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What is your middle school child doing for science?


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Big History with a large supplemental book and documentary list.  It is their history and science combined.  We hope to weave in some Ellen Mchenry units (revisited) at the appropriate spots.  Next year I will finally split the twins with one in physics and one in some type of ecology or environmental science. 

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One is currently doing a mom designed unit on chemistry using The Disappearing Spoon, a couple of TOPS units, a couple of science kits, and a chemistry coloring book, among a few other things.

 

The other is currently doing a mom designed unit on astronomy using The Planets by Dava Sobel, Seeing the Sky (it's a book about observations and experiments), and a few other resources - we're making using of several local astronomy nights.

 

We have yet to use a proper science curriculum. Other units that have been big hits in the past included one where we did Dino 101 from Coursera (which I don't think is on there anymore now that Coursera has changed... not sure) alongside a ton of good books about dinosaurs, geologic time, and extinction, plus we went to an actual dino dig. Another really good one was that last year Mushroom studied cells with lots of good living books, did a number of mom designed projects, and heavily used the microscope, and then did Protozoa from Ellen McHenry (which we had mixed feelings about, but that's another story) and then he did a science fair style project exploring which infusion method would encourage the growth of more protozoa in water from a local stream (hay beat rice big time).

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My 8th grader is using two different Prentice Hall books this year. One is labeled for 6th grade, one is labeled for 7th grade. Her co-op teacher is pulling different chapters from each to put together her own class. So this week she read chapter 15 from the 6th grade book and did all of the definitions and questions from it. They do labs and lab sheets in class, and she assigns which chapters to read and study at home. She is choosing to put together her own general science class from these books as opposed to the Apologia book this year. We get them super cheaply used online. 

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Mine worked through Ellen McHenry's Chemistry books.

 

Now we're working through Great Science Adventures Plants together, with my own home made practical botany component. I have assigned her to read some of a book called The Naming of Names (beautiful book about botanical history) alongside.

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What are we doing for science?  Floundering miserably at the moment.  I was going to come on and ask for suggestions for "science for a kid who says he doesn't like science".  Come to think of it, this kid really didn't "do" science last year either.  We read some living books with science-y themes and called it good. 

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My 7th graders are doing Physical Science with Conceptual Academy. I'm happy that except when it comes to the problems in the text it is hands off for me. They are really enjoying the Physics portion. I'm hoping that enthusiasm carries over to the next focus area.

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We are doing Elemental Science Earth Science for the Logic Stage plus studying for Science Olympiad. There are programs that we've tried that if I could implement, I'd like better, but this is actually getting done, at least now before Science Olympiad really gears up, and I'm happy about that.

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My oldest did a mishmash of unit studies based on her interests in 6th and 7th. She did Quarks and Quirks Biology in 8th.

 

My middle did unit studies last year in 6th: Periodic Table, Astronomy, and Inventors. This year in 7th, she is doing Rainbow Science Year 1. Next year ??

 

Youngest is tagging along with middle (she's currently in 5th). I have no idea what she'll do in middle school. 

 

I don't enjoy teaching science beyond Magic School Bus. 

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6th: Life Science using How Life Works along with DK Human Body Coloring Bk, TOPS units, dissection kits, & some other books

7th: Physical Science using Focus on Middle School Chemistry & Focus on Middle School Physics along with TOPS units & some other books

8th: Oceanography using Great Courses: Oceanography lectures along with Marine Life Coloring Bk, documentaries, & some other books

 

It looks very eclectic when I type it out, but I was working with a dd who hated science and would have hated it even more if I had moved her on to traditional texts. My goal was to cover both life science and physical science without killing the tiny amount of interest she had. She chose oceanography for 8th grade, and giving her an elective year was hugely positive. 

 

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Ds did BJU's 6th grade course here at home in addition to our co-op doing Apologia Chemistry and Physics (didn't care for it). BJU's course was really great.At my recommendation, our co-op used it last year and loved it so much that we're doing it again this year. 

 

Ds did Apologia Physical in 7th, but we didn't love it. 

 

He did BJU's Life Science course for 8th along with Apologia Biology labs at co-op. 

 

He is using Dive's Earth Science this year, which is designed for middle school. Since he's 9th, I'm beefing it up with outside sources and additional tests. I think it's a great course. 

 

Even though all of these are young earth, we don't hold fast to that teaching and discuss all of the theories and approaches to it. 

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My special needs 6th grader is taking an electrical engineering class at co-op, watches online science videos obsessively, does his Tinker Crates, and comes up with a lot of his own experiments. We do field trips one day a week and they're usually hiking and nature study, or otherwise science related. For actual curriculum, he's using Acellus Life Science (really light), and whatever other resources I can find to facilitate his interests.

 

His science has always been pretty interest led. I used rigorous textbook based traditional science programs with my older kids, and my youngest knows way more content than they did at this age, but he lacks the data analysis and interpretation skills they developed, as well as the textbook study skills. It's been really interesting to see the differences!

Edited by ghostwheel
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In theory we're doing Exploring Creation with General Science, but haven't started it yet (life has happened in a big way).  There's basically no way she (or the 9th grader who's also using it - again, theoretically) could do it totally independently.  Which is fine, except things are so crazy right now.  I kind of wish I was just having her read John Tiner books instead but I'm cheap and don't want to buy more curriculum stuff.  I might make the switch anyway.  

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Taking WHA's Life Science. She's loving it! She completed one lab yesterday; started another; and will build a model of a cell tomorrow. Honestly, that's as much 'hands on' science as we've ever accomplished in a year, much less in two days! I will be outsourcing science from now on for certain!

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I'm using Discovery Education Techbook science. We used in 7th, and are continuing in 8th. The middle school science covers earth/space, life, chemistry, and physics--each type of science in it's own course. But the subscription gives me access to their science videos for all grade levels through high school.   

 

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6th: Chemistry by Ellen McHenry (Elements & Carbon Chemistry)

7th: Novare Physical Science

8th: Novare Earth Science 

(The Novare books were recommended by my physics professor father-in-law)

 

How did you like the Novare books?

 

I am considering doing a similar path. 

 

Right now I am thinking:

6th-The Rainbow vs Biology year (not sure what to use)

7th-The Rainbow vs Novare Physical Science

8th-The Spectrum vs Novare Earth Science

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My sciency 5th grader has already been through all 3 volumes of BFSU with his older sister.  So this year he is doing Guest Hollow's Botany as his main science curriculum.  He also did a 4 week Outschool online class on Bird Biology.  At co-op he's doing Entomology and Nebraska Ecology.

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We just do interest-led science. I haven't yet used a full science curriculum. I'm a former scientist, and science is a part of our daily lives and discussions. My goal is to instill a high interest in science and strong critical thinking skills before high school. We also do tons of field trips. These are some samplings, but not our complete lists for each year.

 

6th grade -- a big picture overview year with emphasis on climate change, at DD's request

  • Aristotle Leads the Way
  • Some Ellen McHenry (until DD said she really didn't like them)
  • Really Short History of Nearly Everything
  • Bill Nye Unstoppable
  • We are Weather Maker's
  • Omnivore's Dilemma
  • Magic of Reality
  • Dr. Art's Guide to Science
  • Coursera course: Our Earth's Future
  • EdX course: Science of Climate Change

 

7th -- mostly an anatomy and physiology year, at DD's request but also some other high-interest areas (food history/science and science of color)

  • Newton at the Center
  • Some Science Matters
  • Tried McHenry again (still not a hit)
  • Some Miller & Levine Dragonfly biology 
  • Hole's Anatomy and Physiology (about half)
  • Circus/dance performer anatomy and physiology studies
  • Great Courses
  • Bozeman science A&P
  • Crash Course A&P, chemistry, bio
  • Bunch of food science/history books like: Banana--the Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World, Chocolate, Sugar Changed the World
  • Secret Language of Color (plus Great Course)

 

8th grade (current)

  • Culinary science with a ton of resources, roughly using Guest Hollow as starting point
  • Einstein Adds a New Dimension
Edited by deerforest
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My current 8th grader used Apologia General Science in 6th. He did Plato Life Science for 7th grade (virtual school) and is doing virtual school again this year (Edgenuity). We liked Apologia though. I had him use the virtual homeschool co-op with it (free).

 

Don't ask me what I'll use next year for 6th with DS2. He's currently doing a mixture of a CK-12 Flexbook and Mystery Science (he likes the videos but complains about the activities!).

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My 6th grader is doing EM daily Science (to get some vocab and also a little non fiction output) and doing a physics focus with: RS4K focus on middle school physics textbook only, World of Physics, and TOPS units on electricity and magnetism

Edited by vaquitita
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Holt Science and Tech Physical with some Ellen J. McHenry Chem is planned for this year. I'm not in love with Holt but it does get done. She also volunteers teaching a class to preschoolers 2x a month at our local Nature Center and takes their homeschool bio science class 2x a week. 

 

This sounds like a lot but I'm feeling like I need to add on a lot more to this to feed her science love. I'm not very confident teaching science so I might outsource it next year. 

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The Rainbow science. We love it here. I love it that the kit comes with EVERYthing (except distilled water) that you need for the labs. My other son's kit doesn't, so this week I have to track down a galvanized nail, blue food coloring, and some charcoal. But for my middle schooler, it's all there.

 

And I like how understandable the text is. There are concepts I've never quite been able to explain that he explains in the book in a way that makes it so easy. I keep seeing the lightbulb go off over my son's head.

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Right now - NOEO's Physics 3.  And we are loving the book We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe, we have both the printed and audio versions.

 

We'd done a lot of years of RSO levels, and I wanted a change.  We're almost finished with Physics, and then we'll switch gears and do some Ellen McHenry chemistry, and some other units yet to be determined.

 

That's the actual curriculum.  We also listen to science based audiobooks daily for fun - and DS absorbs a lot that way.  We've worked our way through A Short History of Nearly Everything; NdGT's My Favorite Universe; NdGT's The Inexplicable Universe; Light Falls; Unstoppable and Undeniable; and oh my, so many more books, magazines, and various local programs through museums.  Science is our thing here.  

 

And Stem in 30, weekly.  Love to use that as a jumping off point, this week we are way into Apollo missions - since that was the focus.   

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