Science has never been my favorite subject. In fact, one of my only memories of my 7th grade science class was the boy who sat in front of me. His name was Eddie Maxwell. He had big brown eyes and black hair. Not sure that was the educational experience my parents were hoping for.
When I was in college I took a Science for Teachers class. That was fun! Our professor had us do all manner of hands-on projects and experiments. I can remember thinking, “Did all my science teachers have to take this class? And if so, why didn’t our classes look like this?” I think some of it gets lost in all the bureaucracy. Not to mention the hustle and bustle of a public school classroom.
I really believe that those hands-on experiences is what makes Science real to most kids. Josiah and I recently had a chance to review Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers from Funtastic Unit Studies.
The author of Science Unit Studies is Susan Kilbride. She is a homeschooling mom who also happens to have a degree in biology. She wrote the book especially with homeschoolers in mind, but the activities inside could be used in a classroom with relative ease.
I knew it was going to be our kind of curriculum from the word, “Go.” It comes in the form of a paperback book. It contains 20 unit studies. The first 10 are intended for ages 4-7. The last 10 are for ages 8-13.
The units build on each other, so it’s best to do them in order, but we decided to take a walk on the wild side and do a unit entitled “Chemistry Fun Unit.” It is for the kiddos ages 8-18 and it does help if the student has had some basic chemistry.
The unit starts (every unit is the same) begins with a materials list. Most of the materials are easy to find. I liked that I didn’t have to go searching for rare and unusual chemicals and equipment. The materials for Chemistry Fun were things I mostly had around the house.
Each unit also is divided into parts. The Chemistry Fun unit has 8 parts. Each “part” has a variety of activities to complete. I loved that I could do as many or as few as I needed to (or had the materials for).
Each activity also contains some “teaching.” I found the explanations were easy to read and understand. Especially for a non-sciency person like me. Is non-sciency even a word?
For our purposes, I let Josiah conduct the experiments and complete the activities and I read the explanations out loud.
Here he is measuring a cup of water. He is learning about density.
Next he had to measure a cup of oil. Which weighed more? The oil or the water?
The 'hows and whys' are easily explained.
The next part was about Surface Tension.
Will it sink or float? How does surface tension play a part?
One of the big favorites (for both of us) was an activity that taught us the difference between a mixture and a solution.
Would you know that it all led to making a big batch of cookies?
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I think if my 7th grade science teacher had introduced science in this manner there would have been less daydreaming about boys with brown eyes on my part.
For those of you who need more pencil to paper activities there are plenty of those.
There are tests, as well, so you can keep track of your students progress. We didn't take any of them. I used this review as our fun summer science. Tests smests.
For our needs, this was a perfect fit. The activities aren't time intensive. They can be used with any science curriculum. Because we concentrate on a hands-on experience it is something I can (and will) use.
Mostly, they are just fun! You can check 2 free units out for yourself. The Funtastic site has a great Freebie page.
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