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After having looked at just about every science curriculum out there, and having read many threads here about unschooling science in the younger years, I've decided to do without a curriculum. Books should be easy to access; I'm fortunate to have a very good library. DD loved the Magic School Bus kits, but we're pretty well through those. What would you want for hands-on exploration for K-6?

 

What I've thought of:

 

- Lego Education kits

- Zometool

- Snap Circuits

- microscope

- chemistry set (anyone have a good one to recommend?)

 

What else would be fun, educational, and encourage exploration?

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With the exception of chemistry, most concepts can be studied outside in nature. These are just off the top of my head. If you want more for a specific area, I'm happy to put more thought into it.

Biology

Botany -
make a garden,
do a survey over 2 months of all the mushrooms in the woods,
Do a mushroom print
grow a seed in plastic bottle so you can see the roots

Zoology
survey insects
Make an ant farm
Visit the rocky intertidal and look for sea creatures
Get a bird list and see how many you can find
watch how bees pollinate

Genetics
Do a genetic chart of your extended family

Microbiology
Get a microscope and learn to use it
Get samples from local streams and learn how to measure little creatures
Learn how to categorize and identify little creatures and plants

Human body
Compare heart rates between people, or within yourself depending on exercise
Compare reflex speed, or distance you can throw
Study your sleep patterns
Get a skeleton and try to figure out what each bone does

Earth Science

Astronomy
star gazing
chart the moon cycles, try to tell the time based on the phase of the moon and its location in the sky
Chart the sun over 6 months

Geology
Find rocks and identify them
Look at road cuts and look at soil strata
Get a book out of the library and visit all the interesting rock formations in your area
Go to a volcanic site

Meteorology
Study weather maps
Make your own set of weather measurement gear (wind, rain, pressure) and chart daily weather
learn how to predict rain using clouds

Oceanography
Go to the ocean and study how the waves break on the sand
Visit dunes
Study tide charts and chart tides in your area

Physics (running out of time, but will get back to this)
Make homemade kite and study how you can adjust it to improve its flight
Measure who has the grippiest shoes using a spring scale
Video tape a ball in projectile motion, slow it down with software and compare it to textbook
Go to many locations and compare echos, why do they vary?
Look at how light reflects and refracts
Play with magnets

Ack... Chemistry is next. Will come back.


HTH,

Ruth in NZ

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It is very possible that I'm not understanding TOPS. It looks like a pretty straightforward unit study curriculum. What am I missing?

 

Ruth, thanks so much for that list! My own science education is pretty minimal, so it also gives me some great ideas for educating myself as I help my daughter explore. I look forward to a chemistry list!

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is very possible that I'm not understanding TOPS. It looks like a pretty straightforward unit study curriculum. What am I missing?

 

 

It's more "science center" oriented, where the kids can move around and explore the centers that interest them without following a rigid scope and sequence.  It may be too "schoolish" for you, but lots of folks like the "directed exploration with lots of flexibility" rather than "total unschooling."   As with all random internet advice, you can take it or leave it.

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