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Judith Jango-Cohen

Nonfiction Author and Photographer

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Science

Science Snippet: Elephantheads & Horsetails


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A red and gold firecracker “pops” amidst its green foliage.

As blue hydrangea blooms are making way for golden oak leaves, I wanted to share another “look-alike” plant post with you. Previous Post.

As before, six “look-alike” plants are pictured below. After studying their shapes and colors, try to guess their names. Then click on the photos for the answers–and for information about these intriguing plants.

NAMES

Trumpet Creeper   Elephanthead

Horsetails   Pitcher Plant

Fairy Duster   Monkshood

White pitcher plant, Crimson Pitcher Plant, Crimson Pitcherplant, Sarracenia leucophylla, Sarracenia drummondii,

Elephanthead Lousewort, Elephant's Head, Pedicularis groenlandic

Baja Fairy Duster, Red Fairy Duster, Calliandra californica

Horsetails, Equisetum sp.

Columbian Monkshood, Aconitum columbianum

Trumpet Vine, Trumpet Creeper, Campsis radicans

Here are two other fun activities:

  1. Write a fairy tale that explains one interesting fact about a “look-alike” plant.
    For Example:
    Perhaps the trumpet creeper was once a small girl who annoyed a wicked witch. Every morning she would wake the witch up by blowing her horn, so the witch turned her into a trumpet creeper flower. The spell can be reversed if a hummingbird comes and drinks from her blossom. (Hummingbirds are attracted to trumpet creepers because of their red color.)
  2. Make up your own “look-alike” flower.
    Name it after one of the following:
    favorite dessert, favorite pet, or favorite sport
    Draw a picture.
    Label the different plant parts: roots, stems, leaves, flowers.

To see more exquisite flowers you can visit  my husband’s and my photography website at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

View my program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

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Read or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

Science Snippet: Silver Swords and Fairy Slippers


If you had a silver sword and a fairy slipper, what would you do with them? They sound like magical objects in a fairy tale. But you could plant them in your garden . . . because they are both flowers.

Indian blanket, Indian Blanketflower, Sundance, Firewheel, Gaill
Firewheel, Gaillardia pulchella

Six of these “look-alike” plants are pictured below. After studying their shapes and colors, try to guess their names. Then click on the photos for the answers–and for information about these interesting plants.

NAMES

Shrimp Plant   Rattlesnake Grass

Silver Sword   Bleeding Heart

Paintbrush   Fairy Slipper

Bleeding-heart, Bleeding Heart, Venus's car, Lady in a bath, Dut

Big Quaking Grass, Great Quaking Grass, Large Quaking Grass, Qua

Fairy Slipper, Calypso Orchid, Venus's slipper, Calypso bulbosa

Haleakala silversword Argyroxiphium sandwicense macrocephalum

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Indian Paintbrush, Castilleja miniata

Here are two other fun activities:

1. Chose one or two of the plants above and write a fairy tale about magical “look-alikes.”
2. Make up your own “look-alike” flower. Draw it and name it. Then tell where it lives and give three interesting facts about it.

To see more exquisite flowers you can visit  my husband’s and my photography website at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

View my program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_100

Read or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

“Exciting Writing” with Mrs. Cimini’s Class


Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_46.jpg.

National Poetry Month is a perfect time to highlight some of the lyrical and lively writing that Mrs. Cimini’s fourth grade students have created. After attending my “Exciting Writing” program, children practiced techniques provided in my follow-up materials to “make music” and “paint pictures.” These techniques apply not only to poetry, but also to prose. ( For related activities, see Teacher Pages: Making Music with Alliteration and Invigorating Vocabulary. )

Below are some the the wonderful writing samples that Mrs. Cimini sent me.

Students “made music” by generating phrases using alliteration:Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_104

Wreck it Ralph
Magnificent Minecraft
Noisy Nancy
big band
puny pig
loud lunchroom
chattering children
stubborn staples
naked noodles

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_106Then they combined phrases to make sentences:

The Noisy nerd threw pumpkin pie at the Big Bad Wolf.
My mom makes marvelous meals.
The Wicked Witch had a puny pig and some chocolate chips.
The Big Bad Wolf played Magnificent Minecraft and then went out for french fries.

Children “painted pictures” by using vivid verbs.

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The loud, fat Chihuahua trudged over to me.
The wide horse trotted to his hay and gobbled it down.
The huge pet devoured dinner.
I crunched my food.
The plump Chihuahua nuzzled the other dog to get up.

Notice the descriptive adjectives they used too:
loud, fat, wide, huge, and plump

Another way students “painted pictures” was by creating clever similes:

The cat was as sneaky as a shadow.
The man’s belch was as loud as a BOMB!!!
The kitten is as cute as a toy.

Thank you to Mrs. Cimini and her students! To see more of the exciting things they are up to, visit their classroom blogAuthor_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_107

You can view my school program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_100

View or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Science Snippet: The Perfect Pizza


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Ahhh! Picture the perfect pizza slice: steamy and sizzling, with stretchy cheese dripping from the edges as you lift it from the pan. Its savory scent entices you, as your mouth waters to welcome that first bite.

I LOVE pizza. (Bet you do too!) So I was intrigued when Scholastic asked me to report on the science behind pizza cheese for March’e SuperScienceAuthor_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_103

My research brought me to materials engineer Bryony James, who is investigating the properties of pizza cheese. In her lab, at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, James has eight pizzas simmering. Each is topped with a different cheese. She wanted to find out what physical properties give pizza cheese those golden patches of toasty bubbles.

When James’s results were in, they explained why mozzarella is the pizza cheese champion. Mozzarella has just the right amounts of moisture, oil, and stretchiness to create that bubbly top that appeals to pizza lovers.

Here’s how the mouth-watering magic happens. When the pizza heats up, moisture evaporates to form steam. The steam expands the stretchy mozzarella to form bubbles. As the bubbles grow, oil slides off, allowing the bubbles to brown.

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_102Scientists like James have been studying pizza cheese for more than a century, because cheese makers are always seeking out improved varieties. For example, when U.S. cheese makers shipped mozzarella across the country, it spoiled. So scientists engineered a drier mozzarella that stays fresh longer. When faster pizza ovens were invented in the ’80s, cheese needed to be tweaked so it wouldn’t melt quickly and burn. Today, scientists are experimenting with making pizza cheese with less fat and sodium. Their challenge: make a healthier pizza that also tastes good.

If you want more historical information to chew on, read The Power of Pizza.

Here’s a question to whet your appetite:

Cultural historians believe pizza became popular in the United States after World War II because:

1. American G.I.s grew to like it while serving in Italy.
2. It was easy to eat in front of the newly invented TV.
3. Lots of cars enabled take-out, delivery, and road food.
4. 1, 2, and 3

See paragraph nine for the answer.

Still hungry for more cheese information? Click on James’s picture above to watch a video of her describing her experiments and/or read the NPR story.

You can view my school program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_100

View or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Author Program/School Visit Video


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Previewing a program before an author visits is not always possible. In order to give teachers and parents a better idea of my programs, I am adding a short movie to this blog. So break out the popcorn and hope to see you soon!

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

You can view or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Science Snippet: Gotcha!


Prowling predators is the subject of the story I wrote for this month’s SuperScience magazine. [SuperScience]

Gharial
Gharial

Contrary to what you may see in horror films, all predators are not jagged-jawed giants like  sharks, grizzlies, or crocodiles.

Alligator
Alligator

Predators come in all sizes, shapes, and species.
And they use a variety of  tactics to bag their lunch.
Some trick, some trap, some shoot, and some smash.

Want to test your prowess at identifying predators?
Then take the quiz below.

For answers and intriguing videos, click on the link beneath each question.
Good luck nabbing the correct answers!

Dew Drops on Spider Web
Dew Drops on Spider Web

SPIDERS

Which spider clutches its web in its legs and flings it over prey?
1. Trapdoor Spider
2. Net-casting Spider
3. Tarantula
ANSWER and VIDEO

Fiddler Crab, Uca pugilator

CRUSTACEANS

Which crustacean punches through its prey’s shell with club-shaped claws?
1. Spiny Lobster
2. Red King Crab
3. Mantis Shrimp
ANSWER and VIDEO

Alligator Gar
Alligator Gar

FISH

Which fish shoots down insects by spitting at them like a water pistol?
1.  Archerfish
2. Airbreathing Catfish
3. Armored Searobin
ANSWER and VIDEO

Fence Lizard
Fence Lizard

REPTILES

Which reptile launches its sticky tongue like a slingshot at insects, lizards, and even small birds?
1. Crocodile
2. Komodo Dragon
3. Chameleon
ANSWER and VIDEO

Great Blue Heron Eating Fish
Great Blue Heron Eating Fish

BIRDS

Which bird outwits fish by forming its wings into an umbrella? This fools prey into thinking the shadow is cast by a protective log or stone.
1. Black Heron
2. Pelican
3. Flamingo
ANSWER and VIDEO

Hope you had fun and learned a lot!

Below is a link to a short author visit video:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

You can view or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Bo
AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE 
See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Delightful Day at Dennett


Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_63When I walked through the doors of the Dennett Elementary School for an author visit, my first sight was a colorful display case filled with my photographs and books. I immediately felt welcome.

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The Librarian, Geri O’Reilly, showed me the creative response projects her students had written after viewing the photos on my blog.What a clever way to to stimulate her students’ imaginations and to prepare them for the program.

Working with the Dennett School community was fun and inspiring, as we delved into nonfiction, writing, and science. Thank you to the  teachers, custodian, principal, and students who gave me the gift of a delightful day!

You can view or download my school program brochure at:Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire
AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS 
See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

 

 

 

Summer of the Glacier


Hiking on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park of Alberta, Canada
Hiking on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park of Alberta, Canada

This summer, our family discovered that hiking on a glacier is a thrilling way to stay cool. Our destination was the Canadian Rockies–a wonderland filled with glaciers, mountain trails, wildflowers, and wildlife.

Now that autumn is near, and we’ve begun the school year, we have memories to savor of our Summer of the Glaciers. Here are a few photos of our adventures.

Matt stands with pick ax on the Athabasca Glacier. Note the snowmobile in the background--for less intrepid souls.
Matt stands with pick ax on the Athabasca Glacier. Note the snowmobile in the background–for less intrepid souls.
I am photographing the Athabasca Glacier we had been hiking on.

 

Here we stand before the angel Glacier on Mount Edith Cavell. the peak was named for the WWI heroine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Edith_Cavell
Here we stand before the Angel Glacier on Mount Edith Cavell. The peak was named for the WWI heroine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Edith_Cavell
We ventured to Opal Hills, where we had previously met a Mama grizzly bear and two cubs. No “luck” this year. :->
We met bears this year, but only from the car.
We met bears this year, but only from the car.
Photographing wildflowers is a lovely way to rest on a hot, steep trail.
Photographing wildflowers is a lovely way to rest on a hot, steep trail.
Arrowleaf Balsamroot
Arrowleaf Balsamroot

 

Fairy Slipper or Calypso Orchid
Fairy Slipper or Calypso Orchid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed your summer and I look forward to working with you this year.
You can view or download my school program brochure at:
AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE
See our photography web site: http://www.agpix.com/cohen 

Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire

Science Snippet: Poison Power


Pygmy Rattlesnake
Pygmy Rattlesnake

From Snow White’s poisonous apple to Harry Potter’s venomous basilisk, storybooks are filled with poisonous brews and venomous beasts.

Pacific Poison Oak
Pacific Poison Oak
Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy
Scalycap fungus
Scalycap fungus

People are fascinated by poisons, toxins, and venoms, says Mark Sidall, of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Sidall is curator of the exhibition “The Power of Poison,” which will be on display until August 10, 2014. The exhibition explores poison’s roles in nature, myth, and human health. Visitors will discover how poison may be used as a defense against predators, a source of strength, or as a lethal weapon-turned-lifesaving treatment.


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Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Mark Sidall for Scholastic’s SuperScience magazine. The resulting story introduces three pairs of predator and prey facing off in toxic arms races. It describes how, over generations, these competitors’ defenses have become more extraordinary and their chemical weapons more extreme.

To read the story go to http://magazines.scholastic.com/news/2014/05/Poison-Power .

For information about the exhibition go to http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/the-power-of-poison .

You can view or download my school program brochure at:
AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE 

Hiker on Mt. Washington Summit, Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire

See our photography web site: http://www.agpix.com/cohen 

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The Blabbermouth Blog

Literary Agent Linda Epstein's Yakkety Yakking

Marie Lamba, author

Some thoughts from author and agent Marie Lamba

Mrs. Jennifer Cimini, M.Ed.

Positively passionate 4th grade teacher, mom, being myself and helping others!

Sam Kane's Corner

Educating for an interconnected world one story at a time

NESCBWI Kidlit Reblogger

A service of New England SCBWI. All opinions expressed belong to the individual bloggers and commenters who are solely responsible for their content.

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