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How can I beef up our science studies? (Apologia question)


seewah
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We are currently using Apologia Astronomy for science ... but I feel like we are falling short. We read the text, I ask the questions at the end of each section, the kids narrate back to me what they have heard and we are also working to compile an astronomy notebook from wonderful lapbooking materials I downloaded through a Yahoo group. It sounds like we are doing what we need to do, but I feel like I am falling short for my 5th grader. He is not really into all the cutting and pasting for the notebook. We are not doing any tests. He is an avid reader and has told me several times that he is not really learning much at all because he has read it all before (he has several astronomy books that he has read numerous times).

 

So, do I look for a more rigorous science curriculum for him? If so, do you have any suggestions?

 

Thanks so much for your help! :)

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That's the easiest one in that series, IMO. I'd speed him up through it and move onto Zoology I or Botany.

 

As much as I love the Jeannie Fulbright series, they haven't been enough for my oldest either. I beef them up for him, and my youngers (4th and 1st) stay at the intended pace. My oldest does a lesson/chapter a week, split between two days. I don't have him do any of the crafty stuff unless he wants to, but he does do the notebooking assignments and most of the experiments. I also have him outline each chapter rather than narrating it to me. Then it's fleshed out further with a trip to the library (often one of those books can generate a written summary assignment). :)

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I just brought my 5th grader home from public school this year and she's hated science through most of her elementary years. Her chief complaint has been that they keep doing the same thing year after year (water cycle...blah, blah, blah) and that she was sick of science worksheets. I'm a former high school science teacher so I really fretted over what to do with her, but decided my main goal was to hopefully get her liking science again. Finally I settled on the text the school was using (Scott Foresman Diamond Edition) and I have her watch the Bill Nye the Science Guy DVD's in place of reading/lecture/answering questions since I discovered that he's typically covered about 80-90% of the chapter content. I supplement and/or substitute for some of the experiments so she's doing several a week, plus I bring in interesting news stories, DVD's, clips from How Stuff Works, etc.

 

This wasn't quite how I envisioned teaching science but she's loving Bill Nye so I've decided to let him continue to be the guest lecturer ;) and she's learning more and all the way around is a much happier camper. I do like the textbook although the one thing I'd probably do differently is check out the 6th grade level as it would be a little more challenging.

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My 5th & 7th graders are finishing up Sonlight 4 science, which I really like, but it is rather "light" for them at this point.

 

Since I don't want to skip the rest of SL4 (they really like it and I think it is quality stuff), I decided to add a second science topic to our studies.

 

What I'm doing is using Joy Hakim's Story of Science (vol 1 -- Aristotle) along with the teachers guide and student guide. This dovetails nicely with our history as we're doing ancient-middle ages this year. So, we read about a chapter each week and every two weeks I use the teachers guide and student guide to put together an activity/experiment period for 2 hours (we do include other kids in this -- 6 kids total from 3 families). It is going very well and I never get all I want to do done in 2 hours, so you could easily flesh it out more if you wanted to with additional activities/experiments.

 

Anyway, that is what I came up with for intensifying our science without abandoning the easier curriculum. I just added a second unrelated topic to our schedule. . . You could do that with just about anything. FWIW, I love TOPS books and I do like the Sonlight Science as it is well laid out and includes experiments, etc. (including TOPS). You might see if there is a TOPS book that dovetails with the astronomy topic if that is what is interesting at this time.

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We are currently using Apologia Astronomy for science ... but I feel like we are falling short. We read the text, I ask the questions at the end of each section, the kids narrate back to me what they have heard and we are also working to compile an astronomy notebook from wonderful lapbooking materials I downloaded through a Yahoo group...He is not really into all the cutting and pasting for the notebook. We are not doing any tests. He is an avid reader and has told me several times that he is not really learning much at all because he has read it all before (he has several astronomy books that he has read numerous times).

 

So, do I look for a more rigorous science curriculum for him? If so, do you have any suggestions?

 

Thanks so much for your help! :)

It sounds like he needs to do the science, not just read about it.

 

Have you seen this thread? It is full of ideas on science.

 

The best information I found in it was regarding inquiry based science. It is something you might want to consider. I purchased a few of the recommended books & have been reading avidly since they arrived yesterday. We are definitely moving away from the teacher based science methodology (as fast as we can!). My very elementary understanding of this methodology is that it mirrors the way scientists really work, by asking questions and the researching or experimenting until they arrive at the answers. In our cases, the scientists are the students. As teachers, we provide a scaffold for them to use to do science (not learn science, but to do it). The teacher provide resources, materials and a bit of inspiration and the students take it from there. I have a few of the books recommended in the thread, but Nurturing Inquiry is the one that I am currently reading. I haven't had time to get to the others.

 

It is the best book on teaching science that I have ever read!

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Have you looked at Noeo Science? I also have a 5th grader. We are using the Noeo Physics 2. It's a Charlotte Mason style with narrations, plus lots of experiments. Their chemistry 2 and 3 will be our choice(I also have a 3rd grader) next year, then perhaps we'll move into Aplogia. Google Noeo to check out their curriculum. They use living books.

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