were required to include specific information about each of the six types of biomes – deciduous forest, rainforest, tundra, desert, grasslands and taiga.
"A biome is an area that has certain animals (fauna), climate, floras and location," said 11-year-old Madelyne Price, whose project was titled "The Best Book of Biomes from A-Z." "I liked learning about the desert the most, but I would like to live in the rainforest because of how much it rains there – they get 200 inches of rain every year, while a deciduous forest only gets 40 to 80 inches every year.
"I also like the animals in the rainforest, especially the elephants, fruit doves and tucans."
Classmate Austin James, 12, said he enjoyed learning about the tundra biome.
"I guess I liked learning about the tundra the most because I learned a pretty cool thing – 40 degrees is a hot day there, and it can get as cold as minus-60 degrees," said James, whose book was aptly called
"Six Different Books of the World" and earned the author an A-plus.
Jordan Cantrell, 11, said he would prefer living in the tundra, and he enjoyed learning about different animals that lived in each biome.
"I learned about the all animas in the biomes," said Cantrell, a student in Sewell's class. "I liked the thorny devil the most – it's like a lizard with spikes."
In addition to the required information, students were also encouraged to use creativity as many drew or included pictures and illustrations in their books.
"I liked this project because I liked doing the drawings, and you could draw the front cover the way you wanted to," said 11-year-old Carrie Beck, one of Sewell's students.
Brownell, who had already graded 50 books, said he was pleased by the students' response to the project.
"They all did a really good job and some of them impressed me with the extra information they found," said Brownell, who had his students create posters last year. "In class we talked about each of the six biomes, but they found a lot more information, especially about the rain forest.
Some students even found pictures on the Internet and put them in their books.
"My goal was mainly to increase their creativity and give them the experience of having to write and be an author."
Brownell said the books will be displayed so the students will have the chance to read each other's works.
"Mrs. (Molly) Bates, the school librarian, really liked the idea of having them on display so we're going to have them in the library soon," he said. "Not just the sixth graders can read them – the seventh and eighth graders will be able to as well."