To most people, Wisconsin’s Door County doesn’t go beyond the peninsula. Did you know, though, that the Door in Door County comes from the narrow water passage called Death’s Door? Grandpa Mike explains how the open waters of Lake Michigan to the east and Green Bay to the west crash into each other here. Stormy weather makes this stretch of water particularly dangerous. Seven-year-old Mallory searches in vain for a floating door in the water as the ferry makes its way to Washington Island. His twin sister Melody is more interested in islands.
Our main focus of BioFables is on illuminating STEM principles through entertaining stories. However, we need to emphasize that STEM knowledge and, especially, applying STEM in the real world require a balancing Humanities perspective. Science and Humanities represent the two sides of practical human learning, left-brain (analytical) and right-brain (creative).
This is why we are building several tools to help you determine the value of each BioFables book’s STEM, Humanities and Values content in selecting which BioFables books to give to your young readers:
- Table of all STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Knowledge Gateways, Subjects and Topics
- Table of all Humanities Knowledge Gateways, Subjects and Topics
- Table of Values
- Table of STEM and Humanities learning topics by Chapter
The first table presents a summary of all the STEM Knowledge Gateways (or branches, if you prefer), Subjects and Topics occuring in A Stone’s Throw. This will give you an overvew of the entire book’s STEM lessons that are woven into the A Stone’s Throw story.
The second and third tables provide the same information for the Humanities and Values lessons.
The table of STEM and Humanities places the combined learning topics into the specific chapter where it occurs.
We’re in the process of updating each book’s topic reference tables. The table shows the breadth of each book’s content, identified by chapter. Subjects and topics of the middle column appear in bold, followed by abbreviated versions of their Knowledge Gateway(s) in parentheses. The table should be helpful in discussing each book as your children progress through the chapters. Follow the links for further investigation. Child-friendly sites appear in orange.
Want to make things even more interesting? Learn about taking the BioFables Challenge.
Please be aware that subjects and topics are unique to each book, so the following outlines do not reflect a complete list of subjects and topics within any category.
Thanks for your patience as we build these resources for you.
STEM Content: Entire Book 5, A Stone’s Throw
Branches and sub-branches in Book 5:
- Biology: Plants; Animals; People
- Chemistry: Function; Mix of structure and function
- Physics: Mechanics; Optics; Heat and Temperature; Gravity
- Earth, Space Science: Astronomy; Geography; Geology; Environment
- Math: Arithmetic; Estimating; Statistics
- Technology: Physics (Mechanics; Optics)
- Engineering: Architecture (Physics; Math); Data transmission (Physics; Earth, Space Science; Math); Complex Systems: International Space Station (Physics; Earth, Space Science; Math )
Specific subjects and topics appear in the right column, next to their respective branches and sub-branches.
|BRANCHES/SUB-BRANCHES||SUBJECTS AND TOPICS
|BIOLOGY||Life and living things|
|Plants||Food crops: Rutabaga, potatoes|
|Cultivated flowers: lavender|
|Animals||Animal habitats; bird sanctuary|
|People||Extremophile trait? Quick healing|
|CHEMISTRY||Substances, their structure, behavior, interactions|
|Function||pH: Acidic conditions|
|Mix of structure and function||Don’t want your liquid (non-food) to boil over? Use boiling chips!|
|Oil and water don’t mix – or do they?|
|Water density: how much salt did you add?
|PHYSICS||Properties and nature of matter and energy|
|Mechanics||Stones don’t walk on water, but they can skip|
|Speed up air, water movement by narrowing outlets (Bernoulli’s Principle)|
|Optics||How do lighthouse lights shine so far? Fresnel lenses|
|Light reflections on water move as you move|
|Gravity||What makes you fall down, not up|
|EARTH, SPACE SCIENCE||Related to planet Earth and beyond|
|Astronomy||Look up to the night sky: Northern Lights; International Space Station
|Geography||Continents, countries, oceans and other waters, and their features|
|Locations||Door County: Washington Island, Rock Island
|Geology||Earth’s physical structure, substance, history, processes|
|Environment|| Physical, chemical and biological conditions that impact people, animals, plants and microbes
||Natural, human impact
|Habitats||Preservation and restoration|
|Wind||Direction the wind blows makes a difference|
|MATH||Numbers, quantities and analysis|
|Estimating||A way to figure out the middle of an odd shape|
|Statistics||Collect facts or numbers, then use different kinds of arithmetic to analyze them and explain why your idea is right or wrong|
|TECHNOLOGY||Tools (products) and techniques using science
|Physics: Mechanics||Water pumps: valuable tools for reaching underground water for above-ground use|
|Buoys: floating markers that show location of dangerous underwater hazards|
|Physics: Optics||Fresnel lenses save lives by shining farther out in the water than simple magnifying glass can reach|
|ENGINEERING||Application of technology|
| Architecture (Physics, Math
||Stavkirche (Stave Church)|
|Data transmission (Physics; Earth, Space Science; Math)||Some buoys do more than mark hazards: monitor weather, send information they collect to satellites and land-based receivers|
|Complex systems (Physics; Earth, Space Science; Math )||The International Space Station combines lots of technology for lots of different purposes|
NOTE: Tables of Humanities and Values content for A Stone’s Throw are being prepared and will be uploaded as soon as possible.
|Helpful Hints||Door County Islands (Earth)|
Where is the Door in Door County?
|Death’s Door; Green Bay; Lake Michigan; Rock beach (Earth); French exploration; Family history (History); Appearance of light on water; Skipping rocks (Physics); Nutrition (Health); Removing natural objects (Social); Chemist; Wellness Instructor (Work); Estimating the middle of an object, distance (Math); Limiting screen time (Values)|
|Melody and Mallory learn an easy way to calculate the maximum distance you’re from the water when you’re on an irregularly-shaped island.|
Washington Island: First Explorations
|Schoolhouse Beach; Little Lake; Underground springs; Death’s Door (Earth); Making new friends (Social); Air, water movement in narrow places (Physics); Animal habitat (Biology); Native Americans (History); Trust (Values); Nutrition (Health)||Bernoulli’s Principle: flow in narrow opening|
|What do skipping stones across water, doing cannonballs into water (ouch!) and blowing up balloons have to do with each other? Demonstrating some laws of physics!|
An Even Smaller Island
|Rock Island (Earth); Potawatomie Lighthouse; Purpose of lighthouses (History); Water Pump (Technology); Word derivation (Language); Fresnel lens; Gravity (Physics); Poetry; Samuel Taylor Coleridge||History of lighthouses
Fresnel lenses & lighthouses, links
How Frasnel lenses work
|Learn how lighthouse beacons can shine so far, and that the gravity that keeps you from floating away also pulls you down when you try to climb up hills or stairs.|
An Unplanned Delay
|Cooling to reduce swelling (Health); Polite terms of address; Helpfulness (Social); Sharing; Helping with chores (Values); International Space Station (Engineering); Night sky (Earth); Compass reading (Life Skills); Music; Writing poetry (Arts)||Rock Island map
Locating International Space Station in the sky
|Grandpa badly twists his ankle. Will this be the end of the Maloney family’s fast-paced hikes and explorations?|
Another Day at Rock Island
|Quick healing; Extremophile trait (Biology); Compass reading (Life Skills); Music; Writing poetry; Architecture design (Arts); Gratitude; Sharing; Behavior (Values); Rutabaga crop; Iceland immigrants (History)|
|Grandpa’s ankle mysteriously heals overnight. But it wasn’t due simply to good luck.|
Back on Washington Island
|Play on words (Language); Nurse Nightingale (History); Counting; Use of statistics (Math); Stavkirke – Stave Church (Engineering); Northern Lights; Washington Island sights; Wetlands (Earth); Recreation (Health)||Florence Nightingale
|So many sights to see, things to do when you’re on a trip. The twins’ Mom draws a map of the island , marks the farther away and closer in places to visit and suggests a plan.|
Fish Boil, Boiling Chips, …and Extremophiles?
|Animal habitats; Bird sanctuary; Environmental protection (Earth); Growing lavender, potatoes (Biology, History); Water density as function of salt content; Oil and water mixture; Use of boiling chips; pH (Chemistry); Story telling (Language)||Density of water|
|As the fish boil pot over boiled, the twins’ Dad tells of his experience of a “boil over” in his lab. He learned the hard way what happens when you put cold boiling chips into a hot liquid.|
Crossing Death’s Door a Second Time
|Learning new things about people you know (Social); Buoys (Technology); Weather research (Earth); Pronunciation of the word “buoy” (Language); Data transmission to satellites (Engineering)||World-wide location of weather monitoring buoys|
|The ferry back to the mainland passes a buoy that monitors and reports warnings of weather conditions that gave Death’s Door its name.|
On the Way Back
Sheboygan breakwater lighthouse (Earth); Setting-sun sky reflecting on water (Physics)
|Some stopovers on the leisurely drive back home: a restaurant with goats munching grass on its rooftop, watery caves along the shore and a lighthouse at the end of a long pier.|
Next Adventure: Discussing the “Loch”
|Retirement (Work); Nutrition (Health)|
|A different kind of “fish story” awaits the Maloney family on its next adventure at a local farm with its reputation for a mini Loch Ness on its property.|