History: (first circle)

Need for lesson - A picture of Melvil Dewey, a poster board or other chart showing the classification order of the Dewey Decimal System, and samples of fiction and a non-fiction books from the library to demonstrate the authors name and card catalog numbers on the side of the books.

I decided to keep this lesson under Science, as it follows the previous Scientist discussed.

Index File Card

can be pasted onto an index file card for quick reference


History 10

This week we have been talking about some famous Scientist. Today we are going to talk about a man who wasn't a Scientist, but he did invent something very important a long time ago, that is still used today. His name is Melvil Dewey. He was a librarian. We talked about community workers not that long ago, and a librarian is a community worker. Well, Melvin Dewey invented what is called the Dewey Decimal System. The Dewey Decimal System is a special way to classify books in a library. There are so many books in a library that they needed to be put on the shelves in an orderly way, so that they could be found easily. All books, fiction and non-fiction are organized using the Dewey Decimal System. I have an example of a book that is Fiction and one that is Non-fiction. Can we remember the difference between these two kinds of books? Fiction books are those that tell a pretend story, a story that isn't real. Non-fiction books tell of things, places, events,or people that are true, they are not pretend, but are real stories or facts.

How are the books organized in a library? The Fiction books are shelved alphabetically by the author's last name. What does alphabetically mean? The books are placed in order of the alphabet. the first ones would be those with authors whose last name starts with A then it would go to those whose last name begins with a B, then C, D, all the way to Z. Non-fiction books are placed on the shelves by a card catalog number. These are organized by smallest number to the largest. (Show the children the samples of the library books.)

Books that are Fiction are in one part of the library and those that are Non-fiction are found in another part of the library. This chart also helps us to understand how Non-fiction books are organized on the shelves. It shows how different kinds of books can be found on the shelves by the number on the book. Books that have the numbers in the 500's would be books about Science. Books with numbers in the 900's are going to be about History and Geography. (Using the chart, go over a few more shelving sections) Do you think the Dewey Decimal System, invented by Melvil Dewey is helpful? It certainly is! He invented it 1876, that is over 130 years ago, and we know it works because libraries all over still use the Dewey Decimal System.



Melvil Dewey


 Dewey Decimal System Chart



Book Samples

Additional Works:

Book Ends - I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was so clever! So I just made some 'book ends' myself for the children. You could also make a set using the decimal numbers. I chose to only make a set for organizing by author at this time.

Alphabet Train Puzzle - This is a long, but fun puzzle for children to make in alphabetical order.


Book Ends


Alphabet Train Puzzle