Reading is essential to learning. However, it’s rarely done for enjoyment in the science classroom.  Usually, when reading is utilized in the science classroom, it’s in a technical sense which is out of a textbook, full of science jargon, leaving little to the imagination.  I think it’s important as science teachers to show our love of reading to our students and let them know we just don’t sit around reading research articles and the periodic table.

I’ve teamed up with Fabled Films Press to create an Educator’s Science Guide for their latest book The Nocturnals: The Ominous Eye, book two of an exciting new book series by Tracey Hecht, which is anything but a boring science text.

The Nocturnal Series Overview

This adventure series is perfect for your middle school-aged readers (Grades 5-9) which feature an unusual friendship among the most unlikely of animals: Dawn, a red fox; coverTobin, a shy and loyal pangolin; and Bismark, a snarky and animated sugar glider.  Together they form the Nocturnals Brigade who band together to face challenges that threaten their nighttime friends.

One of the reasons I love this series is that Hecht weaves in so many different naturally-occurring phenomena into her story without immediately giving away exactly what it is.  By discovering what is happening from the animals point of view, throughout their adventures, the students are just as much a part of the nocturnal brigade as Dawn, Tobin, and Bismark.

The Nocturnals: The Ominous Eye Overview

When a violent jolt fractures the earth, the Nocturnal Brigade sets out to investigate its source. Along their journey, Dawn, Bismark, and Tobin meet an unfamiliar reptile—a tuatara named Polyphema—who reveals that a giant beast caused the destruction and will soon strike again. Polyphema with her special insights, is the only one who can help them stop this fearsome predator… but can she be trusted? With help from an owl, the jerboas, and some kiwis, the animals set a trap since surrender is not an option against this relentless beast.  Source:

Want to read more about Polyphema and the Noctural Brigade?  Click HERE for an excerpt from the second book in The Nocturnals: The Ominous Eye.

Educator’s Science Guide Overview (aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards)

I designed The Ominous Eye science activities with the intention that teachers could intentionally complete them throughout the reading instead of waiting for the entire book to be finished.

science guideActivity 1: An Interview with a Tuatara

As most students have never even heard about a tuatara, this activity is perfect for students to get a better understanding of what Polyphema looks like as well learn more about the habitat and biology of the actual reptile.

Activity 2: Nesting Sanctuary for Tuatara: A Laboratory Investigation

Students need to learn the process of science inquiry and get the perfect opportunity in this activity. Students receive a letter from the University of Nocturnals Department of Conservation asking them to help find the best possible nesting material for tuatara eggs.  This investigation is truly meant for students to collect data and use evidence from their findings to support their argument on which ground covering to use.

Activity 3: Make a Model of a Volcano and Learn about the Ring of Fire

Students are introduced to the inner workings of a volcano by creating a model using simple ingredients.  This activity extends to having students plot out the Ring of Fire, and why most volcanic activity happens in this particular region.

Click HERE to grab your FREE Educator’s Science Guide today!

Want to check out other adventures in The Nocturnals Series?  Click on the images below to read more about Dawn, Tobin, and Bismark working together in their evening adventures.

Book 1: The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions

Book 3: The Nocturnals: The Fallen Star




You may have noticed some Amazon Affiliate links throughout this post.  Just so you are aware, if you happen to purchase items using any of those links, Amazon sends me a small percentage which I throw back into Nitty Gritty Science to help fund giveaways, purchase supplies for science demos and manage this website.