Well… this is embarrassing. I fell into a dark, swirling, black vortex that is Graduate School. (dun dun dun!) I’m studying to become a school librarian, which one would think that kind of work would entail more reading and reviews of books, and it does, but the amount of work was truly staggering. I just couldn’t keep up. So, I’m going to be playing catch up for awhile with all the things that I have, up until this point, been heinously neglecting. This review blog being one of them. I think I even used it for a school project. *Cringe*
Now, I’m actually down to my teaching experience, which honestly has been really fun. I get to see what kids are reading and really like, and new exposure to different kinds of stories that I probably would not have looked to otherwise. This book was one of them.
I love science. I love gross stories. I like gore. And so do middle school students. It’s a win-win. They eat this story up. Phineas Gage, a railroad construction foreman in Canvendish, Vermont in 1848 is the victim of a horrible accident. A thirteen and a half pound, three foot long tamping iron is shot straight through his head and brain, and he walks away. He survives for 12 years before seizures claim his life at the age of 36. This story presents fantastic and compelling evidence that adds to the some developments in brain science. It changed how the medical field thought about how the brain worked. (Among other cases, like Broca’s patients, etc.). This story, though it does have good gore, is appropriate enough, language included, for middle grade readers. For classroom application, I have been reading parts, and summarizing important material, asking probing questions and pairing it with brain coloring sheets and informational videos, like the one below.
All in all, this is a great non-fiction text, to get gore-science-medical-loving-types excited about non-fiction, and science in general. I had great fun listening to the oohs and ahhs, and occasionally, “That’s disgusting! Cool.”