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Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet

Last updated Sunday, February 5, 2023

Author: Elizabeth Rusch
Illustrator: Teresa Martinez
Date of Publication: 2019
ISBN: 1580895816
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2023

Synopsis: Mexican American Mario Molina is a modern-day hero who helped solve the ozone crisis of the 1980s. Growing up in Mexico City, Mario was a curious boy who studied hidden worlds through a microscope. As a young man in California, he discovered that CFCs, used in millions of refrigerators and spray cans, were tearing a hole in the earth's protective ozone layer. Mario knew the world had to be warned - and quickly. Today Mario is a Nobel laureate and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His inspiring story gives hope in the fight against global warming.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is your favorite subject?
•  What are you learning in science? What is your favorite project in science?
•  Have you learned about chemistry? What is chemistry?


•  Scientist- a person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical science
•  Chemistry- the branch of science that deals with the identification of the substances of which matter is composed; the
•  investigation of their properties and the ways in which they interact, combine, and change.
•  Laboratory - a room or building equipped for scientific experiments, research, or teaching, or for the manufacture of drugs or chemicals.
•  Environment- the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates.
•  Microscope - an optical instrument used for viewing very small objects, such as mineral samples or animal or plant cells, typically magnified several hundred times.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What did Mario examine under the microscope?
•  Where was Mario’s lab?
•  What are CFC’s? Why are CFC’s the dangerous?
•  What was the great news Mario received on television?
•  When will the hole in the ozone layer heal itself?
•  What is the next global concern?

Craft ideas:
•  1) Easy: You are a scientist in your own lab? Do you have a lab coat? A test tubes. Or microscope? Draw a picture of your science lab. Share your picture classmates. Materials needed: Construction paper, slim markers, crayons, stencil, and scissors.
•  2) Easy: Valentines Day is just a few days away. Create a valentine day card for someone special in your life, a parent, grandparent, or friend. Share a special valentine message in your greeting card. Materials needed: Construction paper, slim markers, crayons

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!