EarthTeller Tales

Hook Them With Story

"When we’re teaching about the natural science that we love, I think we often deluge our students with answers to questions that they have not asked. Why should they care? Why do they need to know all this stuff that they’ve maybe never thought about before?

"I find that a good way to get them thinking is to tell a lively story from folk tradition. The story won’t offer a scientific explanation, but it does have amazing power to make students listen, pay attention, remember, and wonder. Once we have caught their interest and invited them to wonder “How does that work?" we can start talking science.

"A story is a “hook” on which we can hang a lesson. And I recommend traditional folktales (398.2 in your library) because they fall naturally on listeners’ ears and are easy for us to learn. Our ancestors long ago dropped out the uninteresting or difficult parts! My "Tales From The Earthteller" column offers stories that I hope you can use." --  Fran Stallings


Fran's EarthTeller Tales columns use a folktale to introduce an ecological lesson. They first appeared in The Environmentor a free e-newsletter for environmental educators, published by Oklahoma City University. Editor Beth Landon always finds wonderful graphics to illustrate Fran's columns! Here is the plain text. To see Beth's illustrated version, click the Environmentor link, go to the indicated Volume and Number (7.2 = Volume 7, Number 2), and scroll to the indicated pages. Enjoy the rest of each newsletter too. Excellent material!

• 10.1 Bees and other pollinators

• 10.2 Survival by the Numbers How many offspring?

• 10.3 Little Things Help Don't underestimate them

• 10.4 False Signals: of wolves and dormant fruit trees

• 10.5 Nutrient Dilution Soup of the soup

• 10.6 Sunflowers

• 11.1 Honey and Honeysuckle and deer ticks

• 11.2 Love the Weeds

• 11.3 From the Ashes: phoenixes and prairie fires

• 11.4 Drought

• 11.5 Fireflies

• 11.6 How Hot Was It?