If you have been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I got super stoked to see Funtastic Unit Studies offer full book titled Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers for the Schoolhouse Review Crew. I have an entire shelving system of science books, curriculums, and supplies. I love seeing new ways to explore simple scientific principles. One thing that is lacking with our Homeschool Curriculum choices – are good unit Studies – that start from a scientific question. Most start with a history theme, and weave in Science.
The age range for this book is listed at 4-13 years old. The first half of the book has unit studies directed at 4-7 year olds, with the latter half directed towards 8-13 year olds. This book is written as if you are leading a group class. I have one 14 year old that has had an overwhelming heaping of science classes, but I had to beg to get my hands on this book and share it with you.
This year I am teaching classes at a local private school that takes a Montessori, hands on, charlotte mason type feel to small classes that are grouped in ages with 3 grade levels. Especially now, with late Middle School, a phrase I hear a lot from parents who want to teach their own children, or teachers who want to step outside of the mold are that they don’t know what to do. The dialog is challenging, and I remember that from the first 2-3 years of teaching. Even this week a struggling mom commented that it is easy for me, because I have been doing it so long. Well, Enter Susan Kilbride, the author of Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers.
She starts paragraphs with “Ask your students “What is weather?”. “Tell your students that . . .”, “Point out that . . .” I was able to work with 7-9 yr olds and then 10-14 year olds this month. It really helped to hear how she approached the classes of these ages. I used many of her phrases. Challenging, age relatable, academically on level, and full of science knowledge and experiments.
I’d like to walk through Chapter 16 – Weather with you. The course starts out with the materials you will need. For this one, most should be in your home. For other courses, she gives websites to order hard to find supplies. There are six parts to this unit:
- Clouds and Rain
- Barometric Pressure, and
Each part has a paragraph to help the teacher introduce the topic. The questions assume that this is a first time introduction to the topic. If your students are knowledgeable, I’d skip some of the ‘Telling’ part of the lesson. However, if your “Ask” part of the class fizzles flat, then you’ll have enough reminders.
The class then shifts to Activities. There are two to three Activities for each Part. I love that this is all inclusive. There will be no need to teach the factual parts of science, then rummage through ‘experiment’ type books to have lessons that are hands on. For Temperature there is are thermometer, journaling, and graphing activities. (Science, Writing, Math)
Clouds and Rain has three hands on science demonstrations, and an activity to create a water cycle diagram incorporating vocabulary words. The next activity incorporates observation to see the results of their demonstrations outside, finishing up with another hands on outside activity with the perfect opportunity to record measurements and incorporate findings in their journals.
The Parts go on this way through the unit. There are clear simple diagrams to help with the teacher to explain processes, and the unit ends with a simple multi choice test.
The 10 chapters for 4-7 are: Our Senses, Human Body, Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life, Animals, Insects and Their Kin, Fun with Magnets, Stars and Planets, Health, Beginning Plants, and Animal Ecology.
The 10 units for 8-13 year olds are: Microscopes and Invisible Creatures, Atoms and Molecules, Matter, Chemistry Fun, Weather, Force and Motion, Simple Machines, Light and Color and Plants 11.
Some folks might like to note that, in my opinion, the chapters I have read do not have a Christian feel, as some other Christian Author Based curriculums. With the Dinosaur unit the teacher is asked to help the kids understand how long 65 million years is. As the teacher, you would choose to include that or not.
The younger units seem to have much more of the fun hands on activities, suggestions for library books and movies or Magic School House videos, and do not have an end of unit test. As stated above, she gives detailed places to get supplies – even including purchasing tad poles. That’s nice.
This is a soft bound 8/5 x 11 workbook looking book, directed towards the teacher. 201 pages for 20 units means that there isn’t a lot of fluff. You will not need to spend loads of time learning how to do the unit. If you are pressed for time, if you gathered your supplies at the start of the Unit Chapter, you could make yourself little 3×5 cards to keep the dialog going in class. (Which is what I did for my 9-14 year olds during our magnet lesson.) Which brings up another valid point.
In the two weeks that I taught my class – I pulled dialog out of several units. Magnets. Force and Motion, Plants, Weather, Microscope and Insects. I had the dialogs in my pocket for when I could casually incorporate the conversation into a Creek Exploration study.
As for my 14 year old son heading into 9th grade, I’d say that this book incorporates all of the basics that he has studied. I would have loved to have had this starting his 5th grade year to have the great younger experiments and start moving forward through the older lessons.
I would say that this will become / should be a book that every teacher should have on her resource shelf, a great asset to teachers looking to find curriculum for co-op classes, for teachers in the private and public classrooms looking for more hands on activities with a high academic content, and for the homeschool mom at home that wants to make sure her history loving heart is doing a full job teaching science. Ha.
Would you like some free samples?
Two free pdf units from the book: http://funtasticunitstudies.com/science-unit-studies-book
More freebies: http://funtasticunitstudies.com/lessons-and-activities
The photos inserted are from our Plant day at Day Camp. We gathered various shaped and sized leaves and then looked at them with the microscope. The kids were excited to find burrowing bugs, left behind eggs, and bite marks in the leaves that they could not see with the naked eye. With the help of the unit study, I was able to refresh my academic standard for this time with the student and keep our time focused, yet still feeling like it was an organic simple movement. This would have been an amazing resource when I was starting out with younger students, and a much younger teacher!
You’re in luck – Many of us reviewed this great book, Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers – If you click on the banner below, you’ll find how other teachers used these unit studies incorporating fun ideas for teaching science at home and in the classroom!