Book 4: Palisades Escapades

Large Mississippi Palisades RockSeven-year-old Mallory learns that taking a nine-pound rock from a public park is a lot different from collecting a few pebbles or stones. His twin sister, Melody, doesn’t think it’s such a big deal, but apparently everyone else does. Mallory and his Dad travel back to the Indiana Dunes both to follow up with the local police sergeant on the lost item that Mallory found and also to fulfill Mallory’s hour of public service to settle his debt for removing the rock from the park. 

Checking out a bat cave isn’t such a good idea if your dog is along. Humans may not hear the bats squealing, but dogs sure do. Rufus takes off in the opposite direction. Mallory is off to the rescue, except that Mallory himself needs rescuing as he tumbles into a sinkhole.

The Palisades trail gets steeper and steeper. Suddenly, there it is. The great Mississippi River. “How wide is the river?” Melody wants to know, reluctant to leave the magnificent view. She and her brother get a lesson on estimating distances, based on comparing it with things you already know, such as car lengths and soccer fields.

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

The second table provides the same information for the Humanities 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 4, Palisades Escapades

Branches and sub-branches in Book 4
  • Biology: Insects; Animals; People
  • Earth, Space Science: Geology; Geography; Weather
  • Math: Symbols; Arithmetic; Comparisons

Specific subjects and topics appear in the right column, next to their respective branches and sub-branches.

BIOLOGY Life and living things
    Insects Habits of fireflies, cicadas and crickets
     Animals Prehistory: Petrified sea creatures, dinosaurs
Birds: Goldfinches
Dogs: range of hearing
     People Eye-ear coordination
Getting the wind knocked out of you
Relieving muscle aches
More evidence of human extremophile ability
EARTH, SPACE SCIENCE Related to planet Earth and beyond
     Geology Earth’s physical structure, substance, history, processes
          Rocks Just an ordinary-looking rock? Check for fossils
How did cliffs form? Some ways: carved by glacier movement; rise and fall of inland seas; movement in Earth’s crust
     Geography Continents, countries, oceans and other waters, and their features
          Mississippi Palisades State Park Watch out for those sinkholes!
A surprising view at the top of Sentinel Trail
          Mississippi River Natural border between Illinois and Iowa; interesting river facts
          Great Lakes Lake Michigan; Inland sea
     Weather Wind
MATH Numbers, quantities and analysis
     Symbols Size, length and amount, either actual or estimated
     Arithmetic Ways of adding, dividing
     Comparisons Rules of thumb help to relate big and little things

NOTE: Tables of Humanities and Values content for Mississippi Palisades are being prepared and will  be uploaded as soon as possible.



Helpful Hints Mississippi Palisades State Park (Earth)
Chapter 1
Unfinished Business
Removing natural objects; Returning lost items; Community service (Social); Wind, dunes movement (Earth)
Seven-year-old Mallory is relieved to know he won’t be going to jail for “lifting” a big rock from the State Park. But he and his Dad get to ride in a police car (a first, for both of them).
Chapter 2
Community Service
Community service (Social); Embedded fossils in rock; Glaciers; Lake Michigan; Great Lakes; Inland Sea (Earth); Petrified sea creatures (Biology); Drawing (Arts); Addition methods (Math) Glaciers
Mallory was so eager to learn about fossils and other neat stuff from Ms. Anna, he didn’t realize he was actually doing community service. And his Dad learned more about the money sack.
Chapter 3
A Rock-Solid Contract
Agatha Christie; Sherlock Holmes (Language); Community service; Legal contract (Social); Human relationships; Giving back (Values); Dinosaurs (Biology); Software engineering (Work) Agatha Christie
The big rock is now on “permanent loan” to Mallory and the Maloney family plots out several of the next mini-trips that Grandpa has given to celebrate the twins’ seventh birthday.
Chapter 4
Arriving at the Mississippi Palisades
Mississippi Palisades State Park (Earth); Exercise; Eating habits; Games (Health); FirefliesCicadas and crickets; Eye-ear coordination (Biology); Research (Work)
The escapades begin when the Maloneys reach the Palisades. Rufus joins in the firefly game, resulting in a tangle of arms and legs, fur…and liberated fireflies.
Chapter 5
A Morning’s Hike
Hiking; Breakfast; Snacks; Drinking water; Getting wind knocked out of you (Health); Map reading; Hike planning (Life Skills);  Dog hearing (Biology); Sentinel Trail; Sinkholes (Earth); Disobedience (Values) Hearing ranges
The sounds in the Bat Cave (that people can’t hear) startles Rufus. What danger awaits Mallory as he leaves the trail to chase after his pet? 
Chapter 6
A Spectacular View
Mississippi River (Earth); Native Americans (History); Division; Relating different sizes (Math); Cicadas emerging from shells (Biology) Mississippi River Facts
It’s cicada season! Time to watch how cicadas change into their “grown-up clothes” and have fun stepping on all those crunchy shells they left behind.
Chapter 7
The Best Laid Plans
Resilience, adaptability (Life Skills); Photography; Singing (Arts); Symbols (Math); Mississippi River facts; Natural border (Earth); Word derivations (Language); Native Americans; Explorers Joliet and Marquette (History)
You can’t change the weather, so why not explore something different that might be even better than your original plans? A side trip turns into a fascinating geography lesson.
Chapter 8
More Escapades
Mark Twain (Arts); Swimming ability (Life Skills); Birds, Goldfinch (Biology); Need for recognition (Values); Word derivation (Language); Cliff formation (Earth)
Melody disappears and Mallory jumps into the Mississippi River in case his sister fell off the pier. He didn’t know about the dangerous currents, but “all’s well that ends well.”
Chapter 9
On the Way Home
Public behavior (Social); Relieving muscle aches (Biology, Health); Extremophile ability (Biology)
Mom compares relieving sore muscles to preparing dough for baking: knead, stretch, rest, warm. About Melody’s cuts and scratches she got from crawling under branches…what cuts and scratches?
Unfinished Business Now Finished; Next Adventure Compassion (Values)
The banker reports on the history of the money sack that Mallory discovered at the dunes a month ago: a result of the Great Depression.