NSTA Recommends -- Reptiles and Amphibians

These valuable reviews of science-teaching materials focus on books that explore reptiles and amphibians. They are suggested for use in the classroom by K-college science teachers and professors.

NSTA Recommends – Reptiles and Amphibians

The following are excerpts from K-12 NTSA Recommends book reviews.

Grades K-4

Frogs, Toads, and Turtles
by Diane L. Burns
Reviewed by Margaret Halupka – Elementary Teacher of Science

Young scientists are provided with several craft project ideas, including making a frog puzzle, making a toad house, or making a turtle paperweight. The book ends with a few blank pages where the readers are encouraged to "scrapbook" their adventures and observations of the world of amphibians and reptiles. This book can serve as a user-friendly reference book that affords its readers hours of fun and adventure.

Snakes, Salamanders, and Lizards
by Diane L. Burns
Reviewed by Teri Cosentino – Elementary School Science Teacher

The colorful and interesting book can be used for animal identification or as an independent research tool for children in grades three to eight. It would be a useful tool for teaching food webs and introducing students to the amazing diversity of animals right in their own backyards!

Grades K-8

Interrupted Journey: Saving Endangered Sea Turtles
by Kathryn Lasky
Reviewed by Sara Stewart – Grade 6 Teacher

A stranded sea turtle is rescued from a beach and rushed to the New England Aquarium, where he joins several other sea turtles that have been rescued by volunteers. At the aquarium, the turtles are examined and cared for. Every step of the turtles' treatment is discussed; they are carefully weighed, examined, observed, and even hand-fed. The vet team takes temperature and blood samples to determine the health status of the turtles. Throughout the examination, diagnosis and treatment options for the turtles are explained.

Grades 5-12

Galapagos Islands
by Linda Tagliaferro
Reviewed by C. Paula Lawrence – Science Department Chair

The Galapagos have a unique and fascinating natural history; the giant tortoises, island birds, and marine iguanas are all inhabitants of this fragile ecosystem. After detailing the threats facing the Galapagos, a chapter describes conservation programs implemented to save these magical islands. The author includes modern techniques such as DNA sequencing to keep the content current.

by Martin Gaywood and Ian Spellberg
Reviewed by C. David Brock – Science Department Chair

The title of this book just about says it all. Snakes is a small, encyclopedic work on the general biology, diversity, predatory habits, and ecological role of snakes. Although the authors present the information in a streamlined fashion that can border on the terse, they do include enough interesting stories to keep the reader's attention.

Amphibians: The World of Frogs, Toads, Salamanders, and Newts
by Robert Hofrichter
Reviewed by C. Rita Hoots – Professor

The book fits its description as "the ultimate guide to the world of amphibians." As a classroom book, it may be too large and detailed, but it would make an excellent library resource. Students of all ages will be fascinated by these remarkable creatures. Readers can become collectors of amphibians by using the included information on how to photograph amphibians and on how to keep and maintain a terrarium. This user-friendly volume is complete with an index and comprehensive bibliography of sources.

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