Author gives hands-on presentation at HIS

Students Demere Johnson, Grant Wilkins and Katelyn Smith are fascinated and eager to see and touch an animal pelt held by Gabe Knight during author Heather Montgomery's visit to HIS. (Contributed)

Students Demere Johnson, Grant Wilkins and Katelyn Smith are fascinated and eager to see and touch an animal pelt held by Gabe Knight during author Heather Montgomery’s visit to HIS. (Contributed)

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Helena Intermediate School students (as well as some teachers) recently enjoy a special author’s visit in the Media Center.

Author Heather Montgomery, children’s book author, brought an assortment of the science-themed books she is known for but did not settle for just turning the pages.

Montgomery’s very animated video presentation carried every student’s mind in new directions as she herself morphs into a stand-up-scientific-comic as she dramatically expands little-realized facts about snake tongues, spider silk and snail poop.

Snake skins and dried furry animals were passed from child to child, giving many their first touch of such.

Every child seemed captivated and was encouraged also to think like a scientist (be curious, ask questions, gather information) and to keep a personal journal with detailed descriptive writings, opinions and illustrations.

Montgomery shared a page from her own journal describing how she examined a dried rose bud through a loupe on a “cooler evening after steamy days and a rain shower.”

In addition to her pen and ink sketch of the rose bud, she described what it made her think of—cobwebbed, mottled skin, sepals like flowing hair, a doll from a scary movie, the tip of a stalk had a black section like a hoof and a stem ribbed like celery.

Montgomery’s presentation also teaches them to think like a writer, to employ observation, ask questions, research, write a draft and revise, revise, revise to produce the final draft.

These are skills, she pointed out, they can use in all their classes to produce an informative and well-written article.

Heather Montgomery is a GoodReads author whose titles include “How to Survive an Earthquake,” “How is Soil Made?,” “Wild About Snakes” series, “Truth and Rumors: Mummies” and her latest, “Wild Discoveries: Wacky New Animals.”