Book 1: Whoosh

NewFrontCover“Race ya.”
 The sun was barely peeking over the horizon at Yellowstone National Park when Melody shouted this unexpected challenge to her twin brother Mallory.
 “No fair. You got a head start!”
 A head start was exactly what Melody had in mind. She wanted to make sure Mallory didn’t reach Old Faithful before she did. (He didn’t)

If 7-year-old Melody Maloney had been standing anywhere else or Geyser Eruptionat any other time, this would have been an ordinary adventure story. But nature has a way of behaving that doesn’t always follow the rules.

What happens when the Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone decides to misbehave? Melody and her twin brother Mallory find out, but no one believes them.

 

Why is the world’s first National Park the site for this first book in the BioFables series? Well, besides its famous geysers, Yellowstone shows off the exotic colors of its hot springs. What’s so special about that? Those bright blues, yellows, pinks and other colors are thanks to extremophiles, the heat-loving variety of extremophile microbes that live in the steaming waters. So what? Glad you asked. Scientists agree that only microbes are classified as extremophiles. But Melody and her 7-year-old brother Mallory discover that one of them might also be an extremophile. Whoosh is, after all, a work of fiction, and human extremophile instances are the BioFables series’ only departure from legitimate science.

If you’re ready to order, click on the Buy Whoosh icon to go directly to Amazon’s Whoosh page.

Our main focus of all BioFables children’s books is on illuminating STEM principles through fun stories. As you probably know from experience, though, applying STEM  in the real world requires a balancing perspective of Humanities studies and one’s internal Values. The ten chapters in Whoosh offer a myriad of “stealth” mini-lessons woven throughout Whoosh.

Why do we call these stealth mini-lessons? Not all the lessons are in stealth mode, of course. Especially in the STEM category. Learning about pH, say, can’t just seep into your brain as you’re drinking tomato juice. But a lot of the instances of Humanities and Values learning happen in the course of common experiences in Whoosh where they could easily be missed.

Whoosh Resources

Homeschoolers and devoted parents everywhere are now able to discover the wealth of practical knowledge within the pages of Whoosh. This practical knowledge will enable you to help young Whoosh readers grasp more fully the mini-lessons that you believe are important to reinforce. We’ve selected seventy (of more than 100) mini-lessons woven throughout Whoosh. They are incorporated  into four lists and their related tables:

  1. STEM
  2. Humanities
  3. Values
  4. Combination (identified by chapter)

The fourth table, especially, will help you identify quickly in which chapter a particular mini-lesson occurs.

NOTE: Please be aware that branches and sub-branches are unique to each book and do not necessarily reflect terminology that may be commonly used elsewhere. In addition, the following lists and tables do not represent a complete list of STEM, Humanities and Values categories.

Whoosh STEM Content

This at-a-glance bulleted list offers a quick look at the STEM branches in bold, followed by their sub-branches appearing in Whoosh.

  • Biology: Microbes/Bacteria; Plants
  • Chemistry: Molecules; Elements; Forms; Functions
  • Physics: Heat, Temperature, Pressure
  • Earth, Space Science: Geology; Geography
  • Math: Measurements; Comparisons
  • Technology: Physics (Optics)

The left column of Whoosh Table 1 highlights the major STEM branches in light green, with their associated sub-branches indented below the major branch. The right column provides defintions of the major STEM branches. Brief notes will give you an idea of the specific subjects and topics for each of the STEM sub-branches.

Whoosh TABLE 1: STEM Content
BRANCHES; SUB-BRANCHES DEFINITIONS; SUBJECTS AND TOPICS
BIOLOGY Life and living things
     Microbes/Bacteria Living thermometers: Extremophile colors show hot spring temperature
     Plants Converting daylight to energy through photosynthesis
CHEMISTRY Substances, their structure, behavior, interactions
    Molecules What is that awful smell? Hydrogen sulfide (H2S)
     Elements; Forms Same water elements (H2O), different states: liquid, gas (steam) [solid (ice)]
     Functions pH: Chemical condition of a solution, from 0 to 14 (H2O = 7, neutral)
PHYSICS Properties and nature of matter and energy
     Heat, Temperature, Pressure What do guysers and pressure cookers have in common? Superheated steam!
EARTH, SPACE SCIENCE Related to planet Earth and beyond
     Geology Earth’s physical structure, substance, history, processes
          Geysers What are geyser ingredients? H2O, molten rock (magma), cracks in solid rock
          Hot springs Don’t put your brushes into these paint pots, plan a fun fight in these mud pots, or enjoy a steam bath in a fumerole!
          Volcanoes, calderas Volcano: A mountain or hill with a vent that allows hot lava, rock and gases to erupt from the earth’s crust; after the eruption, a collapse causes a depression or caldera
     Geography Continents, countries, oceans and other waters, and their features
          Wyoming, Chicago Yellowstone is about 1,400 miles west/northwest of Chicago by road and about 1190 by air
MATH Numbers, quantities and analysis
     Measurements Size, length and amount, either actual or estimated
     Comparisons Rules of thumb help to relate big and little things
TECHNOLOGY Tools (products) and techniques using science
     Microscopes (Physics: Optics) You can see things with a microscope that are otherwise invisible

Whoosh Humanities Content

The at-a-glance bulleted list below offers a quick look at the Humanities branches in bold, followed by their sub-branches appearing in Whoosh.

Branches and sub-branches in Whoosh:

  • Language: Sounds and Spelling; Word Derivations; Classic Literature
  • History: Locations
  • Health: FEAST
  • Arts: Writing; Play on Words; Singing; Rhythmic Movements; Ideas
  • Work, Careers: Musician; Biologist; Explorer; Tai Chi Instructor; Wellness Guide; Chemist; Microbiologist

The left column of Whoosh Table 2 highlights the major Humanities branches in light green, with their associated sub-branches indented below the major branch. The right column provides defintions of the major Humanities branches. Brief notes will give you an idea of the specific subjects and topics for each of the Humanities sub-branches.

Whoosh TABLE 2: Humanities Content
BRANCHES/SUB-BRANCHES DEFINITIONS; SUBJECTS AND TOPICS
Language Means of communication
     Sounds and Spelling Guy Sir or geyser? Are there Gal Ma’ams? (Guys and, um Gals?)
     Word Derivations Celestine Pool looks celestial blue
Cyanobacter microbes are named from Greek color greenish-blue
Geothermal: Geo (earth) thermal (heat); Greek “earth heat”
Caldera (circular indentation in the ground): from Spanish cauldron or large circular pot
Extremeophile microbes love temperature extremes
     Classic Literature “Fire burn and cauldron bubble” (Macbeth: Shakespeare)
King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, Knights of the Round Table
HISTORY Information about the past
   Locations Yellowstone: World’s first National Park, established in 1872
HEALTH Level of well-being
     FEAST Mom’s philosophy: Food Exercise Attitude Sleep Timing
ARTS Creative skills and their expression, as demonstrated in BioFables
     Writing Writing new words to familiar tunes
     Play on Words Dr. Ethyl A. Shun names a small geyser Sir Splashalot
     Singing What do “Twinkle, twinkle little star” and “Baa, Baa Black Sheep” have in common?
     Rhythmic Movements Onlookers applaud Mom’s Tai Chi duet with Old Faithful
      Ideas A color-coded thermometer to identify extremophile bacteria presence
WORK, CAREERS Productive activity to earn an income or give back to society
    Musician 7-year-old Melody’s interest is suggested by her name
     Biologist Melody’s science interest is sparked by colorful microbes
     Explorer Melody’s twin brother Mallory just happens to be interested in his famous namesake’s career
     Tai Chi Instructor Mom’s Tai Chi movements are more than simply exercise
     Wellness Guide Mom incorporates FEAST into her wellness advice
     Chemist Dad’s knowledge of chemical principals comes in handy
     Mixrobiologist Dr. Shun studies extremophiles at Yellowstone

Whoosh Values/Behaviors Content

The at-a-glance bulleted list below offers a quick look at the Values branches in bold, followed by their sub-branches appearing in Whoosh.

Values Branches and sub-branches in Whoosh:
  • Ethical/Moral: Honesty/Truth
  • Emotional: Concern for Others; Sense of Humor; Disappointment
  • Mental: Sense of Wonder; Word Games; Visualization; Intuition; Inferring Meaninng of Words
  • Physical: Balance/Stability; Natural Movement
  • Learning/Knowledge/Skills:Exploration; Sharing Knowledge; Aquiring Knowledge
  • People: Parental Responsibility; Sibling Teasing; Concern for Others; Generosity; Respect, Gratitude, Hospitality; Keeping in Touch
  • Biosphere: Research

The left column of Whoosh Table 3 highlights the major Values branches in light green, with their associated sub-branches indented below the major branch. The right column provides defintions of the major Values branches. Brief notes will give you an idea of the specific subjects and topics for each of the Values sub-branches.

Whoosh TABLE 3: Values/Behaviors Content
BRANCHES/SUB-BRANCHES DEFINITIONS; SUBJECTS AND TOPICS
Ethical/Moral
Internal character, beliefs
     Honesty/Truth A long sleeved shirt hides the twins’ disobedience
What were you up to? “Nothing, just looking around”
Melody reluctantly promises Dad she won’t try to feel how hot the waters are beneath the boardwalk
The twins feel guilty when Dr. Shun refers to the dangers of superheated water from geysers
Emotional Feelings, sentiment, intuition
     Concern for Others Mallory is relieved that his sister isn’t scalded
     Sense of Humor Dad refers to his singing voice as “good for cooling soup”
Mom and Dad tease each other about redecorating their house with vivid colors that extremophiles demonstrate
“Yum” – Mallory is reminded of colorful fruits and veggies
     Disappointment Melody learns her idea of an extremophile thermometer is impractical
Mental Rational, theoretical, analytical thinking
     Sense of Wonder Melody is awed that ordinary people can catually visit a spectacular place such as Yellowstone
     Word Games The Maloneys and Dr. Shun play “20 Questions”
      Visualization Mallory draws a geyser as a giant submersed teapot
Mallory sees the Octopus shape in Octopus Spring
     Intuition Grandpa suspects Melody actually could be an extremophile
     Inferring Meaning of Words Celestine Pool reminds Mom of celestial which refers to the skies, which are blue (just like Celestine Pool)
Physical Health, bodily strengh and movement
     Balance/Stability Mallory worries he’ll lose his balance on the boardwalk or on the stepping stones at Dr. Shun’s cabin
     Natural Movement Mom’s Tai Chi form mimics Old Faithful’s eruption sequence
Learning/Knowledge/Skills
Pursuit and acquisition of understanding, wisdom, capabilities
     Exploration After exploring online, the family wants to make the best of their time while they’re at Yellowstone
     Sharing Knowledge Dr. Shun helps the Maloney family better understand the unusual sights, sounds and smells they first encountered
The twins are anxious to tell Grandpa all they learned
     Acquiring Knowledge The Maloneys eagerly absorb Dr. Shun’s lessons
Melody thinks “complicated” makes things interesting
People Regard for, and relationships with, humankind
     Parental Responsibility Dad warns the twins about getting to close to a geyser
Mom makes sure everyone eats a hearty breakfast
Dad warns Melody not to test the hot springs’ temperatures
     Sibling Teasing Melody makes light of her brother’s concern for her
     Concern for Others Melody worries about her brother’s scald marks on his arms
     Generosity Thanks to Grandpa’s gift, the Maloneys are exploring Yellowstone National Park
     Respect The twins address the scientist as “Dr. Shun” (even though the adults use each others’ first names)
The twins don’t want to contradict Dr. Shun about only bacteria can be extremophiles and people can’t
     Hospitality Dr. Shun invites the Maloneys to her hidden cabin for lunch and more learning
     Keeping in Touch The Maloneys plan to send a followup email to Dr. Shun
Biosphere Earth’s natural environment: living organisms, surface, water, subsurface, atmosphere
     Research Dr. Shun shares her knowledge of bacteria, laws of chemistry and physics, and geology with the Maloneys

You can use Whoosh LIST 4 to decide which mini-lessons and bits of wisdom you would like to reinforce as your child or children read this first book of the BioFables series. We’ve grouped each of the categories into Basic (foundational knowledge), Hybrid (relevant to all aspects of a knowledge branch), and Applied (using basic or hybrid principles for practical, real-world purposes).

Whoosh LIST 4: Combined STEM, Humanities and Values/Behaviors

Major Branches and Sub-branches Appearing in Whoosh

STEM HUMANITIES VALUES/BEHAVIORS

BASIC

  • Biology
    • Microbes/Bacteria
    • Plants
  • Chemistry
    • Molecules
    • Elements
    • Forms
    • Functions
  • Physics
    • Heat, Temperature
  • Earth, Space Science
    • Geology
    • Geography

HYBRID

  • Math
    • Measurements
    • Comparisons

APPLIED

  • Technolgy
    • Microscopes (Physics: Optics)

BASIC

  • Sociology
    • Family Relationships
    • People Relationships
  • Language
    • Sounds and Spelling
    • Word Derivations
    • Play on Words
    • Guessing Games
    • Classic Literature
  • History
      • Locations
  • Health
    • Exercise
    • Food and Nutrition
    • FEAST

HYBRID

  • Arts
    • Writing
    • Drawing
    • Singing
    • Ideas/Creativity

APPLIED

  • Work, Careers
    • Dreams for the Future
    • Musician
    • Biologist
    • Explorer
    • Tai Chi Instructor
    • Wellness Guide
    • Chemist
    • Microbiologist

BASIC

  • Ethical/Moral
    • Honesty/Truth
  • Emotional
    • Concern for Others
    • Sense of Humor
    • Disappointment
  • Mental
    • Sense of Wonder
    • Word Games
    • Visualization
    • Intuition
    • Inferring Meaning of Words
  • Physical
    • Balance/Stability
    • Natural Movement

HYBRID

  • Learning/Knowledge/Skills
    • Exploration
    • Sharing Knowledge
    • Aquiring Knowledge

APPLIED

  • People
    • Parental Responsibility
    • Sibling Teasing
    • Concern for Others
    • Generosity
    • Respect
    • Gratitude
    • Hospitality
    • Keeping in Touch
  • Biosphere
    • Research

Whoosh Table 4 is designed to be helpful in discussing each book as your children progress through the chapters.

The left column rows highlighted in light green show the Chapter number and the chapter’s pages; following the highlighted row is a quick chapter overview and occasional resource links to relevant sites for further investigation (links to child-friendly sites are in orange).

The right column rows highlighted in light green show the chapter’s title; following the highlighted row are the chapter’s major knowledge branches and sub-branches.

Whoosh TABLE 4: Combined STEM, Humanities and Values

Whoosh TABLE 4: Combined STEM, Humanities, Values

CHAPTER: Page Numbers; RESOURCE LINKS
CHAPTER TITLES; SUBJECTS/TOPICS
Helpful Hints
Chapter 1: Pages 1-4
Old Faithful = “Old Faceful?”
It felt warm and wonderful when “Old Faceful” steam surrounded Melody, but even a few stray droplets stung and left red spots her twin brother’s bare skin.

Old Faithful Area
Geysers at Yellowstone

  • Earth, Space Science
    • Geology
  • Sociology
    • Family relationships
  • Ethical/Moral
    • Honesty/Truth
  • People
    • Parental Responsibility
    • Concern for Others
    • Sibling Teasing
Chapter 2: Pages 4-8
Old Faithful Behaves
Mom’s graceful yoga “dance” keeps time with the erupting geyser, with Mom and geyser both earning the applause of other visitors.

Microorganisms

  • Biology
    • Microbes/bacteria
  • Earth, Space Science
    • Geography
  • Health
    • Food and Nutrition
    • Exercise
  • Learning/Knowledge/Skills
    • Exploration
  • People
    • Parental Responsibility
    • Generosity
Chapter 3: Pages 9-12
Bubbling Along the Boardwalk
A nature trail like no other…bubbles and burps, hissing and splashing… unexpected colors that belonged to fields of wild flowers, not water and mud.
  • Earth, Space Science
    • Geology
  • Language
    • Sounds and Spelling
  • Emotional
    • Sense of Humor
  • Mental
    • Sense of Wonder
    • Word Games
  • Physical
    • Balance/Stability
  • People
    • Parental Responsibility
    • Respect
  • Biosphere
    • Research
Chapter 4: Pages 13-18
Nature: A Closer Look
Dr. Ethyl reveals some of the mystery of what’s going on just under the boardwalk as the Maloney family walks the planks a second time.

Geysers (Wikipedia)
How Volcanoes Work
Types of Yellowstone Geysers

  • Chemistry
    • Molecules
    • Elements
    • Forms
  • Earth, Space Science
    • Geology
  • Language
    • Word Derivations
    • Classic Literature
  • Arts
    • Drawing
  • Mental
    • Visualization
  • Learning/Knowledge/Skills
    • Sharing Knowledge
    • Acquiring Knowledge
  • People
    • Hospitality
Chapter 5: Pages 19-23
All Steamed Up
Water and steam: same H2O. BUT…how about that huge difference in distance between water and steam molecules?
  • Chemistry
    • Molecules
    • Forms
  • Math
    • Comparisons
  • Learning/Knowledge/Skills
    • Sharing Knowledge
    • Acquiring Knowledge
Chapter 6: Page 24-28
How Hot Is Hot?
Water, boiling water, steam, superheated water: geysers have all these forms of H2O, but that’s not all. Dr. Ethyl starts with Mallory’s diagram of an underground teapot to explain how geysers work.
  • Physics
    • Heat, Temperature, Pressure
  • Earth, Space Science
    • Geology
  • Language
    • Classic Literature
  • Arts
    • Writing
    • Singing
    • Drawing
  • Ethical/Moral
    • Honesty/Truth
  • Emotional
    • Sense of Humor
  • Mental
    • Visualization
  • Physical
    • Balance/Stability
Chapter 7: Pages 29-34
Living Thermometers
Could anything live in these brightly colored, steaming water? Would you believe microbes, their colors revealing how hot they prefer their baths?

Extremophiles (Wikipedia)

  • Biology
    • Microbes/Bacteria
    • Plants
  • Technology
    • Microscopes (Physics: Optics)
  • Language
    • Word Derivations
  • Life Skills
    • Creativity
  • Emotional
    • Sense of Humor
    • Disappointment
  • Mental
    • Visualization
Chapter 8: Pages 35-39
pH? What’s That?
It’s not only heat that these extremophile microbes love, it’s also the extreme acidity or alkalinity (the other side of the acidity scale).

What is pH?

  • Chemistry
    • Forms
    • Functions
  • Work, Careers
    • Dreams for the Future
  • Learning/Knowledge/Skills
    • Sharing Knowledge
    • Acquiring Knowledge
  • People
    • Respect
    • Gratitude
Chapter 9: Pages 40-46
Telling Grandpa Mike about Yellowstone
Reviewing some of what they learned at Yellowstone with Grandpa Mike, the twins accidentally reveal Melody’s extremophile-like experience.
  • Mental
    • Intuition
  • Learning/Knowledge/Skills
    • Sharing Knowledge
Chapter 10: Pages 47-48
Next Adventure
The twins look forward to “meeting” lots of animals, Mom’s cousin who runs a family farm and driving a special experimental car to Southern Illinois.  

 

Want to make things even more interesting? Learn about taking the BioFables Challenge.