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I'm pondering next year's curriculum options. I've been thinking about science for next year, and would like to do what the WTM suggests with 20 weeks Animal Kingdom, 10 weeks Human Body and 6 weeks Plant Kingdom.

 

My question really stems from the fact that my ds LOVES animals. We've done a lot of animal studies already, and have plans to do more. How should I approach the first 20 weeks? I've been thinking about concentrating more on invertebrates, since this is not the area my son is as interested in. But that won't take 20 weeks. We've been doing some classification, but nothing super detailed. But I don't think 1st grade is the time to do more than classify mammal/bird/etc.

 

My other thought is to extend the other topics and shorten the animal kingdom. What would you extend and by how much?

 

Or maybe I should just plan the 16 weeks (or so) of human and plant studies and then let him dictate the animal learning?

 

I'm just trying to get an idea of what I should for next year, so I can better plan what materials I will need. I'll probably buy the Kingfisher First Animal Encyclopedia, just because ds will love it, not matter how we use it.

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I've got one each in grade 1 and 2 this year, so I can only tell you what we've been doing. I haven't been following the WTM suggestion for science, though.

 

We like Noeo's book suggestions for science. I actually find the activities aren't that great, and neither is the teacher's manual. So, I just use it for the book recommendations.

 

RS4k is great for this age, I've used Chem but not Bio yet. This is more a 'textbooky' approach, but we really enjoyed it.

 

Ambleside Online suggests using the "Burgess Book of Animals" and the "Burgess Book of Birds" for grades 1 and 2. I haven't used these, so I can't comment.

 

For learning about animals, our favourite and most useful has honestly just been visiting the zoos and children's farm. We bought a yearly membership to the zoo so we have unlimited access to the three zoos in Melbourne. We'll just go and spend the afternoon there and spend ages observing the animals. We love listening to the keeper's talks that they do, and the children ask heaps of questions. We are such 'zoo junkies' a lot of the staff know the children and are happy to stop and explain things and chat to them. No better source of information on animals than a zoo for a city child imo!

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Over the summer I sat down with the kids and the Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia and let them pick a couple animals they were interested in. Then I rounded it out, trying to get a good mix of vertebrates/invertebrates and then each group under that (fish, crustaceans, etc.).

Each week we went the the library and picked out some books about that animal. I tried throughout the year to get a couple of fiction books every once in a while to note the differences. Sometimes I requested books in advance. We read the encyclopedia entry for that animal. Then we just read the books, drew pictures of the animals, added in narrations or art projects that related to our "animal of the week." We have had a lot of fun and it was very educational for all of us. I found that we learned a lot, I didn't feel bogged down in planning, and activities seemed to crop up relating to some of the animals. Of course, getting to a zoo is great. But it's okay if you can't do that.

You know, there are so many animals out there - you may be surprised, even though your son loves them, how many you don't know anything about!

Now we're moving on to the human body and I'm a little sad - we'll miss the animals!

HTH,

Sarah

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Do you have a zoo membership? If so, then maybe structure your weeks around the zoo layout - is it laid out by biomes or regions or just casually? Follow the layout and and really learn about the animals there - what animals are in your reptile house? where do they come from? what do they eat? how do they take care of their babies? how do they protect themselves? how do they see, eat, move, run, jump, swim?

 

Have you dissected owl pellets? this is a great way to start a study of animals. you can learn about different types of owls and what they eat. you can learn about different types of prey animals. you can use it as a jump off for studying vertebrates - all those bones.

 

Have you raised butterflies or lady bugs or praying mantids? It is a great way to start a study of invertebrates. Metamorphosis is really cool.

 

Do you have a local nature trail? What animals are nearby? Have you studied the local wildlife? Can your kids identify footprints and scat from the local animals? Do they know about the local reptiles and can they identify them? DO they know the local birds? Do you have a bird feeder? Kids can make bird feeders and learn to identify all of the birds that frequent your yard.

 

How about vermiculture? Worms are great composters. it is amazing to watch them turn garbage into nice rich black dirt that you can use in the spring for your graden and botany. It is also a great way to start an animal study.

 

Have you ever hatched eggs? Backyard chickens are legal in many places. Even if you don't hatch the eggs, day old chicks are cute and kids learn more than you could imagine by taking care of chickens.

 

Animals are a great way to start science because kids love them, and there is always more to learn about them. hands-on projects and activities will create wonderful memories for you and your students.

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I may come from a different school of thought. We don't follow the WTM cycle for science, but I'll put in my 2 cents.

 

I let science be child lead in the early years. Ask my boys what they would like to learn about and then do the planning (that's where the structure and my leading comes in). I love Karen in CO's suggestions...may have to steal a few of them! Have you tried lapbooks? Homeschool Share has several lapbooks and unit studies for FREE! We just finished the Desert Animals one that uses the One Small Square, Cactus Desert by Donald Silver and had a great time doing it. We all learned a lot. I have planned most of my science for next year around the lapbooks and units offered by homeschool share, after I asked the boys what they wanted to learn more about...most of them being animals and a little chemistry thrown in. We also plan to do some easy and fun experiments.

 

This year I got NOEO Biology 1. I love the program and the books, but it is moving a bit too fast for us. We like to really dig into our subjects and take our time doing lapbooks. So, I modified the plans and now they work for us.

 

I'm sure whatever you choose to do, learning will take place and that is the important thing...aside from spending time with your kiddo! :001_smile:

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We really love the God's Design books. There are activities/experiments for every lesson.

 

 

bk-gdlplan.jpg The World of Plants

bk-gdlbody.jpg The Human Body

 

 

Then there is this free human body curriculum:

Little Otter's Science - I got a request to make a youger kid's version, so here it is. Little Otter's Science is a gentle, literature based study with easy science explorations and hands on activities for the preschool through 1st grade. Otter's Elementary Science This curriculum was created for Otter himself and is is designed for 2nd - 6th graders.

 

Edited by Lovedtodeath
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Thanks for all the suggestions. We already use homeschoolshare.com to plan our animal studies. Maybe I'll let him pick a few animals we haven't gone into depth on, and then I can pick a larger variety. And if I throw some more hands-on activities in, it just might work out. :) Most likely for my ds, it'll be the switching from animals to human body that will be the hardest part :)

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We are in the midst of first grade right now. Throughout our unit, I integrated ecology studies. We did many nature walks. Went to the zoo... the aquarium, etc. I try to incorporate as many field trips as I can.

 

We homeschool year round so our schedule may be a little different but here was my plan:

 

Summer: Plant Kingdom / Forest Ecology

Fall: Animal Kingdom - Vertebrates / Desert Ecology

Winter: Animal Kingdom - Invertebrates / Marine Ecology

Spring: Human Body / History of Medicine / Cells

 

Periodically, the kiddos would ask questions about earth/space... I answered as best I could and told them that we would study earth/space more extensively soon. Finally, in December, they said, "We are tired of learning about animals. Can we learn about earth now?"

 

We've thereby changed direction.... we never made it to the human body this year, but plan to return to it this summer or fall.

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We used Living Learning Life Science to guide our studies - it provides a very loose, very light framework. After a few of the animal units, I got the pattern down. Lots of extra library books, as many living specimens as we could do, trips to the zoo and aquarium, some coloring sheets, and fun stuff.

 

Becca and I are particularly interested in the human body, so I'm departing more from the LL ideas and using extra books for more projects, experiments, and depth. I usually try to have a small garden in the spring, so whenever we're "done" with the human body, I'll work through our plant units with as much hands-on as I can.

 

R.E.A.L. science might provide a meatier framework - we're going to use that for earth and space next year.

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i thought living learning was great for 1st grade. fun and gentle. loved the living booklists.

i am using real science from pandia currently for my 2nd grader and am finding it is quite involved!

lisa

 

Lisa, I'd be interested to hear about your experience with R.E.A.L. Science and how much time you are spending on your lessons.

 

Thanks!

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If you're counting the insect kingdom in with all the other forms of invertebrates, then I think you could easily do 20 weeks, if you want. However, you could also easily extend both the human body studies and plant kingdom studies. I have a list of books I used at that age, if you're interested in potential titles....

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We used Living Learning Life Science to guide our studies - it provides a very loose, very light framework. After a few of the animal units, I got the pattern down. Lots of extra library books, as many living specimens as we could do, trips to the zoo and aquarium, some coloring sheets, and fun stuff.

 

Becca and I are particularly interested in the human body, so I'm departing more from the LL ideas and using extra books for more projects, experiments, and depth. I usually try to have a small garden in the spring, so whenever we're "done" with the human body, I'll work through our plant units with as much hands-on as I can.

 

R.E.A.L. science might provide a meatier framework - we're going to use that for earth and space next year.

 

is this the guide you are using?

http://www.livinglearningbooks.com/cart.php?target=product&product_id=16289&category_id=304

 

I've never heard of it before.

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is this the guide you are using?

http://www.livinglearningbooks.com/cart.php?target=product&product_id=16289&category_id=304

 

I've never heard of it before.

 

 

Yes, that's it. I heard about it here on the boards. As I said, it's very light and could easily be used for K as well. I was considering using their Earth & Astronomy level 2 program, but they don't have sample pages online and my attempts to contact them regarding this have been met with deafening silence. :glare:

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My daughter is REALLY into science... she's 5-1/2 but has about a 4th-5th grade understanding of biology and high oral comprehension skills. We have been using the large free sample Pandia Press is offering on their biology course. It's perfect for us, and we intend to buy it soon. Her writing/reading skills are K/1st so I just read most things to her and she responds verbally. The content is great.

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