Sixth-grade students learn about writing and science from "Something Stinks!" author.
Amy Bane, an advanced sixth grade science teacher at Carlos E. Haile Middle School, was scouring the National Science Teacher Association's (NSTA) website three years ago as she tried to find book suggestions for her class.
She came upon "Something Stinks!" by Gail Hedrick.
"I have had my students read it the last three years," Bane said. "We've already read it this year. It is a fiction book, but it is based on fact. It is good to find a book where science can be tied to literature without being science fiction.
"A lot of stories about science are either so far out there, or they are so dry."
The description of Hedrick's book goes, "Dead fish are washing ashore on the Higdon River, and seventh grader Emily Sanders decides to find out why. Mocked by fellow students and abandoned by her best friend, Emily investigates farms, a golf course, and local factories. Gradually she persuades friends to help her test the waters."
On Friday, Oct. 20 at Haile, the sixth grade advanced science students learned even more about Something Stinks! as Hedrick, who lives in Bradenton, made a morning visit and addressed approximately 130 students in the school's cafeteria.
"I used to teach seventh grade," Hedrick said. "What I gained is how gifted these (middle school) kids are. This is my favorite group."
Hedrick said she was hoping to give the students a different perspective on how a book comes out. "It's not just 'Poof! We have a book,'" she said.
While she admits "I'm not a scientist," she said she hopes the students learned that being an author and being a scientist sometimes follow similar paths.
"In both, it's about being curious and being observant," she said.
"Something Stinks!" was published in 2013 and has won the Outstanding Science Trade Book Award from the NSTA. In 2015 Hedrick added "The Scent of Something Sneaky."
Although she isn't currently writing, she said it won't be long before she begins another novel.