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Interesting science suggestions?


Pintosrock
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I'm trying to think of a plan for next year (third grade.) I've been winging science for the last three years and I'm completely exhausted. What options are out there?

What we've done thus far:

K - classes at local museum/nature center. Not currently an option.

1 - read Magic School Bus and Read and Find Out books until they fell apart and bought second copies. Completed random experiment books, focusing on scientific method. 

2 - Microscope unit (summer), 4H entomology book (fall), electricity/snap circuits (winter) We did begin the year attempting Chemistry for the Grammar Stage, but when Grandpa gave us his old microscope, that quickly fell off in favor of the vastly more interesting microscope.

While dd8 has had a fair bit of science, some part of me worries that it's so hodge-podgey and disconnected. Should I find a curriculum and follow it through, so that she gains a complete science picture? But then I think, she's had more science than I had (public school) at her age!

In any case, I'm tired of planning my own thing. What cool, interesting science curriculums are out there?

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I dont really plan a systematic sequence of topics for my kids. They read through books on science topics of interest.  It ss very low key and low stress for me bc I know that all science below high school level science is about simple exposure and nurturing curiosity. High school science starts at an introductory level.

I take the above approach until their first high school science cr (either 8th or 9th grade.) I have 3 adult children with science/health related degrees (chemE, physics, OTA) and a college sophomore majoring in atmospheric science. All of them were/are top of their class students. Textbook science curriculum didnt offer their school peers any foundational advantage. 

This yr I have taken a slightly different approach and have designed an orienteering course for my 6th grade dd and 5th grade granddaughter. We have learned how to orienteer with a compass/map and now we are studying how to without. They are learning to be far more observant of nature and their surroundings, the angle of the sun, close attention to the phases of the moon and constellations.  We are approaching this as a life skill. My 5th grade gd has struggled somewhat bc there is a lot of math involved in orienteering with a map and she has to walked through conversions, but she can now use a compass, read elevation changes, plan a route, estimate distances and time required.  It has been a fun course.

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10 hours ago, Pintosrock said:

part of me worries

So first, we will sprinkle you with magic NO WORRY dust. 😄 Seriously. She's 8, she's fine. If you're asking what will hinder her later, it's reading comprehension, math, and of course prior knowledge. You're nailing the prior knowledge and we'll assume the reading and math are on track. So I would tell yourself that you can do ANYTHING through 5th or 6th gr and it will be FINE.

10 hours ago, Pintosrock said:

I'm completely exhausted.

Whew, that's for real! I think if you get a very traditional grade leveled curriculum she'll be so familiar with so much of it already that it will be kind of boring. 

10 hours ago, Pintosrock said:

that quickly fell off in favor of the vastly more interesting microscope.

What are you doing with this or what do you want to do with this? I will tell you that just having a microscope around doesn't make things happen, lol. I have one and I never find my ds (ASD2, quirky with SLDs) walking up to it. So your dd seems curious and driven on her own. You might make it a priority not to squash that but just to facilitate. Sometimes we don't realize what we're working with till LATER. 

10 hours ago, Pintosrock said:

What cool, interesting science curriculums are out there?

https://www.nsta.org/outstanding-science-trade-books-students-k-12  The NSTA keeps lists of science trade books. Maybe that would help you continue what was working with MSB but step it up?

https://store.lawrencehallofscience.org/Category/gems  Some of the GEMS units used to be available for free.

https://www.amazon.com/Developing-Critical-Thinking-Through-Science/dp/0894554220/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=science+critical+thinking&qid=1637504443&qsid=134-9182645-5123113&sr=8-3&sres=0894554220%2CB095GD5VYJ%2C0195170466%2C0826194192%2C1097238571%2C0415968208%2C1589479262%2C0894558358%2C0470195096%2C0894554247%2C1601441509%2C1523823003%2C1433827107%2C1425802435%2C1425802451%2C0867205105&srpt=ABIS_BOOK  You could see if a book like this would interest her.

Have you tried Great Courses? Adult books on audio for topics that will interest her?

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My kids really like Generation Genius. We are using it alongside Intro to Science from Elemental Science. Since you have been doing your own thing you could just do Generation Genius. It just doesn't tell you when to do what, but each lesson/video has the video information part and demonstration and a hands-on experiment you can do yourself. I think there are worksheets or quiz sheet if you want to do that. 

The video aspect is nice because sometimes they take you to interesting places or do experiments/demos you wouldn't do at home. For fossils they take you to the La Brea Tar Pits which is neat.

As someone who graduated as an electrical engineer, in elementary school hodgey podgey and your kids can't tell you much of what they learn in science is completely OK. All of it starts from scratch in high school when they know Algebra. Then for the "hard" sciences like chemistry and physics things get revisited once again when they know Calculus. 

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On 11/21/2021 at 6:46 AM, 8filltheheart said:

This yr I have taken a slightly different approach and have designed an orienteering course for my 6th grade dd and 5th grade granddaughter. We have learned how to orienteer with a compass/map and now we are studying how to without. They are learning to be far more observant of nature and their surroundings, the angle of the sun, close attention to the phases of the moon and constellations.  We are approaching this as a life skill. My 5th grade gd has struggled somewhat bc there is a lot of math involved in orienteering with a map and she has to walked through conversions, but she can now use a compass, read elevation changes, plan a route, estimate distances and time required.  It has been a fun course.

This sounds amazing. Did you have any resources you used to guide you?

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If you like the idea of combining science with history, and don't mind Christian material I really like  Science of the Ancient World (and I assume the others in that series are just as good).  I feel like you could easily tweak it if you were a secular homeschool family (skip lessons dealing with biology/animal life which will be anti-evolution, cross out a few lines dealing with Christian themes and change "before Christ" to BCE/CE). 

The books talk about a scientist, and does experiments related to the science topic they are known for, and have a few discussion questions you can assign.   Most of the experiments use common everyday items.   It's really easy to use.

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On 11/21/2021 at 6:46 AM, 8filltheheart said:

I dont really plan a systematic sequence of topics for my kids. They read through books on science topics of interest.  It ss very low key and low stress for me bc I know that all science below high school level science is about simple exposure and nurturing curiosity. High school science starts at an introductory level.

I take the above approach until their first high school science cr (either 8th or 9th grade.) I have 3 adult children with science/health related degrees (chemE, physics, OTA) and a college sophomore majoring in atmospheric science. All of them were/are top of their class students. Textbook science curriculum didnt offer their school peers any foundational advantage. 

 

I love love love when w reply with this. Such a great reminder that there is no need for formal until 8th or 9th grade. I started my boys off with Apologia (3rd and 5th graders) we stick with that because they ask for it and enjoy it, but we don’t do the journals or anything besides me reading aloud unless they ask to explore or experiment. My little girls are 3 and 5 and I’ve already decided we will just read books about science until they are in the middle or high school years. I love how my homeschooling style is relaxing over time! 

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On 11/21/2021 at 9:21 AM, PeterPan said:

So first, we will sprinkle you with magic NO WORRY dust. 😄 Seriously. She's 8, she's fine. If you're asking what will hinder her later, it's reading comprehension, math, and of course prior knowledge. You're nailing the prior knowledge and we'll assume the reading and math are on track. So I would tell yourself that you can do ANYTHING through 5th or 6th gr and it will be FINE.

 

just the reminder I needed this morning!  

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We've used REAL Science Odyssey by Pandia Press, and enjoyed it. It focuses on simple labs and readings, and we usually find some good books to go with it. We do it twice a week, so I feel like it gives them a good overview of scientific investigation and modeling while leaving plenty of time for them to do their own explorations. 

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My husband and I both have STEM PhDs, so I promise that we think science is important.  That being said, we didn't stress over the kids learning a lot of science in elementary school although I tried to expose them to various topics.  I always said that my goals with science and history in elementary school is for them to be learning enough that that they aren't completely lost when we go to a museum.  🙂  Knowing that they'll see most things again, I'm mostly trying to pique interest and expose them to topics so that they know things exist and can develop an interest if they want.  

We used Hirsh's Core Knowledge sequence as a source of topics for science and history, and I found that for science it worked for us to have a yearly pattern of units that addressed earth/space science, anatomy topics, chemistry/physics topics, and ecology/environment/animal topics.  But, we didn't use any formal textbook.  For some topics we just read through the few pages in Hirsh's book - I mean, how much does a kid need to know about atoms besides the idea that objects are made of parts so small they can't see them?  Our last unit was done in the spring because we could be outside and look at trees or ants or plant seeds or whatever.  For each unit, I"d just pull out a stack of books - some we owned, library books, some with text, some illustrated McAuley or Biesty books or books with photos of things - and any related supplies like prisms if we learned about light or floor puzzles about the human body or the solar system.  Most days I'd have the kids spend 15-20 minutes doing something on topic, either working the puzzle, working with me to do a simple experiment, or, most often, looking at a book or maybe watching a video.  

Once they get to middle school, 2 of the 3 years have specific plans and the third is more 'their choice'. 

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