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staceyobu

Co-op for middle school... art curriculum? science? suggestions?

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We have a group of middle school students who are aging out of our pk-6th grade co-op. I would like to get some classes off the ground for this age group next year.

 

Any suggestions for a science curriculum they could implement at home but come together for experiments? (But those who don't implement at home could still participate and learn from the science experiment day?)

 

Art curriculum?  

 

We might also want to do logic or a literature discussion time.  

 

Thanks for any suggestions!

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For science our co-op (and the others we have belonged to,) have mostly followed Apologia. They do experiments and discussions in class, bookwork at home. Some don't do the bookwork at home and do their own things,  and still follow the experiments. We have used other things like the new Science in the Beginning and this year middle schoolers are using old Prentice Hall textbooks found super cheap online, like under ten dollars. Any text works. 

 

Art- this year we are doing projects from SOTW2 for the most part, or inspired by it. 

 

Other years we have done Art Appreciation classes where we learned about an artist or art period and did related projects. We have also had an artist teach how to draw realistically. I have no particular curriculum. I don't think anyone really follows an exact curric, but puts together projects and lessons based on the plan or theme for the year. 

 

 

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Our co-op does Apologia science courses.   We meet 24 times over the school year, and spend 1-2 weeks per module.   The students do all of the reading, OYO questions, and Study Guides at home, and class time is used for experiments, some lecture/demo, going over the study guides, and supplementary videos.   They do roughly 1 experiment per module, so a few of the class sessions don't have experiments.

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If you want something genuinely neutral for the science, you could do TOPS. It's totally secular, but it's just experiments and it doesn't cover anything that would be "iffy" for religious families because it's so focused on observable science instead of theory. Plus, you can buy classroom kits of the materials and it's set up for small groups. That way, families could pick their own reading and video resources to go with the units you chose. If you wanted, you could even make a list - like do TOPS chemistry units, and give families a list of potential, but not required, readings and so forth to go with it.

 

For art, I'd let the teacher pick whatever spoke to them. There's a million books and resources out there. For literature, I'd make a list. If you have a mix of different levels of readers, I have this list of books that are short but meaty for middle schoolers - good for kids who aren't going to tear through a lot of titles, but things still worth discussing for readers of all levels.

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What I see with science at co-ops around here is that people either all use Apologia at home and then gather at the co-op to do the Apologia experiments together, OR, the co-op science is separate and self-contained from what their at-home science is. People are not so interested at the 7th-12th grade levels of doing experiments that don't match up with their program, so they usually don't have time to do a Chemistry course at home, and then try and skip around to find the information in their program that matches up with the experiments that will be done at co-op later that week.

 

As I say, the only exception I see in our area is when a co-op offers a science that is completely separate and self-contained (i.e., not much support work at home required -- so can just show up and do the different science at co-op, and then do own choice of unrelated science program at home).

 

For example:

- a co-op class that is support for doing individual big science fair projects

- robotics

- rocketry

- astronomy

- forensics

- ocean science (check out this book by Seymour Simon)

- engineering

- "pot-pourri" of hands-on activities (example: dissection one week, building structures another week, and doing pH testing on a third week)

 

 

Other ideas for middle school classes:

- public speaking

- study skills

- current events

- geography/cultures/comparative world religions

- electronics "club" (soldering kits and components)

- cake decorating

- sewing

- wood working

- calligraphy

- chess "club"

- movie making

- beginning coding

- drama/theater -- maybe even an intro to Shakespeare!

- chorus

- personal finance

Edited by Lori D.

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Our this year is using God's Design series for grades1-7. It's light, but I add some Writng assignments at home, and they do all experiments and review at co-op. It's working well for us.

 

We are also doing a writing/literature class-- using Bravewriter projects to go along with a family read aloud so all get do the same project but at different levels,

 

The 7th graders are doing Art of Argument for logic.

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The Elements and Carbon Chemistry by Ellen J McHenry would be good for a co-op.

I was going to suggest those too. Have everyone do the basic reading at home, and then in class, watch the videos, sing the silly songs, and do the other activities for reinforcement.

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I have been teaching middle school classes at our co op for years. I have taught

 

  • Playing Around the World (games to teach World Geography)
  • World of Trade (economic simulations, second semester they all have "jobs" in a mini economy simulation)
  • History Fun - I change the theme each semester and have done - WW1, WW2, Spies, Criminal, Mysteries (for WW1 and WW2 I used a simulation game)
  • Amazon Mission and Everest Trek - http://walch.com/Building-Math-for-Common-Core-State-Standards-3-Book-Series.html (they also have one callled Stranded). These are handson STEM classes. I added extra lessons around the theme as there wasn't enough for 16 lessons
  • Disease Detectives
  • Can you find your way? All about maps and navigation

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I'm teaching Patty Paper Geometry this year to middle schoolers. It is essentially a hands-on pre-geometry course. There are 12 lessons and we have 25 weeks, it looks like it is going to be just right.

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I'm teaching Patty Paper Geometry this year to middle schoolers. It is essentially a hands-on pre-geometry course. There are 12 lessons and we have 25 weeks, it looks like it is going to be just right.

I had totally forgotten about that book! Thanks for the reminder!

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