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bnwhitaker

Is there a good Earth Science/ Astronomy Curriculum for 7th - 8th grade?

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My son is very interested in Geology or Astronomy and Im kicking around the idea of him doing some kind of science 

in this area next year.  He will be in 7th.

 

Have any ideas??

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Novare has an earth science curriculum which I am planning for next year. We really liked their physical science book that my son did this year. We'll see how the Earth Science one goes. I don't think there is any astronomy in it. 

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We used Elemental Science for Astronomy/Earth Science this past year. It wasn't The Greatest Thing Ever! but it was fine. DD enjoyed it.

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For 7th grade for DS#2, we made our own Earth Science using Reader's Digest How Earth Works as a "spine", and then dug deeper on the topics from that by adding a ton of great resources, books, websites, documentaries etc.

 

One resource I remember as being a good go-along is the TOPS Rocks & Minerals unit + supply kit.

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I have been very dissatisfied with homeschool science curriculum and based on the boards so have many. I have also seen where it is the one area homeschool falls short. So, I have taken to making my own science programs. For Earth Science I picked a main book for each topic as a spine, supplemented with projects and worksheets from enchanted learning or made my own. Sometimes I used freebies from TeachersPayTeachers. The subjects I covered for Earth Science where Astronomy, Geosphere, Hydrosphere, Atmosphere and some Biosphere.

 

Yes, it was a bit of work putting it all together but the result was engaging, quality learning that met my child's needs (DS8). The books we liked best were the National Geographic books. The pictures are fabulous, the content is current and not dry. The not so fun parts were when I based our learning on an encyclopedia, wow even I fell asleep. I also added books about people or places that DS could read. If he was really interested in something we would investigate and if it didn't hold his interest we covered the basics and moved forward. One of the fun things we did after studying a set of rocks (found on Amazon) was to go gem mining. A visit to the Planetarium was also a big hit. 

 

When I covered the Hydrosphere I found a lot of free lap books, others I made from a book at the library. I could have easily made worksheets or had DS write but it was more fun this way. We covered Swamps, Rivers, Lakes, and the Ocean.

 

Projects included a model solar system, playdough model of earth's layers (big hit) all labeled, editable soil layers, scale representation in the yard of the solar system, showed how currents work with colored water (diff. temps), wind experiments, weather charting, using hot air to fill a balloon.

 

There is an older set of middle school science books that are easily purchased on Amazon or Abebooks for cheap. They are by Glencoe Science and there are 12+ books in the whole set. Red = Earth Sciences, Blue = Physical Sciences, Green = Life Sciences. I purchased many of them for $3.5 a piece. Each book has lab exercises, written exercises, test prep (or could be used as test), projects, etc. 

 

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We used Novare's Earth Science and really liked it. Also Signs and Seasons for astronomy. Both are top notch textbooks and just about right for the middle grades.

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I've created my own science curriculum for the past several years but this year, I tried Science Fusion and really am enjoying it.  I gave it some tweaks to fit what *I'M* looking for in science (plus, the modules are middle school and I have two elementary kiddos tagging along).  

 

It can be a little confusing figuring the whole thing out but overall, it's a neat science program and my kids are learning quite a bit.  

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For 7th grade for DS#2, we made our own Earth Science using Reader's Digest How Earth Works as a "spine", and then dug deeper on the topics from that by adding a ton of great resources, books, websites, documentaries etc.

 

One resource I remember as being a good go-along is the TOPS Rocks & Minerals unit + supply kit.

Similar here. We used Science in a Nutshell rock kit, then added lots of other rock and mineral kits, trips to rock shows and so on. Analog weather instruments (though, frankly, digital are more economical, imo.)

 

Lori, if you have a list I would love to see it!

 

Texts we like are Holt Science and Technology and Science Fusion, from same publisher, but more basic.

 

I love the Readers Digest series, but tend to get distracted -- their projects are so darn attractive that I become OCD and waste energy trying to make our stuff look half as nice, lol. Janice VanCleave projects are just sketches, so I have permission to be sloppy. Crazy, I know.

 

OP, I couldn't tell where you are on secular/religious continuum. My suggestions are strictly secular.

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We are using CPO Middle School Earth Science this coming year, which I am liking the looks of so far. Unfortunately they have put the investigations, skill and practice sheets, etc. behind a subscriber wall now so you can't just buy the book used and download them. It's a bummer. 

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We used Novare's Earth Science and really liked it. Also Signs and Seasons for astronomy. Both are top notch textbooks and just about right for the middle grades.

 

We're also using Novare's Earth Science.  I'd not thought to use Signs and Seasons to add astronomy: thank you for this idea! 

 

The Novare text is excellent.  There are faith-based statements that annoy my analytical child (ie, God gets credit for all the nice stuff but there is no mention of relating faith to an understanding of the destructive side of nature) but these provide Teachable Moments. 

Edited by serendipitous journey

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For the astronomy portion we enjoyed this book which is naked eye astronomy. Super fascinating to us. Tons of field activities that re easy to do at home. http://classicalastronomy.com/

 

I think this online class uses it as a text: https://experienceastronomy.com/

I just forwarded your suggestion to this thread, thought you'd like to know.

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/650181-telescope-recommendation/?p=7677846

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Just want to throw out Uzinggo. My ds did middle school biology last year and loved it. He's doing earth science and astronomy this year with Uzinggo as well. It's on HSBC for a really reasonable price. We joined a local astronomy club to round out the astronomy portion and I'm gathering resources for earth science supplements now. You don't need supplements but I prefer a bit of hands on with science.

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This is what we used last year (and what my current 7th grader wants to do next year).  

 

Signs and Seasons Classical Astronomy + field workbook

The Planets: The Definitive Visual Guide to our Solar System

Smithsonian Earth: The Definitive Visual Guide

Celestron astronomical binoculars

Night Sky app on my phone for locating objects in the night sky

Cosmos series on Netflix (hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

 

We did a bunch of walks at night, locating planets, stars, constellations, etc.  We also visited a meteorite gallery on a college campus.  They had a great year.

Edited by Evanthe

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You might look at Conceptual Academy.  Self-paced and includes up to date on line videos, exercises and quizzes after reading each lesson in the textbook.  

http://www.conceptualacademy.com/

I wanted to mention that it looks as though Conceptual Academy will be updating several of their offerings starting in the fall, including Astronomy.  Updated videos and support material, maybe not the textbook.  They try hard to present the latest researched science.

 

FWIW, DD is still really liking the Astronomy program.

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For geology - Northwest Rock and Fossil looks to be a good resource - We met the owner/author and his wife at a homeschool convention this summer, and they are a wealth of information (they are Christian).

 

The Rock Identification Made Easy book was great. My kids are always asking me what kind of rock and now they can try to figure it out on their own! Bedrock Geology looks to be a good read. They also have several rock and mineral kits. 

 

 

Roadside Geology of Insert your State is also suppose to be a good book for local geology.

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