Come See the Earth Turn
By Lori Mortensen
Illustrated by Raul Allen
Tricycle Press, 2010
Nonfiction picture book
Come See the Earth Turn tells the story of Leon Foucault and the way he proved that the Earth turned using a pendulum to show the movement. Lacking formal training, Foucault, a poor student, found his place in developing “clever instruments and magnificent contraptions.”
He wondered about questions relating to light, its speed, and how to prove these sorts of things. And while people had begun to think the Earth turned, no one had proved it—until Foucault did.
Even though he’d received honors for his work, he wasn’t formally trained and it wasn’t until three years before his death that he was granted membership into the French Academy of Science.
The book contains an author’s note, glossary with pictures of the instruments, and bibliography. In this day of Common Core State Standards, this book begs to be included in classroom and library lessons.
It would make a wonderful introduction to a lesson on Earth science, gravity, and the Earth’s motion. The invention could be compared with that of another early scientist and used as a way to show the scientific method.
Determine the main idea and find examples of how the story supports it. Look up the tools listed in the vocabulary to find more about how they worked to support academic and domain-specific word acquisition.
Compare the book with a scientific explanation of the Earth’s motion and discuss they different ways the authors used to explain this principle.
With the Next Generation Science Standards now available, the book fits perfectly with the Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions and Earth’s Place in the Universe strand. It would kick off a fun lesson to begin a study of these topics in the relevant grades.
Nonfiction is a terrific way to liven up lessons and provides a fun introduction to many topics. It gives teachers, parents, and librarians the opportunity to show children the pleasure and fun of nonfiction.
This site has a good biography of Foucault.