Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Tree of Life: The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth

Thompson, Margot (Illustrator)
Kids Can Press 2013. 40 pages
First published: 2004
Series: CitizenKid
ISBN: 9781554539611 (paperback)
9781553376699 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 578
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

figurative language

Award

The Forest of Reading – The Silver Birch Award (Non-Fiction) Nominee – 2005

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This kid-friendly introduction to biodiversity introduces the amazing variety of life on earth and explains its classification into five kingdoms – Monera, Fungi, Protoctista, Plants, Animals – each of which occupies a certain number of leaves on a Tree of Life. Part of CitizenKid, a series that teaches readers about the world and encourages them to be better global citizens, the book includes a serious warning that “a problem with one branch, one twig or even just one leaf may affect the whole tree.”

Filled with lucid, informative and fairly dense text, the double-page spreads describe each of the kingdoms: its defining features, a few of its species and an indicator of how many leaves on the Tree of Life it represents. (The Animal Kingdom is further broken down into vertebrates and invertebrates.)

Handsome paintings in the rich hues of the ecosystem complement the text and are evocative of the interconnectedness of all living things. A small tree graphic, coloured to represent how much of the Tree of Life a particular kingdom occupies, helps visualize this abstract concept.

Readers will find the idea that humans represent only one leaf out of a total of 1,750,000 both impressive and humbling. A final section for parents, teachers and guardians explains the background and history of the classification system.

  •  

    Discuss and define the term biodiversity. Read the introduction and then revise or expand your definition. Continue to revisit and revise as you read.

  •  

    Produce a persuasive and informative video about the importance of biodiversity. Consider whether your audience will be peers, older or younger students or adults. Make decisions about your video based on what will be most effective.

  •  

    Use facts from the book to create a visual representation of biodiversity (use a tree or other visual metaphor). Display your creations in a class gallery on the theme of biodiversity.

  •  

    In teams, brainstorm and list the words you know for each branch of the tree of life. Send messengers from each team to gather additional information from other teams and report back.

  •  

    Explore the biodiversity in your own area. Create a tree of life poster featuring some local species. Are any of them endangered? Highlight these in a special way on your tree.

  •  

    Read the “Becoming Guardians of the Tree of Life” section. Select a project and prepare a plan. List what is needed. Create a poster to advertise your project and prepare a news report for the school website or newspaper.

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use information
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Media Literacy
  • Science and Technology