Break the Silos of Science and Social Studies with Picture Books

Time. When there isn’t enough of it, we get creative with finding a way to get everything done. Sometimes that means scrapping certain lessons to finish core work. Often, social studies and science lessons get put to the wayside.

Here is how you can help teachers keep social studies and science lessons on the docket:

  • Offer picture books that cover both subjects
  • Suggest collaborating on projects to integrate core subjects

Picture Books

Ada’s Violin


“Ada’s Violin” is about a young girl named Ada who plays the violin. But not just any violin. Ada’s violin was built from free materials that encroached her town: garbage.

Second grade teacher Becky Granatini shares her thoughts on the book: “Ada’s Violin is a favorite of mine because it is the story of a community that rises from poverty, crime and sadness. Ada, with the support of music teacher Favio Chavez, creates an orchestra from instruments made from recycled materials. Many children from the city join in and music becomes an integral part of the hope that sustains them, and brings them out into the world as a sold out act across the globe.”

Take a look at this video about the orchestra to learn more about this great story.

Farmer Will Allen: Growing Table


“Farmer Will Allen” by Jacqueline Briggs Martin is another great story that combines social studies and science. In this true story, Allen grows a farm in an empty lot in the middle of Milwaukee. Allen finds that farming in the city is problematic, but Allen tackles each issue and learns about aquaponics and hydroponics along the way. This is a great story about a man who farms in unique areas to offer people healthy, affordable food choices.

Enjoy this short film about Allen and his cause for healthy eating.



Collaborative Projects

  • Work with the music teacher and classroom teacher and create your own recycled orchestra
  • Find a small space to grow a classroom vegetable garden
  • Collaborate with a teacher using “Picture Perfect Science Lessons.” The lessons included in these books match the perfect picture books with lessons children love. I have used the lessons many times with different teachers and we have enjoyed every lesson.

Padlet of Resources

Please add social studies/science books to this Padlet that break down the silos of compartmentalized learning .


Author: Maureen Schlosser

Author: Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades and Social and Emotional Learning for Picture Book Readers published by ALA Editions
Skillshare Teacher:

Categories: Blog Topics, Collection Development, Community/Teacher Collaboration

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