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Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Title: Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdika

Author: Jim Ottavlani

Illustrator: Maris Wicks

Publisher: First Second

Publication Date: June 11, 2013

This graphic novel follows the true story of three female scientists who risked their lives for research that changed the way we think about primates. While Jane Goodall is the name that comes to most people’s minds when they think of scientists working with primates, she wasn’t the only scientist of her time working with them. This non-fiction story is broken down into three parts. Part one starts when Jane is a young girl telling her mother she wants to live with wild animals when she grows up. Teenage Jane finds herself in an animal-less job at a documentary film company, but a meeting with Dr. Louis Leakey, the curator of the Coryndon Museum in Nairobi, changes her life and sets her down the path that will lead her to become one of the most influential primatologists of all time. Part Two and Part Three document Dian Fossey’s work with gorillas and Birute Galdiks’ work with orangutans respectively after their own meetings with Louis Leaky. Part Four shows the three women’s paths crossing and how influential each of them were to their field. 

Primates is a great text for both English and science classes. Multiple points of view make close reading a necessity and the different parts evaluate the different methods that each scientist brought to the field. The illustrations are highly engaging and amusing. This book is a great introduction to primatology and conservation. Perfect to use in conjunction with evolution units or to show students that it’s ok to make mistakes and think outside the box!

Examples of common core standards this book can be used to help fulfill:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.3 Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.3 Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).

Teacher’s guide created by First Second can be found here.

Explaining the Common Core State Standards.

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

The Council of the Great City Schools has created a wonderful three-minute explanation of the Common Core State Standards that uses images and words to help viewers better understand the topic.