Kate Sessions

The Science and Engineering Practices are what scientists and engineers do.  So obviously we should have our students actively doing these practices in our classrooms!  I’ve also found it helpful for students to see these practices modeled – and who better to model the things scientists and engineers do than the scientists and engineers themselves!  An authentic way to do this is to have a scientist or engineer visit your classroom or take advantage of Zoom technology to give yourself limitless possibilities.  Another way to show students how these practices are used in the real world by some of the most accomplished minds of the past and present is by reading aloud STEM career picture books (biographies).

An exemplar text for highlighting the science and engineering practice of Analyzing and Interpreting Data is: The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins.  This text tells the story of Kate Sessions, a tree loving activist, who was instrumental in turning San Diego from a dry desert landscape into a lush and leafy green oasis.  This text is particularly suited for exploring the reasons why analyzing and interpreting data is necessary for successful outcomes.  It was because of Kate’s research and data analysis that she discovered plants that could thrive in San Diego’s climate.

Have fun introducing your students to a determined and resourceful female scientist whose work changed the landscape of San Diego forever!

Looking for additional science texts?  Check out StarrMatica Texts: Science Your Way, our library of K-5 science informational texts that can be customized to meet specific Common Core ELA standards. Each 1st – 5th grade text has multiple reading levels so all of your students can read the same content independently.

Not a subscriber?  Click here for a free trial to access our entire library of texts.

And if you are looking for additional picture books for your science classroom, check out the Perfect Picture Book Pairing Series that includes one-page guides with activities and discussion questions for hundreds of STEM-themed picture books aligned to every NGSS performance expectation!


Be sure to check out the other posts in this series to discover picture books to highlight each of the eight science and engineering practices in the NGSS!