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 Book 4: Palisades Escapades

STEM 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

Palisades Escapades Humanities Content

Humanities Branches and sub-branches in Palisades Escapades:
  • Society: Government
  • Language: Word Derivations; Classic Literature
  • History: Locations; People; Time/Era
  • Health: Exercise; Recreation, Games; Food
  • Arts: Writing; Play on Words; Drawing; Photograpy; Singing
  • Life Skills: Quick Response; Planning Ahead; Rules of Thumb; Resilience
  • Work, Careers: Geologist; Police Sergeant; Software Engineer; Air Force Pilot; Welcome Center Staff; Tai Chi Instructor
Palisades Escapades TABLE 2: Humanities Content
Community, Culture, People
7-year-old Mallory signs his first-ever legal contract
LANGUAGE Means of communication
     Word Derivations Mississippi (Big) River, Gitchigumi (Lake Superior) both get their names from the Anishanabe Native Americans
The Malloneys learn that the name of their black dog Rufus (who barks woof) comes from Latin (red-hair)
Palisade (Latin, French) refers to a line of cliffs, and also to poles of a stockade
     Classic Literature Exercising one’s “Little gray cells” (Agatha Christie)
Fiction detectives: Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle), Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie)
Mark Twain wrote about his experiences in Life on the Mississippi
HISTORY Information about the past
     Locations Indiana Dunes area: rocks with crinoid sea animal fossils, glaciers, inland sea
Spectacular view of the Mississippi River from Sentinel Rock is the same as that seen by Native Americans hundreds (thousands?) of years ago
The Mississippi River: a natural border for 10 states; major uses begin with the letters T-R-A
     People Louis Joliet, Jacques Marquette: explored the Mississippi River with a Native American guide in 1673
Mark Twain was a steamboat pilot on the river in 1883
     Times/Eras Robbery from the Great Depression involves local Indiana police and Chicago bank; mystery cleared up
HEALTH Level of well-being
     Exercise Everyone carries their own water and snacks on a hike
Nap time with no complaints after hike and lunch
Grandpa learns what overworked muscles “knead”
Why do Mallory’s warm hands heal Melody’s cuts?
     Recreation, Games Lightning bug game: people catch, Rufus releases
     Food Enjoying sweet treats without over-doing
Mom prepares breakfast that’ll last through a hike and lunch
ARTS Creative skills and their expression
     Writing Writing new words to familiar tunes
     Play on Words “You can teach an old dog new tricks” confuses Mallory
Grandpa loves speaking in “pretend “Irish Brogue
Mom teases Dad: “it’s better to be the lead dog
Mom asks Grandpa if he knows a good obedience school…for Mallory!
Watching cicadas change into their grown-up clothes
     Drawing Ms. Anna’s Great Lakes drawing looks a little like a palm tree
Mallory shows Ms. Anna how to draw with 3 or 4 pencils at the same time
     Photography Taking interesting photos in less-than-ideal weather
     Singing Customizing words to familiar songs
LIFE SKILLS Practical abilities for attending to everyday needs
     Quick Response A cicada is no match for Melody’s good eye-ear and eye-hand coordination
     Planning Ahead Mom reviews hiking trails with just enough challenge for everyone
     Rules of Thumb Easy ways to visualize distances
     Resilience Finding a way when things don’t go your way
WORK, CAREERS Productive activity to earn an income or give back to society
     Geologist (retired) Ms. Anna tells Mallory about Dunes history, geology
     Police Sergeant Arranges Mallory’s community service with Ms. Anna
     Software Engineer (retired) The family admires Grandpa’s organizational skills
     Air Force pilot (retired) Grandpa’s training helps in estimating distance
     Welcome Center Staff Lisa and Valerie share their knowledge of the Mississippi River with their guests
     Tai Chi Instructor Mom’s Y class schedule allows her to take August off

Palisades Escapades Values/Behaviors Content

Values Branches and sub-branches in Palisades Escapades:
  • Ethics/Morals: Doing the Right Thing
  • Emotions: Awareness of Consequences; Sense of Humor; Disappointment; Concern for Others; Impetuousness; Impetuousness; Serenity/Acceptance; Need for Recognition
  • Mental Attitudes: Reasoning; Organization; Intuition; Sense of Wonder; Visualization
  • Body Awareness: Aging Well; Physical Health
  • Learning/Knowledge/Skills: Acquiring Knowledge; Analytical Reasoning; Sharing Knowledge
  • People: Parental Responsibility; Disobedience; Hospitality; Concern for Others; Respect; Gratitude; Generosity; Community Involvement
  • Biosphere: Respect for Earth, All Things Living on It; Appreciation for Nature’s Beauty
Palisades Escapades TABLE 3: Values/Behaviors Content
Internal character, beliefs
     Doing the Right Thing Dad and Mallory return to the police station to learn about a crime that happened a long time ago and the consequences of Mallory’s more recent escapade
The family agrees that any reward provided for Mallory’s discovery should go to both children’s education fund
Emotions Feelings, sentiment, intuition
     Awareness of Consequences Mallory wonders how much trouble he’s in
Mallory is confused by the police sergeant’s requests
     Sense of Humor Ms. Anna smiles at Mallory’s confusion about not being able to teach an old dog new tricks
Dad teases the twins about stomping too hard on the cicada shells “I didn’t bring my toolkit to repair the steps”
     Disappointment Mallory feels that Mom’s temporary restriction on his freedom to wander is restricting his learning to be an explorer
     Concern for Others Remembering that he didn’t even try to rescue his sister from Old Faithful’s steam, Mallory vows that he wouldn’t let that happen again
     Impetuousness Mallory doesn’t see the sinkhole separating him from Rufus
Mallory dives into the flowing Mississippi River with all his clothes and shoes to see if he can find his sister
     Serenity/Acceptance Mom’s annoyance at Mallory’s dirty shirt turns to “boys will be boys”
Mallory wasn’t happy to have to walk directly in front of Mom the rest of the morning, but recalls that he could have been really hurt
A mist can dampen some spirits on a trip, but Mom and Grandpa know how to make the best of it
     Need for Recognition Melody is annoyed that people are talking about her instead of to her
Mental Attitudes
Rational, theoretical, analytical thinking
     Reasoning Mallory tells Ms. Anna how he quickly added two sets of numbers
Mallory figures he’d better obey the police sergeant without asking a lot of questions
     Organization Dad admires Grandpa’s organization skills
     Intuition Mallory guesses why Ms. Anna has put a folded newspaper on her coffee table
     Visualization Mallory is happy that Ms. Anna offers to draw some answers to his questions
Melody tells Mom her dream about a hawk flying with her
Body Awareness
Health, bodily strengh and movement
     Aging Well Dad reports that Grandpa is following his doctor’s advice to get more exercise and eat healtheir foods
Grandpa keeps up with the rest of the family, thanks to exercising and eating better
     Physical Health Mom plans sweet treats for the campfire without overdoing it
Pursuit and acquisition of understanding, wisdom, capabilities
     Acquiring Knowledge The Sentinel Trail allows everyone to observe interesting plants and insects
     Analytical Thinking The twins lern from Grandpa and their parens how to figure out approsimate distances without a ruler
     Sharing Knowledge Ms. Anna tells of some of the fossilized creatures embedded in Mallory’s rock
Dad doesn’t want to “teach” what he doesn’t know about the difference between cricket and cicadas
Mom explains that dogs can hear sounds that humans can’t, which is why dogs are used for hunting
People Regard for, and relationships with, humankind
     Parental Responsibility Dad reassures Mallory when he finds his son gasping for breath at the bottom of a sinkhole
Dad scolds Melody for running off after everyone saw her last at a pier at the Mississippi River
     Disobedience Mallory races to follow Rufus, who disturbed cave bats (and was disturbed by the bats’ sounds
Mom explains to the twins how their actions affect other people, not just their family
     Hospitality Ms. Anna offers her guests coffe and juice
Lisa, a Visitor Center guide offers Mom a first-aid kit for Melody’s cuts and a large staff bathroom so Melody can wash up and change her clothes
     Concern for Others Mom’s hiking plans includes consideration for Grandpa’s capabilities
Mom is glad that her family is enjoying a fun game with Rufus and fireflies; Rufus’s doggie dinner helps reduce the noise and potential for disturbing other guests
Mallory’s shirt reveals his tumble into the sinkhole to Grandpa
     Respect Grandpa appreciates Mom’s praise, explains that he’s been secretly working out, thanks to her inspiration
Mallory is happy to learn that Native Americans or indigenous people are proper terms to refer to people inhabiting America before its discovery by Columbus
Melody is bored and lets the door SLAM on her way out of the visitor center
The bank and police involved in Mallory’s discovery agree not to disclose certain information out of respect for a terminally-ill descendant
     Gratitude Mom and Dad thank Grandpa for arranging (and paying for) mini-trips each month; Grandpa says he’s grateful for the time to get to know his grandkids better
     Generosity Grandpa’s offer of steak and burgers is more appealing to Mom than roasting hot dogs
     Community Involvement Thanksgiving weekend plans include helping transform an abandoned department store
Biosphere Earth’s natural environment: living organisms, water, surface, subsurface, atmosphere
     Respect for Earth, All Things Living on It Melody felt that the hawk in her dream wanted to be friends with her
     Appreciation for Nature’s Beauty Everyone gasped at the view of the Mississippi River and beyond from the top of the Sentinel Trail
Enthralled by a Goldfinch, Melody crawls through scratchy bushes to get a better look



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.