Welcome to the new Big Picture Science website. June 13 2014, 1 Comment

This new website is quite a step up from my first one, which was done by my son when he was in high school in 1999. It had a printable order form, but didn't take online orders. My son has grown up into a computer professional, and the Big Picture Science catalog has grown up, too.

The latest addition to my products is the complete set of files for my botany collection for children. It is entitled Illustrated Botany for Children and is a Montessori botany nomenclature. You can find a number of options for purchasing these files in my materials listings. Illustrated Botany for Children is the finishing touch for your botany teaching collection. My book, Plant Lessons: Introducing Children to Plant Form and Function, is the resource for teachers that has the lessons and stories. My set of photo cards, 48 Flower Cards for Study and Sorting, gives children a chance to practice finding flower structures and provides teachers with a way to show examples in their lessons. Illustrated Botany for Children is a series of booklets and three-part matching cards that helps children do their own learning work. The summary charts, which I call "wall charts" are a quick reference for students of all ages.

Another recent addition to Big Picture Science is the file for printing color photo cards for my Tree-of-Life chart (see the biology listings). Teachers have been asking me for color cards since I first published Kingdoms of Life Connected: A Teacher's Guide to the Tree of Life in 2008. I realized that the charts themselves would be so expensive for me to print and ship that their price would be impractical for most schools. I posted the files for printing the charts on my website as a free download, which you can find in my biology products listing or my digital download listing. The black and white photo cards for the Tree of Life are included with the Kingdoms of Life Connected book, and also available by themselves. Before you get totally excited about this new set, I have to warn you that not all of the cards are in color. I didn't want to add false color to the electron photomicrographs, and there are two drawings and one light micrograph for which color was not available. The animals, plants, and fungi are all in eye-catching color, as are the cyanobacteria and the macroscopic protists, like the red, green and brown algae. Placing these different colored algae on the chart will show children very clearly that we use the term "algae" for several different branches of life.

My Tree-of-Life charts are what I call cartoon Tree-of-Life diagrams. They are not the precise evolutionary trees that scientists use to illustrate their hypotheses and findings. Cartoon diagrams, with their thick branches and tree-like form, are very useful to beginners, however. They allow children (and their guiding adults, as well) to visualize and internalize the lineages of life. Beginners need the most important basic branches to stand out and be visible.

Children in secondary classrooms will likely be ready for more "scientific" diagrams, with all the organisms lined up the same distance from the origin and with branches shown as straight lines of measured length, connected with right angles. However, they, too, will find it easier learn the branches of life from a cartoon diagram.

I hope you enjoy exploring the Tree of Life and my new website. Please let me know if you have suggestions or questions.