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Science recommendation for 2nd grade


miracleone
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Can someone recommend a fun science for 2nd grade?  My daughter is in 1st grade and we're just reading a bunch of books right now about different topics but have no formal science.  I need something easy to implement yet interesting for her.  She likes to have experiments.   These are the ones I am considering.  Do I have to get supplemental books and materials for these? 

 

R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey (either Life, or Earth & Space)

Elemental Science

 

Let me know your experience with them and if you can recommend something else.  Thank you.

 

 

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I tried RSO Earth and Space.  I did not like it.  Many of the activities didn't turn out so well.  There isn't much information in it.  Some of the activities are downright boring and pointless.  Stuff like track the weather for a week.  Boring...  Oh and track it using your homemade weather station that you constructed with paper plates and plastic cups.  Good luck.  LOL 

 

I used all level one of NOEO and we really liked those.  They come with a variety of books and the activities/experiments.  It was very open and go and rarely required me to prepare anything.

 

 

 

 

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I haven't tried either of those, but we used RS4K Physics this year and the kids all enjoyed it.  The only thing I didn't like about it was the cost.  It's rather pricey for what you get.  The books are wonderfully bound though, but I really do wish they'd come out with some PDF versions to save on some cost.  It would be lovely to print lab books sheets for multiple kids also.  We ended up buying a complete set of books and just having the kids use a notebook for labs.  Much cheaper that way.  :)

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I'm going to be a dissenter. My kids like RSO Life and have enjoyed RSO Chemistry even more. We supplement with books from the library and Bill Nye videos (more for fun. I don't think it is a must). We usually do 1-2 labs each week. If asked, they'd probably say it's one of their favorite subjects. My recommendation is to try their free samples on their website and see what you think. Not every curriculum is going to be a good fit for everyone.

 

I agree with everything written here.  My kids really enjoy RSO - 9 year old likes Chemistry better, 6 year old likes Life better.  Either way, though, they both love doing all of the experiments.  We have never done RSO Earth & Space, so I can not comment on that program.  I also have not tried Elemental grammar stage, so I have no opinion there.  My oldest did ES Logic stage Biology a few years ago, and it was a decent year, but my understanding is that the grammar and logic stage programs are very different.

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We've done RSO Life and some of Earth. We enjoyed both, and I consider it very open and go. I do see the program more as our spine, with plenty of demonstration and experiment ideas but not enough information to truly stand alone. But the fact that it requires supplementation doesn't bother me, especially considering that it includes a list of reccomended picture books for each unit. So if needing to round it out a bit at the library bugs you, I'd give this program a no. If you regularly go to the library anyways, it should be fine.

 

I believe Rainbow Resource has a experiment materials kit available. But everything needed in Life was either stuff I had around, or easy to pick up at the grocery store. I think the only thing I had to specially buy for Earth was the rock kit. Everything you need for the experiments is in a list at the front of the program, organized by unit. I just glanced through it the week before. The list is also on the sample, so you can see it before you make a decision.

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Elemental Science follows the method in the WTM book, it is basically a plan of how to use certain books and then includes worksheets, tests/quizzes. 

 

For 2nd grade, we did it on our own using the WTM layout.  I documented how we did Earth Science each week if you are interested:  http://www.cambridgeshireacademy.com/2012/01/earth-science-topics.html

 

We used the Usborne First Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of Our World as our spine.  It has been a few years, so not sure if all the links still work but if you click on each topic, you will see a post of what we did for that topic (books, videos, games, etc.).

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I have used both.  

 

Elemental Science is a nice, solid science program.   It pretty much gives you a lesson plan that follows the WTM recommendations.   The updated instructors guide and student notebooking pages are really nice too.  (Everything "looks" pretty and organized.)  So I had high expectations for the year.   HOWEVER---I found their program to be really dry.   My science loving kid went from loving science to just 'doing it to get it over with'.   I also give the experiment books they use as their 'spines' a big thumbs down too.   We had so many experiments that didn't work....so science always felt like a huge let down for us.  The kids would get so excited, and always left science feeling so disappointed. 

 

We are now using RSO science and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.  I can't say enough good things about it.   The experiments not only work, but they are actually educational and teach REAL science.   I am also pleasantly surprised to see that the program is really meaty.   I feel like they get to a lot more depth than most science programs out there for this age range.   (We loved the mineral identification labs in RSOs earth and space program.  They were awesome.)  

 

One potential CON of RSO is that you will need to be prepared to supplement the program with lots of outside reading.  (At least I feel it needs to be supplemented.)   However, I don't consider this a con because I want a program based around lots of wonderful, living science books.   (I do NOT like canned textbook science programs.)   And I liked being able to pick the specific books we read about science.  But more reading is what fleshes out the program.   The good news is that RSO has a really good book list to go with the program at the beginning of the guide.  (You can see this in the free sample online.)   What I did was go through this list and pick out two readings per week to go with our science labs.  (We do 2 days of science reading, 2 days of history reading, and 1 day of projects/labs.)   We read lots of those "Lets read and find out books" and some others.  It has been a great year of science for us.  (And I am writing this in February, so that is saying something!) 

 

ETA:  If you aren't the type who can make it to the library every week, you may want to put together a short list of science titles you wouldn't mind owning if you can afford it.   It is SO nice just having all of the books around the house so you don't have any excuses to not read to your kids.  I know that is not in everyone's budget, but when I have the money, I would rather buy books over curriculum anyday!  They are a high priority for our family.  

 

We purchased a lot of the books for our RSO year used on amazon for a penny.  I'm also a big fan of the two Let's Read and Find Out "packs" on rainbow resource.  They discount the books if you buy them in a package.   Here is their Earth Science package and here is their space package  and here is their weather package

They compliment the RSO Earth and Space program nicely. 

 

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I really liked the simplicity of the WTM recommendations in grammar stage. We added plenty of extra books. It was predictable and effective. :)

 

My DD who will be starting second grade this fall has also only read random books for science this year. I have yet to find an elementary science I care much for, and this let's us change gears with their interests, which keeps them more engaged. DD/newly 7yo is going to do American history with the American Girl books and extras for second grade. There's a smattering of science related topics in each of them that we'll just flesh out for her with extra books, projects, etc. I'm not going to add anything above that.

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Gail Gibbons books are also very good. A lot of hers that go with earth science are out-of-print, though. I read some of them to DD for free via OpenLibrary.org. Also, Anne Rockwell is another author to look up. Her books tend to run on the younger side, but not all. Just depends. "I Can Read About..." is another series similar to the "Let's Read and Find Out" books. They are out-of-print, but are easy to come by used.

 

They look like this...

51H0U6DBvoL._AA160_.jpg 51JS%2BU06gyL._AA160_.jpg

 

 

We purchased a lot of the books for our RSO year used on amazon for a penny.  I'm also a big fan of the two Let's Read and Find Out "packs" on rainbow resource.  They discount the books if you buy them in a package.   Here is their Earth Science package and here is their space package  and here is their weather package

They compliment the RSO Earth and Space program nicely. 

 

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Has anyone tried Nancy Larson Science? Thanks.

I use NL Science. You can message me with questions. I'm really happy with it though.

I just bought RS4K Geology to do this summer. It looks fun and easy to use (and colorful).

We tried Elemental Biology but it was so boring! Yawn! It would have taken way too much work to spice up and add more details for my kids.

I've never tried RSO because there was not much reading and there were so many labs! Too many for this lazy momma!

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Thank you so much for your input.  Is there anyone out there who have used the Nancy Larson Science?  I just read about it recently and am curious if it's a great program compared to RSO.  I am narrowing my choices now to those two.  Thank you!

 

We tried NL Science with another family.  The other mom really liked it (it does have a lot of good information and is well organized), I did not.  It was too scripted for me.  My kids tolerated it but asked if we could switch to another program when we were done as they thought it was boring. 

 

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Next year I am planning to use Mr. Q Life Science with my first grader (and K4 tag along).

 

I considered RSO, but 1) Mr. Q aligns better with the four year science/history cycle which appeals to me and 2) Mr. Q Life Science is free so there is really nothing to lose.

 

(Taking into account that I have never actually used Mr. Q...) I find the Mr. Q textbook conversational, engaging and meaty.  I love that it will not require supplementing because I do not think I will have much extra planning time next year to gather additional books.  I like that Mr. Q is easily tweakable.  He includes several labs/experiments/activities to go with each unit, but they are not integral to the curriculum and I can skip some of them if necessary.  He also includes paper and pencil activities (vocab matches, cross words, etc) with each unit, but again I will pick and choose what we use.  Lastly, I like that Mr. Q really focuses on getting students performing real experiments.  He teaches about dependent and independent variables and how to formulate a testable hypothesis and then run an experiment to test it (and chart and graph the results).

 

Wendy

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We used Mr Q this year and have really enjoyed it.  I really like that it is a three day program that can almost always be done in one day ( a few experiments take a few days).  We skip any experiments that we don't like (or that I am too lazy to get the materials together for) and have learned a lot this year.

 

Corey

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