Literature Connections to
Of Cabbages and Chemistry


Teacher's Guides > Cabbages and Chemistry

This guide, though suggestive of many potential connections to literature, resulted in few good finds. A book about the nineteenth century army surgeon who studied a patient with a healed bullet hole in his stomach reveals much concrete information about stomach acid and other items of interest. After participating in this unit, your students will be primed to the challenge of “neutralizing” a solution and will enjoy a picture book about a woman who tries to make her salty coffee drinkable. Finally, a collection of humorous poems about food and eating is certainly relevant to this unit—all it takes is smelling a classroom where cabbage juice was made to begin the poetic flow in all of us.

Doctor Beaumont and the Man with the Hole in His Stomach
June 29, 1999
The Lady Who Put Salt in Her Coffee
Top Secret

 

Doctor Beaumont and the Man with the Hole in His Stomach
by Beryl and Samuel Epstein
Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, New York. 1978
Grades: 4–6
Interesting experiments about digestion are described in this
army surgeon’s biography. In the 1820s he had a patient with a bullet hole in his stomach. By inserting a tube, the doctor was able to directly observe and monitor the circulation of gastric juices and bile fluids. The surgeon published a book on these experiments, including findings on acidity in the stomach.
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June 29, 1999
by David Wiesner
Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin, New York. 1992
Grades: 3–6
The science project of Holly Evans takes an extraordinary turn—or does it? This highly imaginative and beautifully illustrated book not only has a central experimental component, but ranges outward into the world of extraterrestrials. Holly’s careful preparations, analysis of results, and dawning awareness that the giant vegetables that are landing on Earth are not the results of her experiment have a lot to say about scientific pursuits, interspersed with great humor and lots of giant vegetables, including cabbages!
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The Lady Who Put Salt in Her Coffee
by Lucretia Hale
Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, San Diego. 1989
Grades: K–6
When Mrs. Peterkin accidentally puts salt in her coffee, the entire family embarks on an elaborate quest to find someone to make it drinkable again. A visit to a chemist, an herbalist, and a wise woman result in a solution, but not without having tried some wild experiments first.
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Top Secret
by John R. Gardiner; illustrated by Marc Simont
Little, Brown & Co., Boston. 1984
Grades: 4–7
Humorous saga of a fourth grader’s search for the secret of “human photosynthesis.” Although his science teacher instructs him not to pursue his efforts and orders a science project on lipstick instead, he succeeds in transforming himself and then his teacher into human organisms with plant-like characteristics. The intervention of undercover government agents adds suspense. The plot is an imaginative use of material about plants, human and plant nutrition, chemistry, chemical reactions, and the process of scientific investigation.
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