Density can be a tough concept for little learners to grasp. Two objects that are the same size are not necessarily the same density thereby allowing one to float, but causing one to sink. Similarly, a very large and heavy object might float while a smaller lighter object might sink based on the objects’ densities. This is confusing stuff! David Adler’s Things That Float and Things That Don’t does a fantastic job of simplifying and illustrating exactly these concepts.
Adler presents a variety of different scenarios to illustrate the concept of density, and encourages young readers to hypothesize about and experiment with density on their own. He even discusses the idea that when something is added to the water, like salt, to create solution, it changes the density of the water thereby affecting what will float. Simple, clear illustrations by Anna Raff compliment the text and further demonstrate the concepts presented in the text. With young learners, having an added visual element is particularly helpful as they are still learning how to read critically.
This is a great book to support the Common Core State Standards in both math and English language arts for early elementary grades. In terms of math, the book does a great job to meet the standards regarding measurement and the interpretation of data. In addition, it is also an excellent early stepping stone in developing the ELA skill of being able to read and comprehend technical language and informational texts. The Common Core State Standards were developed to build upon one another from year to year, and Things That Float and Things That Don’t provides a solid base upon which to build future skills in both math and English language arts.
Here are a few, but by no means all, of the standards that this book addresses.
• CCSS.Math.Content.K.MD.A.1 Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.
• CCSS.Math.Content.K.MD.A.2 Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has “more of”/“less of” the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.4 Ask and answer questions to help determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.6 Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.6 Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
*All standards are taken from the Common Core State Standards Initiative website.
Posted by: Staci