written and illustrated by Jason Chin
2014 (Roaring Brook Press)
Source: Orange County Public Library
When reading Gravity, the first thing that struck me was the sparseness of the text. As Travis at 100 Scope Notes points out in his excellent review of this book, you just don’t see a lot of good nonfiction for the early primary grades. It’s a tough task to take a complex subject and break it down for our youngest students. There are only a few words on each page, but Jason Chin chooses the right words and has such rich illustrations that this is not a problem. He explains that this thing called gravity keeps objects from floating away from the Earth. Not only small objects like sand buckets and bananas, but also giant things like planets. Reading this book makes you want to say, “Phew, glad I have gravity!”. Of course, I could have used a little less of it when I was playing high school basketball, but let’s not go down that sad road. Chin goes on to explain that gravity not only keeps things from floating away, but within that same concept it keeps things together like the Earth near the Sun or the Moon near the Earth.
In the back matter, you will find two excellent pages that go in depth with more details about gravity. You learn why some objects have greater gravity than others and find out about the terms mass, orbit, and weight. Jason Chin does fantastic work as evidenced by his previous books. He is certainly deserving of an author study in K-2.
Here’s a cool experiment that I found on the Bright Hub Education site:
Students can explore how gravity affects objects as they impact the earth in a simple experiment using flour, a baking tray and a marble. Pour enough flour into the baking pan to create a layer one-inch deep. Spread newspaper under the pan of flour to make clean-up easier. Drop the marble onto the pan of flour. Carefully remove the marble from the pan and observe the crater in the flour. Drop the marble from different heights to test if the size of the crater will change. This experiment can also be done outside with rocks and a large area of mud. This experiment will allow students to better understand what happens when a meteor hits the earth.