Book 6: Catch of the Day

An end-of-summer weekend at a friend’s “swimming hole” in the middle of farmland doesn’t sound particularly exciting. Except for a mysterious splashing in the night, that is. Swimming doesn’t bring to mind exciting lessons in physics, either. Except when you factor into the equation a water trampoline and a dog. 

What secret does an eleven-pound largemouth bass reveal as it’s cleaned for grilling? For that matter, what fun surprises await in the family garden when they return home?


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 and Humanities 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
    • Tables of all Humanities and Values Knowledge Gateways, Subjects and Topics
    • Table of STEM, Humanities and Values 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 Catch of the Day. This will give you an overvew of the entire book’s STEM lessons that are woven into the Catch of the Day story.

The second and third tables provide the same information for the Humanities lessons.

The table of STEM, Humanities and Values 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 Book 6: Catch of the Day

STEM Branches and sub-branches in Book 6:
  • Biology: Plants; Insects; Animals
  • Chemistry: Function
  • Physics: Mechanics
  • Earth, Space Science: Geology; Environment
  • Math: Arithmetic;
  • Technology: Physics: Mechanics
BIOLOGY Life and living things
          Life cycle Pollination -> seed -> plant -> flower -> fruit -> seed
Harvest season: generally September to December in Illinois
          Leaves Compare different seedling leaves to learn which plant they will become
          Edible crops Soy, tomatoes…flowers? Yes! Edible flowers with valuable nutrients
     Insects Dragonflies have figured it out: ride wind currents to go where they couldn’t go on their own power
Bees are part of plant life cycle: they pollinate as they buzz around flowers
     Animals Is it a cat or a fish? Catfish head shape and their whiskers suggest their name
Differences between largemouth and smallmouth bass (besides the obvious)
CHEMISTRY Substances, their structure, behavior, interactions
     Function Plant ingredients with specific health value
PHYSICS Properties and nature of matter and energy
Motion and Force
  Child’s play: remembering all three Newton’s Laws of Motion
  How far will a ball fly? Force and weight come into play
  Water trampoline inflates by “breathing” in the air around it.
  Use a teeter totter for a fun way to weigh (estimated)
  Check your estimate of an object’s weight with an accurate scale
EARTH, SPACE SCIENCE Related to planet Earth and beyond
     Geology A farm’s natural pond made by an underground spring
     Environment  Physical, chemical and biological conditions that  impact people, animals, plants and microbes
          Conservation Using non-disposable utensils to avoid unnecessary waste
MATH Numbers, quantities and analysis
    Arithmetic Why learn when apps are everywhere? Except when your battery reads “0”
Your choice: complicated or easy ways to get to the same number
Changing ounces to pounds, other helpful conversions
TECHNOLOGY Tools (products) and techniques using science
     Physics: Mechanics Even Lady Justice uses a (double) platform scale
Pumping water from underground is a lot more fun than turning a faucet handle
Self-inflating devices “inhale” surrounding air instead of from your own lungs

Catch of the Day Humanities Content

Humanities Branches and sub-branches in Catch of the Day:
  • Society: Social Relationships; Government
  • Language: Word Derivations; Classic Literature; Traditional Sayings
  • History: Locations
  • Health: Aging
  • Arts: Writing; Play on Words; Drawing; Artistry Everywhere; Dance
  • Life Skills: Outdoors; Estimating Weight; Food; Resilience, Adaptability
  • Work, Careers: Farm Property Caretaker
Catch of the Day TABLE 2: Humanities Content
Community, Culture and People
Social Relationships Keeping in touch with new friends
Grandpa thanks his friend for the use of his land, tells of small discovery during their stay
Government Mallory’s discovery of the buried sack at the Dunes is now his
LANGUAGE Means of communication
Word derivations Plants with lutein (Latin) are usually yellow
Classic Literature “Little” Dr. Dolittle (Mallory) communicates with fish
Traditional Sayings “Watch the grass grow” Not the twins’ idea of fun
HISTORY Information about the past
Locations Grandpa is a mit mysterious about the family’s October visit to Duluth, Minnesota
HEALTH Level of well-being
Aging Grandpa decides to get his cataracts removed and his vision back to normal
ARTS Creative skills and their expression
Writing The twins write a “Motion Poem” about some laws of physics
Play on Words Mom calls Melody’s dive a “fluid movement”
The sports equipment in the shed will shed light on physics
It’s bad taste to refuse a gift of food
Drawing Mallory quickly draws the fish he caught before it becomes dinner
Artistry Everywhere Mom arranges a beautiful salad, complete with edible flowers
Dance Square dancing and much more await the family in October
LIFE SKILLS Practical abilities for attending to everyday needs
Outdoors Knowing the best times to fish, reeling in a fish, removing a fish hook from your catch, preparing your catch and cooking it
Is your bass a largemouth or small mouth? Look to its fins
Wearing life vests
Avoiding “wet dog” struggle to lift out of water
If you can’t see a lake’s bottom, it’s probably deep enough for diving (but make sure of that)
Dad’s dive impresses his children
Plants reveal their identity to the twins through their leaves
Estimating Two sacks of different weight, a board and something to balance it on, and you’ve got yourself a primitive scale
Don’t forget to subtract the weight of your basket (tare)
Food Too many green tomatoes? Make soup!
Know where to look to find the “string” in some string beans
The tough sheath of many string beans resist cooking
Nasturtium flowers in a vase and on your plate
Resilience, Adaptability Knowing more than one way to solve an arithmetic problem
WORK, CAREERS Productive activity to earn an income or give back to society
Farm Property Caretaker Mr. Anderson made sure the buildings and grounds were ready for the family’s visit, visits them during their stay

NOTE: The table of Values content for Catch of the Day is being prepared and will  be uploaded as soon as we can.

Catch of the Day TABLE 4: Combined STEM, Humanities and Values

Helpful Hints

Why learn when apps are everywhere? (Math)
Chapter 1
Door County Memories
Eyesight, cataracts (Health)
Friendly greetings from new friends made at Door County’s Washington Island; learning why Grandpa wants to have an operation to correct his failing eyesight.
Chapter 2
Exploring “Loch Land”
Spring-fed pond; Harvest season; Using non-disposable utensils (Earth); Uses for soy (Biology, Engineering, Health); Best time to catch fish (Life Skills); Water pumps (Technology); Self-inflating devices (Physics) Loch Ness
An air-filled platform you can sit in (and use as a water trampoline), and an air-filled vest you wear. Both float in the water. 
Chapter 3
A Water Raft = Newton’s Laws of Motion?
Newton’s Laws of Motion (Physics); Imagery to overcome fear (Life Skills); Play on words (Language) Laws of Motion
A surprised Mallory and Melody catch some air and make a big splash when 70-pound Rufus does a doggie dive from the towing boat to the water trampoline.
Chapter 4
A Fish Story
Moonlight reflecting on water (Physics); Animal behavior; Catfish (Biology); Fishing (Life Skills)

Splashing in the night. Could it be the pond’s version of the Loch Ness Monster? Or is it just an ordinary fish having some fun in the moonlight?

Chapter 5
A Fishier Story
Dr. Doolittle; Drawing (Arts); Animal behavior (Biology)
Can a fish actually want to be caught? Mallory thinks so. Especially when a big catfish seems to lead you to the middle of the pond, where another fish waits for his baited pole.

Chapter 6
A Fun Way to Weigh

Using teeter-totter to estimate weight; Newton’s Laws of Motion; Force, distance & weightInsects riding wind currents (Physics); Dragonflies; (Biology); Play on words (Language Record insect migration distance

Flying fish takes on a whole new meaning when a heavy sack gets dropped on the opposite end of a plank.

Chapter 7
An Old-Fashioned Way to Weigh

Types of bass fish; Tomatoes (Biology); Platform scale (Technology); Using weights and measures (Life Skills); Multiplying; Counting; Division; Converting measures (Math, Life Skills); Gratitude; Politeness; Respect (Values); Play on words (Language) Small & large mouth bass

Both the easy way and the harder way to convert ounces to pounds come up with the same answer. It helps to know more than one way to solve a math problem.

Chapter 8
A Fishy Surprise

Determining true weight (Physics); How to eat fish with lots of bones (Life Skills)

Mom prepares Mallory’s catch for grilling and finds an interesting object in the fish’s belly. No wonder it wanted to be caught!

Chapter 9
How Gardens Do Grow

Gardening; Soil preparation; Observation (Life Skills); Plant seeds; pollination; plant leaves; plant life cycle; (Biology); Playing tricks on family members (Social, Values)

Garden beans that grew too much and got too tough to eat? Don’t waste them! Save their seeds and plant them for a brand new (and free) crop next year.

Chapter 10
Some Answers; Next Adventure

Animal behavior; Edible flowers (Biology); Respect (Values); Nutrition (Health); Money value; Willingness to try something new (Life Skills); Plant ingredients with health value (Chemistry); Word meaning (Language); Writing poetry (Arts); Newton’s Laws (Physics)

The Maloneys learn who hid the money sack that Mallory found buried in the sand and the Indiana Dunes. Whose property is it now?