Lyrical Life Science Volume 1: Bacteria to Birds – Textbook


We originally did not think to call this Volume 1, as we wrote it before we knew we’d write more. We now refer to it as “Bacteria to Birds” as it covers many diverse topics.

Author: Doug Eldon
Illustrator: Eric Altendorf
Cover Design: Susan Moore
Scientific Advisors: Dr. Karen Timm and Steve Lebsack



  • Scientific Method
  • All Living Things
  • Invertebrates
  • Coldblooded Vertebrates
  • Birds
  • Plants: An Introduction
  • Algae, Fungi and Nonvascular Plants
  • Vascular Plants
  • Protozoa
  • Genetics
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria


Sample: from Chapter in Text

Sample: from Chapter in Workbook

The idea for using lyrics and music for teaching came to me the beginning of my second year teaching 6th grade. I was already noticing students becoming turned-off to science, even with a new and well-illustrated life science textbook. Or, perhaps because of the textbook! I was contemplating how best to introduce the chapter on the scientific method, and, while in the shower (where so many good ideas come to mind, right?) I remembered how singing helps information stick in the brain. So, using the tune “Dixie” because it is (or was!) a well-known and easy to remember melody, the first two verses and chorus just came to me. On the way to school, and during the day I wrote the other verses. By the next day I had 9 verses that introduced, explained, and gave the steps of the scientific method! I taught it to my students, and many of them were able to memorize it quickly. And, more importantly, they enjoyed learning! So, here is the song that got me going:

“The Scientific Method”
(to the tune of “Dixie”)

Oh, what do you think a scientist does
To solve a problem found because
Many scientists are scientists
‘Cause they’re great problem solvers

There is a systematic way
They go about ‘most every day
It’s methodical and it’s logical
The scientific method


A way to solve a problem, a way, a way
The scientific method is a way to solve a problem
A way, a way, a way to solve a problem
A way, a way, a way to solve a problem

It may not seem important to you
But the first thing that they always do
Is state the problem or ask a question
So, they know just what they’re after

Then they review everything involved
That might help get the problem solved
By reading, researching
And gathering information


After both of these steps they take
They go ahead and then they make
An educated guess—a hypothesis—
A possible solution

Then they use scientific tools
To measure and test some variables
In experiments which are really meant
To give more information


This information they call data
They put together so that later
They can analyze and synthesize
To see just what it all means

Only when they have done all these
Experiments testing hypotheses
Which may prove, or else disprove
Then they’ll state their conclusion


This is the systematic way
A scientist may use any old day
‘Cause it’s methodical and it’s logical
The scientific method

Singing these songs is an easy way to learn about important aspects of life science. For example, in “Oh Bacteria” (to the tune of “Oh Susanna”) you’ll learn about the function and structure of bacteria when you sing:

Oh lacking any nucleus, you do have a cell wall
You live in water, air, and soil, and anywhere at all
You reproduce by fission, and you do so very fast
And under harsh conditions in an endospore you last


Oh bacteria, though simple and so small
Without you ecosystems would not function well at all!

Author: Doug Eldon
Illustrator: Eric Altendorf
Cover Design: Susan Moore
Scientific Advisors: Dr. Karen Timm and Steve Lebsack

We are happy to announce that materials for our first volume have been updated and are available as a free download.

When I originally wrote the songs for the first of three life science volumes, I decided not to get into too much detail about cell organelles. Instead, I included only the cell structures important in classifying living organisms into the five kingdoms, namely the presence or absence of a nucleus, cell wall, and chloroplasts. I figured that if I started in on the rest of them—ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, etc.— then I’d have to cover them all. However, since writing the original songs, I’ve had requests to write a song about all the cell organelles, as students have been expected to learn about them at younger and younger ages. I finally did, and it was harder than I thought it would be! This is one of those challenging content-rich songs that I’m hoping kids have fun learning, as they do with tongue twisters. It’s a mouth-full! Bobby Horton recorded “Cell Organelles” (written to the old Irish tune “Gary Owen”—the score for which can be found on-line), and now I hope you have fun learning a bit about cell biology! I didn’t change the chapter in the text much, as I didn’t want to write a whole additional chapter about the functions and interactions of all the organelles, but I did make workbook pages for the new song.

The other revision I wanted to make had to do with biological classification: I include in Part 1 a change in the big groupings with the addition of three domains, one of which is then divided into kingdoms; and in Part 2 changes in what had been the kingdom Protozoa (Protista). I also wrote a new song (as well as text and workbook pages) about Protists as they are currently classified. This meant redoing the chapter “Protozoa” as well as the first part of the chapter “Algae, Fungi, and Non-vascular Plants” since some of what had been in the kingdom of plants (particularly algae) and in the kingdom of fungi (several molds and mildews) have been reclassified as protists. I didn’t want to totally replace the songs for those two chapters because I really like how Bobby Horton produced and recorded them. But I felt the content needed to be updated.

Each update includes two files:

PDF of updated curriculum pages, new workbook pages and answer keys, and instructions for merging new materials with original materials
MP3 of a new song that reinforces the concepts presented in the new material

Download Update Part 1

Download Update Part 2


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