Jump to content

What's with the ads?


Photo

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, reviewed

bfsu nebel

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
44 replies to this topic

What's with the ads?

#1 Targhee

Targhee

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1175 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 01:15 AM

I have been attempting to identify the "ideal" early elementary science curriculum - or at least what I deem is ideal, because as we all know, there is no one-size-fits-all curriculum. This book, Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, by Nebel, was suggested to me (by Moira and others - thank you!) and I must say it has come closest to my ideal of all the curricula I've explored. Here's my review, as promised.

About the book...
Organization
The book contains 41 carefully planned lessons, made to build on each other conceptually. They is not a linear order of lessons, rather a flow chart which allows some flexibility while at the same time ensures you have covered the needed foundational material on which the lesson can build. The lessons are divided into strands (Nature of Matter, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Earth and Space Sciences) which are meant to be studied concurrently rather than in isolation (biology, then chemistry, etc.).

Philosophy
Nebel outlines four principles of teaching according to how children learn. He makes of point several times of explaining the ineffectiveness of memorizing facts in isolation of "real" contextual meaning (I agree with his arguement, read the book for more details).
  • Prinicple 1. There are two parts to developing real understanding. There is learning of factual infromation, but understanding comes only as facts are integrated together into a broader, conceptual context.
  • Principle 2. New understanding is constructed on a foundation of exisiting understanding.
  • Principle 3. Effective learning depends on students self-monitoring what they know, and don't know, and striving to fill in gaps.
  • Principle 4. Learning needs to connect to real-life experience.
He also makes a distinction between learning and thinking, "thinking does not come from learning; learning comes from thinking." We as teachers are to help turn on thinking by a) creating an atmosphere in which students feel free and safe in asking questions, B) posing questions that will bring students to reflect and contemplate, c) promoting question and answer discussion to guide thinking. He talks a lot about question and answer, and how it is useful both as an assessment of understanding and in helping the student make meaning of what s/he has learned.

The last small portion of the educational philosophy section of the book is about "Baloney Detection" - which is a primer on logicical reasoning.

Lessons
Each lesson has an overview, Time Required, Objectives, Required Background (previous lessons from the flow chart),Teachable Moments, Methods and Procedures, and Questions/Discussion/Activities to Review, Expand, and Assess Learning.

My $.02...
Keep in mind we haven't done any lessons from the book yet - this is just my opinion as a home schooler and as a science teacher, looking for what to do for science this coming year (1st and pre-K).

Some things I was looking for and found in this book
  • it teaches both scientific information and scientific thinking
  • it promotes questioning!!!
  • concrete, "real life" experiences/phenomena that children can directly relate to
  • it is scientifically accurate (believe it or not, some books misunderstand what is going on and present explanations that are not correct)
  • it is rigorous in that it requires students to carefully observe, think, and question (and use exact terminology) while at the same time it is laying general foundational information and principles
  • it does not require many materials that aren't already around the house (a few exceptions: magnets, fruit flies, some pictures you can find on Google images)
  • it includes books for correlated reading
The book isn't meant to be a text for twice-a-week science lessons. There are 41 lessons that you could use as frequently or infrequently as you choose, and most lessons have and on-going nature where you take advantage of "teachable moments" that may not arise during the given class time. It does not cover science the way that WTM outlines, and I doubt it will ever be on the curriculum lists in that book. However, I can see it fitting in quite nicely in a classical curriculum of a different style (LCC for instance). For those interested, the book is secular.

This book won't be for everyone. It is not scripted, does not give step-by-step directions, is not "pick up and go", and very open-ended in nature. I would make an analogy of this to Spalding's The Writing Road to Reading. There is this wonderful idea of teaching, but it isn't structured in such a way that you can just pick up the book and start teaching. But, if you are wanting a sound foundation in scientific literacy and scientific thinking and are willing to "learn how to use the book" I think it is a wonderful choice.

I wanted to add, the book strongly encourages you to say "I don't know" when you don't know the answer, and doesn't expect you to be a scientist in order to teach. Saying "I don't know" gives you a chance to demonstrate how to find the answer, among other things.

#2 sagira

sagira

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5443 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 01:34 AM

Thank you, Shannon! I have a whole Science curriculum planned (by me) from 1st - 6th years, but I was nervous on how to actually teach science. I think this book can help me channel and teach my children (and myself!) how to think in a scientific, integrated way.

#3 StephanieF

StephanieF

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 884 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 04:22 AM

That is really helpful. I had this on opne of my books to order but have kept putting it off, I will go and order a copy now!
Stephanie

#4 daisychics

daisychics

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1158 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 07:41 AM

Great review Shannon!

I have an idea of how to start teaching this coming fall. Would you mind sharing how you will be attacking the lessons? er... threads?

thanks :bigear:

#5 Ann@thebeach

Ann@thebeach

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1082 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 07:59 AM

Great review, thanks for taking the time!

#6 Wildiris

Wildiris

    Board member since 2001

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1633 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 09:58 AM

I've been following your posts about teaching science. I'm glad you took the time to review this book. Would you keep us posted on your future science finds. While I am interested in science for elementary age students, I would like to hear/read your ideas on middle school science that promotes inquiry.

Wildiris


#7 Country Girl

Country Girl

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1404 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 10:08 AM

I really appreciate the time you took to review this. I ordered a copy a few weeks ago and it is finally shipping. It should be here sometime this week.:hurray: I can't wait, it sounds like it will be good.

Thanks!

#8 Jen500

Jen500

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4240 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 10:38 AM

Shannon, thank you for the review! What age range would you say the book is applicable for?

#9 Parabola

Parabola

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 729 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 10:45 AM

Shannon, thank you for the review! What age range would you say the book is applicable for?


This one is K - 3, but he's got further levels to be published. I can't wait to start this book, I'm waiting until NEXT fall though so that all my kids will be old enough to benefit from it.

Looking forward to hearing how users implement the threads, and their experiences with it.

Thanks Targhee.

#10 Targhee

Targhee

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1175 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 04:09 PM

Great review Shannon!

I have an idea of how to start teaching this coming fall. Would you mind sharing how you will be attacking the lessons? er... threads?

thanks :bigear:


I've got science scheduled 2-3 times a week next year (Tues/Thurs and then our Friday is reserved for field trips and projects in any subject). A good bulk of our science will be extra-curriculuar - things like nature walks, trips to the beach, catching bugs, gardening, museums, the zoo, books, and following the lead and interests of my children. Every third week (or as the "teachable moment" arises) we will do a lesson from BFSU.

As far as what order to tackle the lessons, I am planning a flexible schedule along the flow chart, but will alter it when interests and questions take us in a different direction. What I do know so far is that I will start with A/B-1, will save B-4, B-4a, B-4B, B-5 for spring, and will probably cover a maximum of 15 lessons in the year. One lesson could take several sessions/days, however. For example, A-5A on Magnets and Magnetic Fields would take about 275 minutes (according to the book), which is over 4.5 hours. I would spread something like this out over at least three sessions.

I plan to follow a general pattern for lessons as suggested in the book:
1st) take advantage of (or create) a teachable moment or have a "show and tell" type session,
2nd) activities from book (guided exploration, demonstration, exploration, etc.)
3rd) interpretive discussion/QandA,
4th) reading correlated book(s) or research into follow-up/higher level topics as interested

I think after completing a group of closely related lessons (like Solids/Liquids/Gases, Air is a Substance, and Matter I: it's particulate nature) I will have the kids complete a project of some kind to demonstrate comprehension. You know like a poster, a presentation, a demonstration, or maybe even do a lapbook and have them show or teach their cousins/grandma/neighbor/etc.

I have just joined the K5Science yahoo group (awaiting approval, but Dr. Nebel just posted he is out of town so it may be a few days before I can post) and am hoping for more suggestions and ideas about the logistics of implementing the book. I'm excited about it - it seems like just the right thing for us right now, and in just the right amount. Check science off the curriculum choices list, now about the rest of my list... :rolleyes:

#11 mom2moon2

mom2moon2

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 759 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 05:21 PM

II too got Nebel's newest book a couple of weeks ago, and I like what I saw.

I think this is the best science curriculum I've ever seen. Here's my short review:

Nebel is a unique science book because it differs philosophically from most science curricula I know which I believe makes this book far more superior compared to other curricula. Basically, the strength of this book is the insistence of teaching science on conceptual level, even at early age, so at the end, the students can think scientifically and understand every phenomenon happening on the earth and space.

THat's why it's against teaching only one branch of science per year like what the WTM and other classical curricula suggest ,because science is interrelated. He thinks, a better approach for teaching science is to identify the basic of science across the branch and teach them first (and concurrently). The next lesson is then built upon previous knowledge, and they're not necessarily totally biology, totally physics, etc. It could be a combination of a few branch of science, or is only relevant to one branch of science. Regardless, children should be able to apply the general principle of nature (previously studied) to explain different kinds of natural phenomenon in the subsequent lesson, like: how our body works, what causes this or that kind of weather, etc,
\
This is the beauty of this approach, because then the child will be able to think the relationship of different branch of science and apply the basic onto the application properly. E.g. when studying about earth and , the student will be able to draw the reason of why for example, atmosphere is not lost into the space, or why is that astronaut needs to wear that kind of uniform, based not only on the knowledge gained on that lesson , but also based on previous lesson about gravity and pressure.

In short, I would say that this book is " Right Start " or "Singapore" of science because like RightStart Math and Singapore Math, it stresses scientific concept over rote memorization of scientific fact (I hope my sentence make sense, LOL).


HE's also against spending time on useless hands on projects which do not enhance knowledge. He called them time waster. E.g. he observed sometimes teacher give hands on projects like building a city on social study lesson, but it's actually just a waste of time, if the teacher doesn't include more valuable stuff to get more out of the lesson, such as: how the water flows in the city, the city waste, etc. So his hands on projects are not the most creative, but they're right on purpose and simple. (okay, for this point ... I stole from Nebel's previous book: tapestry of learning, I think).


Instead of doing too much projects or hands on activities which do not contribute much to student's level of understanding, Nebel suggests the students to understand science by exploring and observing the surrounding. For this reason, Nebel wants the child to have a kind of journal for observing the nature, like weather journal. So I guess it also mesh very well with the Charlotte Mason approach on studying nature and geography.

Finally, like the other poster said, it contains 41 lesson, and the book has the flow chart to show which one has to be done first and concurrently. The 41 lesson do not correspond to 41 weeks. IT's more like 41 topic or chapter,a nd you can expand it as long as you can. So it's very flexible. It's not for people who want to pick and go though. It's more a guide on how to live your life scientifically (okay ... I don't know how to explain it, I hope you understand).


I recommend you to invest in this. Really, this is one of the best purchase I've ever done.

Dian

#12 Targhee

Targhee

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1175 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 05:30 PM

Would you keep us posted on your future science finds. While I am interested in science for elementary age students, I would like to hear/read your ideas on middle school science that promotes inquiry.

Wildiris


I haven't done a lot of research (yet) for middle-level science. Although I taught middle-level sciences (7th and 9th grades), the classroom setting is "different" (read "worse") than the homeschool setting. Also, I was not able to choose my curriculum - the district chose it for me. :thumbdown:

So, I can't comment on curricula. But as far as implementation goes, I found Learning Cycles to be very effective, and conducive to constructivist learning (and they reflect the active pursuit of understanding done by working scientists). Learning Cycles are just one method of inquiry science. A learning cycle has three phases: orientation and planning phase, exploration phase, and concept invention phase. They are actually very similar to the philosophy in Nebel's book, only there is a greater expectation of the student to come up with ideas, use skills (measuring, diagramming, math, etc.) and the teacher's role in the last phase is a little more removed than in Nebel's strategies for younger children.

Check out this preview on Google books, pages 5-6 give a brief outline of a learning cycle. As I come across good curricular examples I'll be happy to share.

Another great way to present material is using trade books, especially picture books. Even highschool age students will humor you for a picture book.

#13 Targhee

Targhee

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1175 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 05:43 PM

Basically, Nebel is a big proponent of students studying science by exploring and observing the surrounding.

But what I love the most from NEbel's book (and I believe this is the strength of Nebel's method and makes this book superior ) is the insistence of teaching science on conceptual level, even at early age, so at the end, the students can think scientifically and understand every phenomenon happening on the earth and space.

THat's why it's against teaching only one branch of science per year like what the WTM and other classical curricula suggest ,because science is interrelated.

HE's also against spending time on useless hands on projects which do not enhance knowledge. He called them time waster. E.g. he observed sometimes teacher give hands on projects like building a city on social study lesson, but it's actually just a waste of time, if the teacher doesn't include more valuable stuff to get more out of the lesson, such as: how the water flows in the city, the city waste, etc. So his hands on projects are not the most creative, but they're right on purpose and simple.

I recommend you to invest in this. Really, this is one of the best purchase I've ever done.

Dian


Very well said, Dian. So, have you started teaching with this yet? What are you doing/what is your plan for implementation? I'd love to hear more...

#14 Targhee

Targhee

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1175 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 07:33 PM

First of all - I am sorry, I am not trying to monopolize this thread! I just am excited and keep thinking of things and now I've found something I thought would be helpful. This is from the K5Science yahoo group, written by Dr. Nebel as a response to someone asking how to implement BFSU. The post was longer, but this part in particular I thought would be helpful here.

"A final point is the idea of sitting your children down at a given time in a given place for a specific lesson. With formal education this is a necessity, but go back a few generations to before the advent of widespread formal education. Kids worked along with their fathers and mothers and learned in a hands-on-continuing-discussion way the hows and whys of what needed to be done. Now, science is entwined with everything we do or experience. Therefore, think about how a given lesson relates/applies to various aspects of your everyday life, and through discussion, guide your children in seeing such connections. (Actually, I have had many parents report that they are blown away by their kids making such connections and coming out with them by themselves. When this occurs it shows that the lesson has really "taken root.") You will find suggestions for making such connections in the "Questions/Discussion/Activities..." and "To Parents..." sections of each lesson."



#15 mom2moon2

mom2moon2

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 759 posts

Posted 14 July 2008 - 07:59 PM

Yes, but not only that. He also said something about using something the kids familiar with as a 'peg' when introducing a lesson. Without a peg, a lesson will 'fall down'.

As a five in a row user, I'm familiar with using 'something' as a peg for various discussion. In my case (as a fiar user), we use the book as a springboard for discussion. My kids retain info a lot this way.

I would imagine, I may be able to also use some of the FIAR lesson or our other reading book as a peg when doing Nebel science.

Interestingly, he also suggests narration. Well, he didn't say narration. But he said: 'telling in his own words' which equals narration.

The tapestry of learning book by Nebel is similar to BFSU, but it encompasses all aspects of K-5 education. While it contains wealth of ideas, it's also a bit more difficult to implement, because it doesn't have any lesson plan whatsoever. But at least, I can always get a glimpse of his ideas in teaching other subjects. And really, his idea, along with that of Charlotte Mason, are the ones which are on top of my list. They're simple, no-nonsense, enjoyable, yet effective and thorough.

Dian

#16 kellycbr

kellycbr

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 475 posts

Posted 15 July 2008 - 10:25 AM

I bought both of Dr. Nebel's books, and while I agree with his way of teaching, and would like to use his science curr., I'm a bit intimidated. I've flipped through it, and now I'm just staring at it wondering if I can realistically pull this off. You're all getting me excited again, and I'd like the ideas to keep coming. :lurk5:

#17 StephanieF

StephanieF

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 884 posts

Posted 15 July 2008 - 10:48 AM

Have you a link to the yahoo group? I'm waiting for amazon to deliver my book
Thanks!
Stephanie

#18 Targhee

Targhee

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1175 posts

Posted 15 July 2008 - 11:00 AM

Have you a link to the yahoo group? I'm waiting for amazon to deliver my book
Thanks!
Stephanie


http://groups.yahoo....roup/K5science/

The group doesn't have much there yet, but I imagine that is due to the newness of the book.

#19 mom2moon2

mom2moon2

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 759 posts

Posted 15 July 2008 - 11:46 AM

Hi All,
Here's my planning on using BFSU year 1 (for 1st grade or K).

----------------
NOTE:
Although BFSU is written for K-2, but I'm going to use it for 1-3 since I just got it a few weeks ago. Either way, the way I schedule it is to sort of divide it into 3 years so it can be used either K-2 or 1st-3rd.

Please bear in mind that to me (my interpretation), there are two kinds of lessons in BFSU :
- those which are appropriate for formal lessons
- those which are best to be done via ongoing projects or observation.

There are several ongoing projects with BFSU in my list:
- yearly weather journal which will come handy when you discuss D5 (about season).
- nature journal which we plan to do weekly and is required for B 5 (on identifying natural things), and will help a lot on B4B and B2 (classification). It'll also come handy when we talk about 'adaptation' on B5.
- life cycle observation which is required for B4. Probably I will have to pick three or four species a year (not sure yet) We will definitely have to do insect, butterfly, and frog. May be I'll also get my children to record what happen with the flowers and trees in our yard.
- ecosystem observation for D4. May be I'll combine this with nature walk. We may also get a variety of books about different ecosystem on year 2.

This leaves you with a bunch of lesson which you can do during school time. My school year is 40 weeks, so this plan is for a 40 week school year. You can of course expand or contract as you like to fit yours.

Here is what in my list for formal lesson for year 1 - to be done once a week:
(NOTE: Although I do once a week formal lesson, in reality I do much more because I also schedule:
- once a week nature walk combined with ecosystem observation.
- daily weather observation
- daily life cycle observation when we do this project
- incorporate teachable moment for ongoing conversation about science
- once a week read aloud on nature story. For first year, I'll use Burgess Animal Stories
- gardening)

A1/B1: optional. We're not going to do this because my son knows how to classify things. BUt if your kid is in K, then you might want to do the exercise.

1. A2 part 1 (solid, air, water).
2. A3 part 1 : property of air --> occupy space.
3. A3 part 1: property of air --> has weight.
(you can do A2 state of matter after this if you like, but I go straight to D1 on week 4 so that it can connect nicely to our columbus lesson in US history)
----
4. D1 part 1: gravity
5. D1 part 2: gravity
6. D1 part 3: gravity
7. D3 part 1: drawing map of a house or a room.
8. D3 part 2: reading map on a globe, also incorporate N, S, E, W (just tell the child the direction of N, S, E, W at this point).
9. D3: more practice on following the map (gather your own material for this) --> then you can always do more practice when opportunity arises, e.g. during hiking,e tc.
10. D2: day and night lesson. Also, study night and day each day of the week by observing the shadow length.
11. D3A part 1: direction of rising sun, NSEW, how to seek direction naturally.
12. D3A part 1: talk about how to seek direction using compass. Practice using compass.
13. D3 part 2: translating globe into flat map.
-------
14. C1 part 1: energy.
15. C1 part 2: energy
16. C1 part 3: energy.
17. C3 : examples of kinetic and potential energy.
18. C3: principle of kinetic and potential energy.
-----------
19. B3: distinction of animal vs plant part 1 (classification of animal vs plant kingdom and where does animal get the energy from?).
20 B3 : where does plant get the energy from. Discussion and proceed with light experiment.
21. B3: enrichment material on plant photosynthesis and plant observation.
22. B3: wrapping up: plants make food, animals consume food, but both need water. Discussion.
--------------
23. A2: state of matter, enriched with various expt.
24. A2: state of matter, enriched with various expt.
25. A4: matter consists of particulate part 1.
25. A4: matter consists of particulate part 2.
26. A6: matter II airpressure, etc part 1.
27-30: A6 part 2-5.
31: A8 : matter III: evaporation and condensation part 1.
32. A8: matter III: evaporation and condensation part 2.
-------
33. C2: sound vibration energy part 1.
34. C2: sound vibrartion energy part 1.
35. C2: sound vibration energy part 2 (transmission).
36 & 37: as week 35.
38. C4: difference of matter and energy: principle of energy (part 1).
39. C4: difference of matter and energy: principle of matter (part 2).

Other chapters which are done through projects and observation:
- nature walk + ecosystem observ: D5, B2, B4A, B4B, also helps with B5.
- weather journal: helps with D5 (next year).
- life cycle observation: B4

Hope this helps.

Dian

#20 mom2moon2

mom2moon2

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 759 posts

Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:11 PM

This is my tentative schedule as I went through my BFSU. The plan is for 40 weeks worth. They're not very detailed though, but here's you have it:

YEAR 2:

I'm planning to do roughly the same stuff as first year, but we will focus our read aloud to ecosystem book, e.g. Clara Dillingham among the ______ people, and other books which talk about each ecosystem --> required for D4.

Once a week formal lesson as follows:

D5: time and earth turning (3 session).
D6: seasonal changes and the earth's orbit (4 session).

---------------
B4: life cycle lesson : wrapping up what we've done so far, and possibly adding some more life cycle lesson of a few animals. May be an extra 4 lesson on this (?)
B4B: classification: wrapping up what we've done so far, and do 1 lesson on how scientist classify things.
B5: food chains and adaptation.
--> food chains: 2 lesson.
--> choose 5 types of animals and plants to demonstrate adaptation.
--> wrapping up: 1 lesson to show interdependency of animal and plant.
-----------------
A5: distinguishing material(3 session).
A5A : magnet (3-session).
A9: dissolve, solution, crystallization.
--> I'll enrich this a lot and provides the molecular basis of chem. reaction. May be, instead of using lesson A9, I'll do RS4K chemistry pre level I, which means that this chapter will consist of 10 lesson. I'm not sure whether Rs4K covers criystallization. But if not, then I'll find other book to read, plus doing crystallization project.
A7: air is a mixture
- air is a mixture - drawing on the definition of mixture from A9.
- 2 lesson on burning - drawing on the definition of mixture vs chem. reaction from A9


YEAR 3.

AS year 1 and 2, but will do some read aloud on plant's life in addition to ecosystem read aloud.

Lesson plans:
C5: inertia 2 lesson
C6: friction 4 lesson.
C7 : forces 1 lesson
-----------
D7: gravity II (3 lesson)
----------

After this, watch the season. When appropriate, do the plant lesson (B10-12). In TX, by this time, it should be appropriate to start the plant expt. If in your area plant expt is not appropriate at this time of the year, then postpone and do A10 & D8 instead:
A10: rock, mineral, etc: 4 lesson.
D8: fossil and rock: 5 lesson

PLANT SCIENCE: 12 wks, including 2 FREE weeks for B12 part 2 expt.

B10: basic plant structure (5 lesson).
B11: 1 lesson on seed, followed by 2 weeks worth of exp and observation.
While recording the expt for B11, do B12: part 1 (1 lesson) and part 3 (erosion, 1 lesson). Based on result of expt B11, conduct expt B12 part 2 on effects of water and soil on seedling growth for the next 2 weeks. Then wrap it up with 1 lesson.
TOTAL # of lesson req-ed for B10-12 including expt: 12 wks, with 2 FREE weeks (because they're used for recording the B12 part 2 expt). Use these 2 FREE weeks for starting off animal and human science (B6 - 2 lesson)


-------------------------

Once finish with B12 and B6, move to B7 :
B7: 2 lesson for vertebrates, 2 lesson for arthropods, 1 lesson for molluscs.
B8: nervous system 1 lesson.
B9: 4 lesson.

------------------
A10: rock, mineral, etc: 4 lesson.
D8: fossil and rock: 4 lesson

Hope this helps.
Dian

#21 Targhee

Targhee

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1175 posts

Posted 15 July 2008 - 10:10 PM

Thank you so much, Dian! So many great elements to your posts - lesson order, weekly things to be done, lessons with long-term projects/study... this is very helpful to me. :hurray:

#22 Jumping In Puddles

Jumping In Puddles

    Empress Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2899 posts

Posted 16 July 2008 - 10:22 AM

I bought this book after a lot of research because my son loves science, not only nature study, and is always asking for more than just read alouds and taking a walk in the woods if you KWIM.

The positive points of the book have been already mentioned and I appreciate the people who are scientists on this board validating it.

One big negative for me is I feel like the book could be organized better. Maybe after the flow chart show some sample paths like mom2moon did.

I don't know, maybe a publisher/editor that pushed for more clarity?

It's almost like the author has all the right ideas but can't quite get it down on paper so others can duplicate it without a lot of help, if that makes sense.

For example: Dian had to read every one of the 41 lessons to come up with a plan. Now, her kids will reap the benefits of that but she had to make the connections between lessons herself which may have been easy being that she is a scientist.

I am no scientist and I can't easily see the connections in the lessons and a blurb telling me teach with D2 or C3 or whatever doesn't really help me - it aggravates me.

If I'm out in the yard and my kids find something, am I suppose to remember there was a teachable moment in one of the lessons and that's where I should go?

To see these connections and teachable moments means you have to be beyond familiar with each and every lesson from grades K-2 to get the most out of it and the reality is that not everyone has the time or inclination, and frankly the insight and, therefore, the quality of lessons from family to family will be different. KWIM?

Bottom line is that I like the content, I like the lessons and more importantly I think my kids will like it but we won't be getting the most out of it because I can't organize the lessons the thoughtful manner that the author is assuming I will.

If this book was reorganized in a way that was more accessible, I predict that it would be the science program for the elementary years that tops all the others by far.

EDITED to add: Nebel himself, in the book says that you can't just pick a lesson out of the book to do it. Each lesson builds from the other lessons, there is some leeway but don't just pick a random lesson. The lessons are meant to be done "in tandem" which according to my dictionary says "along side each other or one behind the other". Honestly, I feel stupid for saying this, but I don't really know what he means. Should I do each lesson, one behind the other, or should I be doing each lesson along side another lesson?



#23 mom2moon2

mom2moon2

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 759 posts

Posted 16 July 2008 - 12:07 PM

I was also struggling with the word 'tandem'. If I only wanted to devote one day per week for 'formal science', then how can I do those in tandem, without leaving each topic for too long ?

So I settled with doing things sequentially, starting with the one which has NO prerequisite. Turns out that the chemistry (nature of matter) is the one which should be done first as you can see in my schedule.

Another way to do stuff tandemly is to treat chapters which lend itself to observation/exploration as ongoing. So in essence, you do these lessons (like B4 - life cycle, D4 - biomes, etc) in tandem with other lessons which are more appropriate to be assigned as formal lesson, KWIM ?

And I must agree with you that while NEbel's science is good in concept, it is very intimidating. A bit like Spalding methods, I suppose. Both SWR and WRTR are excellent. But they need teachers to really understand the subject. That's why they have SWR training. Marie Rippel, creator of All About Spelling, took Spalding approach to spelling, and turned the hard-to-use program into an easy ones.

Somebody or Nebel should go further with his concept and turn this goldmine into something that most HS mom will eager to use.

In my mind, though, may be this book can be turned into a science course with these components:
1. Text book for children with scope and sequence like what I've outlined. The textbook should be narrative in nature and easy to understand, with nice illustration. Much like RS4K or apologia (?).
2. Experiment book with lab book for both demonstration (to cement the facts), and for real experiment (to guide children to use what they've already learned).
3. Scheduled ongoing projects for recording natural phenomenon, observation of lifecycles, biomes, etc. In order to do these activities, these following notebooks/journal should be included: weather notebook, nature notebook for species identification, lifecycle notebook, and "adopt-a-animal/plant/biome" notebook to note the changes of animal/plant/biome condition throughout the season
4. Scheduled read aloud books to enhance the current lesson, or to prepare for future lessons, which can be a combination of narrative book and science picture book. this should be ongoing. .
5. HAndbook of nature study.
6Teacher guide to explain all those and also contains: schedule, discussion questions and a list of possible teachable moment, e.g. teachable moment at the yard, teachable moment at the kitchen, teachable moment at the car, etc.

In addition, Nebel suggests making little booklets (for early elementary students) after each lesson to cement the facts. He said, "If a child can illustrate what he learned, then he must have internalized it." If making little booklets was too much, may be we can just use narration after each lesson to see what s/he understands.

Dian

#24 sagira

sagira

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5443 posts

Posted 16 July 2008 - 12:20 PM

I'll be using Nebel's Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding in conjunction with Comstock's Handbook of Nature Studies. I had a whole nature curriculum planned already, but basically it was read-alouds, nature walks and nature journaling. I wanted something with a bit more substance and I think Nebel will offer me that in that I can use an approach, a philosophy rather than a rigid method. However, I do know many hs moms would like more structure than what he offers. We, on the other hand, thrive on the flexibility part of it.

#25 Jumping In Puddles

Jumping In Puddles

    Empress Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2899 posts

Posted 16 July 2008 - 01:00 PM

Somebody or Nebel should go further with his concept and turn this goldmine into something that most HS mom will eager to use.

In my mind, though, may be this book can be turned into a science course with these components:
<snip>

Dian


Yes! Your science course components are spot on too.

I wonder if part of the problem is that this is a self published book. Even in the intro pages where there was a lot of good info, I felt it could've been tighter. I think your science course components would be a phenomenal program. The author knows how to teach, knows his subject, and knows the information he wants to get across and I think he needs to do some reorganizing or he needs an editor to do it.
If you are a science teacher, which very well be where this book is more appropriate, then this book will probably be a good fit.

This book won't be for everyone. It is not scripted, does not give step-by-step directions, is not "pick up and go", and very open-ended in nature. I would make an analogy of this to Spalding's The Writing Road to Reading. There is this wonderful idea of teaching, but it isn't structured in such a way that you can just pick up the book and start teaching. But, if you are wanting a sound foundation in scientific literacy and scientific thinking and are willing to "learn how to use the book" I think it is a wonderful choice.


I just wanted to add that I want to like this book, I want to take the time to learn how to use the book because I do want that sound foundation in scientific thinking. I just feel that this book has the potential to be so much more (doesn't have to be scripted or as easy as "pick up and go") if it were only organized and presented in a way that it was more accessible to the average homeschool mom. Maybe its just that this book isn't for me... I guess I'll know after I give it my best shot. :)

#26 Targhee

Targhee

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1175 posts

Posted 16 July 2008 - 07:07 PM

There isn't much on Nebel's yahoo group for BFSU (K5Science) yet, but all the comments seem to be geared towards the same issues - implementation!

What I have seen of his responses indicate to me that he doesn't want any sort of linear plan for the lessons because it would take away from the flexibility to seize teachable moments. Here is a quote about teaching threads in tandem:

What I meant by carrying on the threads more or less in tandem, is that your lessons for the year should include getting started on and moving forward with lessons in each of the threads. But, at what point you decide to shift from one thread to another and back will be up to you. Play it according to your children's interests, weather, and other opportunities. For example, these beautiful spring days are great for getting outdoors and the life science lessons (Thread B) go hand in hand with what you see and find outside. Lessons in other threads are great for indoor activities when weather is not suitable for getting out.

But I agree with you guys, that in order for this to be useable in any setting (school or homeschool or otherwise) there needs to be a little more structure. Either that or you have to totally immerse yourself in it, which isn't practical for most HSing parents.

He seems to be eager to interact with users of the book via the yahoo group. And he seems to really want feedback on the book, too, so I'm sure comments posted there will be helpful for us to get answers and him to get input.

#27 Rosie_0801

Rosie_0801

    Beekeeping Professor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 16889 posts

Posted 17 July 2008 - 12:35 AM

If I'm out in the yard and my kids find something, am I suppose to remember there was a teachable moment in one of the lessons and that's where I should go?

I think the teachable moment is when you come back to the book and say "hey, yeah, we saw one of them the other day, remember!"
:)
Rosie

#28 Jumping In Puddles

Jumping In Puddles

    Empress Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2899 posts

Posted 17 July 2008 - 09:39 PM

I think the teachable moment is when you come back to the book and say "hey, yeah, we saw one of them the other day, remember!"
:)
Rosie


Thanks, I would do this naturally so I was thinking there must be more to it! :)

#29 sagira

sagira

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5443 posts

Posted 21 July 2008 - 03:50 PM

I received it today! Wow, it looks really interesting! Every time I tried to look at the book I get interrupted by the kids though :glare:

Will do my best to curl up with it some time today or tomorrow and let you know what I glean from it (though don't expect anything as elegantly or eloquently conceived as Targhee or mom2moon2) :D

#30 Gailmegan

Gailmegan

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1116 posts

Posted 30 July 2008 - 03:32 PM

I just got the book today and popped on here to see if anyone had spelled out some lesson plans. I found this thread in a search and I greatly appreciate the input that many of you had to offer. Now I have a lot of figuring out to do.

For those who have looked at it more closely thatn I have had the opportunity to, yet: do you think it is doable in 2 years with 2/3 science sessions (an hour each) a week? I have planned my schedule to have 2 formal sessions and one activity session available on Fridays (which could go longer since it is the last part of the day). I trying to make this work for a 2nd grader and a very scientifically inclined Ker.

#31 sagira

sagira

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5443 posts

Posted 30 July 2008 - 04:51 PM

I would think so. Especially by combining elements and doing 3 times a week hour-long sessions, you could complete it in two years.

I don't have a concrete plan perse, as I like the flexibility of it. If something interests my ds, I can jump to that lesson as long as I have already built a foundation for it. And so forth. What a great book full of terrific ideas.

I'll be doing BSFU only once a week, as we're just starting K. I'll see how it goes but I see it as an unfolding process. The following year I'm adding Handbook of Nature Studies to it and will call it Natural Science.

I love the flowchart and how it doesn't lock you in. I guess for the same reasons someone can eschew this resource -- that's what makes our Hive interesting, it's composed of different types of bees :)

#32 kellycbr

kellycbr

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 475 posts

Posted 03 August 2008 - 07:19 PM

I subscribed to it so that I could find you all and ask more questions as I start my planning for next school year. Has anyone come up with a good schedule or plan for implementing this great curriculum next year? Mom2moom2, I copied your schedule out, and am hoping that will help.
Targhee, thanks for the K5Science yahoo group info. I've joined, and am impressed with Dr. Nebels involvement in the group.

Has anyone started using the program? If so, how do you like it, and what adjustments are you making to it. Thanks.

#33 annabanana1992

annabanana1992

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 624 posts

Posted 03 August 2008 - 10:09 PM

Thanks for all of the detailed info!

#34 sagira

sagira

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5443 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 03:47 PM

I'm in the process of making a semi-schedule (with flexibility), but it's not done yet :)

#35 kellycbr

kellycbr

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 475 posts

Posted 05 August 2008 - 04:31 PM

Would you mind posting your schedule when you've finished it? Thanks!

#36 sagira

sagira

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5443 posts

Posted 08 August 2008 - 10:36 AM

I have Nebel's book and here's what's included in a sample lesson. The lessons themselves are not in order perse, as Dr. Nebel believes (and I agree with him) that as questions from your dc come up or the weather permits or your family situation calls for it, you can choose one of the lessons. This doesn't mean that you can just pick and choose any lesson whenever you want like a smorgasboard, as each lesson builds upon each other. I hope I am making myself clear :tongue_smilie:

Hence, he includes a flowchart that lists the four categories of lessons. It shows the natural progression of lessons but all four categories need to happen in tandem for the child to integrate the knowledge. The four categories are Nature of Matter (basic ideas behind chemistry), life science (basic biology), physical science (basic ideas behind physics) and earth and space science.

It is all very comprehensive and I'm impressed with how each lesson builds upon the other and the student is made to see the connection in a natural way. I really like that, as I believe is it's taught in a way Charlotte Mason would have approved of.

The introductory pages guide you in how to teach the lessons, give you a philosophy and a framework, how to keep that love of learning intact and how to answer all those questions children have (and how not to). Then the lesson pages begin, each divided by category. But remember, all categories all to be done in tandem throughout the years (approx. 3 years, K-2.)

I'll tell you what each lesson includes (the headers):

Overview
Time Required
Objectives
Required Background (whatever lesson has to precede this lesson or be conducted in close proximity to each other)
Materials (to be gathered prior to the lesson)
Teachable moments (an idea that either inspires children or integrates another lesson for that "aha!" moment)
Methods and Procedures
Questions/Discussion/Activities to Review, Reinforce, Expand, and Assess Learning
To Parents and Others Providing Support
Connections to Other Topics and Follow-Up to Higher Levels
Re: National Science Education Standards (how it fulfills the requirements)
Books for Correlated Reading (supplemental books at the child's level)

I wouldn't call it "open and go" as there is some planning involved on the part of the teacher. You need to see which progression you're going to make (some people prefer having a plan based on the flowchart made ahead of time), then gather the materials and review the lesson.

#37 sagira

sagira

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5443 posts

Posted 08 August 2008 - 11:06 AM

Can change at any time as something more interesting appears or ds is interested in):

Kindergarten (each topic two weeks), weekly lessons, for 36 weeks that can run into 40 -- LOL):

1. A/B-1
2. A-2
3. A-3
4. C-1
5. B-2
6. A-4
7. A-5
8. C-2
9. D-1
10. B-3
11. B-4
12. B-4A
13. B-4B
14. B-5
15. D-3A
16. D-3
17. A-5A

There are 41 lessons in total, and I'll be doing 17 in K, 12 in First Year and 12 in Second Year. In First and Second Years I'll also be doing Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study and study of birds, trees, weather and the human body. Hence, the decrease in lessons from Dr. Nebel's lessons, but more intense I guess, and reviewing as we go along.

#38 Jumping In Puddles

Jumping In Puddles

    Empress Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2899 posts

Posted 08 August 2008 - 02:20 PM

Thanks for the info Sagira!

One thing that I did was to cut the spine off the book and get dividers for each thread and lesson to make it easier for me. I may put a little lab book together now while I have time to make it a little easier for when I am busy.

There are some interesting topics in the book and I'll report here when I have put this into action.

#39 April in NC

April in NC

    Hive Mind Level 2 Worker: Nurse Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 116 posts

Posted 08 August 2008 - 10:52 PM

Just wanted to let you all know that Suji from the Nebels Elementary Education group has posted a detailed chart-based schedule for BFSU, with info on prerequisites and coordinating lessons for each section.

Not only can you see a sample order of lessons, but also you can see why they are in the order that they are. That's especially helpful if you need to make any modifications!

It is located in the files section of the Nebel's group, which you can join here: http://groups.yahoo....ntaryeducation/

Thought this might be very helpful for some of you!

#40 mom2moon2

mom2moon2

    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 759 posts

Posted 08 August 2008 - 11:02 PM

WOW !!

It's nice that there are several sequence on BFSU. TIme to see

Dian

#41 sagira

sagira

    Amateur Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5443 posts

Posted 09 August 2008 - 07:34 AM

Gee, thanks! I'm going to go there right now.. :auto:

#42 Country Girl

Country Girl

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1404 posts

Posted 09 August 2008 - 09:21 AM

Just wanted to let you all know that Suji from the Nebels Elementary Education group has posted a detailed chart-based schedule for BFSU, with info on prerequisites and coordinating lessons for each section.

Not only can you see a sample order of lessons, but also you can see why they are in the order that they are. That's especially helpful if you need to make any modifications!

It is located in the files section of the Nebel's group, which you can join here: http://groups.yahoo....ntaryeducation/

Thought this might be very helpful for some of you!


Thanks!. This is exactly what I started to do but lost steam about 7 lessons in. It looks like what I started is pretty much the same sequence as Suji's so I'm going to go with this and save myself some work.

Thanks for posting this!:hurray:

#43 Novafan

Novafan

    Hive Mind Level 5 Worker: Forager Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 329 posts

Posted 09 August 2008 - 11:48 AM

This thread has been incredibly helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to review and discuss Nebel's book. I love the idea of dabbling in ALL of the science disciplines each year. Between the Nebel book and a big checklist of topics (from a Montessori website) I now have an idea of how we will approach science this coming year. :hurray:

#44 emmsmama

emmsmama

    Hive Mind Level 5 Worker: Forager Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 312 posts

Posted 11 August 2008 - 10:19 PM

I just purchased the book on Amazon a few days ago and am excited to receive it. Thanks to all those who have reviewed the book thus far. My children are 5.5 and 9 so dd is slightly out of the recommended level for this book but I still think she will benefit from the lessons. For $25 I didn't have much to lose :)

#45 materursa

materursa

    Hive Mind Level 4 Worker: Builder Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 259 posts

Posted 12 August 2008 - 08:04 AM

My children are 5.5 and 9 so dd is slightly out of the recommended level for this book but I still think she will benefit from the lessons.


I plan on using BFSU with my children this year, the oldest being 8. I have a few other resources I'll be adding in as well. But, I think that BFSU will give them a good foundation in understanding science and thinking in a scientific way.

The author, Nebel, wrote the following on the BFSU yahoo group about older children using this book:

Most importantly, there are many lessons in BFSU, which, while the introduction is simple enough to be mastered by 5-6-year-olds, are really open ended and can be extended to be interesting, fun, and informative for the entire family including parents. Such lesson include:

A-5 Distinguishing Materials
A-5A Magnets and magnetic fields
A-10 Rocks, Minerals, Crystals, Dirt and Soil
B-4 Life cycles
B-4A Identification of Living Things
B-5 Food Chains and Adaptations
D-3 Read and Draw Maps
D-4 Land Forms and Biomes
D-6 Seasonal Changes and the Earth’s Orbit

While I cite these lessons in particular, I have tried to make all the lessons such that they provide basic concepts that can be expanded and built upon to any extent desired. Older kids, as well as
younger ones, will be challenged and have fun finding examples of how the lesson relates to and provides an interpretation of what they see / experience in real life.



What's with the ads?