"Anyone do science without a textbook???"
We do! This is a great approach, especially for elementary
aged students. We do nature collections. We also do a lot of experiment based science. I like the kits that contain all the
equipment, instructions, and explanations. We also utilize documentaries.
We do things on a 4 year cycle:
1) Physical Science (plants, animals, simple machines, etc.)
2) Semester 1 - Earth Science
Semester 2 - Astronomy
4) Physics (sound, light, magnetism, electricity, etc.)
All categories will get covered 3 times in a 12 yr. schooling "career."
With all labs they (once old enough) fill out a paper with 4 basic questions afterward (mine are 9 and under).
-What we used:
-What we did:
-What we learned:
I got the framework for this from The Well Trained Mind (by Susan Wise Bauer & Jessie Wise-www.welltrainedmind.com).
I don't use the same experiment kits/books that they suggested. (That was WAY too expensive!)
So.. for year 1, the
nature collections are great. Also for year one, we've read books on animal classification and then did poster boards where
we cut out animals from different magazines that were given to us (yard sales might also be good sources!) and we dumped them
all out on the table and began with separating them by "vertebrate" and "invertebrate" and then continued to narrow them
until we had groups like: mammals, monotremes, marsupials, amphibians, reptiles, fish, crustaceans, cephalopods, etc.
Other things we've done for Physical Science:
-the book "Your Insides" is great for beginning anatomy!
-Trace your child on butcher paper and have them draw the
organ systems on their silhouette, one system
(respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive,.. ).
-Get a gingerbread man cookie cutter and make up a bunch
of sugar cookies. Then.. get the small tubes of
colored icing.. or those new aerosol cans of icing that come with all the tips (but those are more expensive) and have them
try to do cartoon quality "systems" on the little men! Great fun!
-Anatomy coloring books
-3D models of organs/organ systems (can be found at www.classroomdirect.com)
-Explore with a microscope and slides. The magnifiers with a display screen might be better for younger children.
(both also available at www.classroomdirect.com)
-Leaf Collections with bark 'prints' (put a piece of paper on the
bark of the tree and roll a crayon on its side)
-Wildflower collections, and insect collections (dried wildflowers can later be made into Christmas gifts!
Make book marks and laminate or placemats.. or just mount on acid free paper and frame).
- Zoo! .. more zoo.. become 'members' and attend classes.
- Crocodile Hunter, Croc Files, and other documentary animal shows. (These 2 are very kid-friendly due to
Mr. & Mrs. Irwin’s enthusiasm).
- Sea monkeys, ant farms, worm farms, root view 'farms, etc.
- Gardening, or growing plants from seed indoors
- When studying stems.. put water in a cup, add dark food coloring, and have your child place a celery stalk/stem
in the cup. Come back and check it in a day or two and they can see the colored water sucked up into the stem.
- When studying roots.. wet a paper towel, put a dry bean in and keep it wet for a week or two and they
will be able to see the bean sprout and growth start.
- Watch your pet have kittens/pups/chicks.. etc.
- Incubate eggs! These are Large cells that need no microscope! Investigate them! Print worksheets off the
internet about egg development corresponding with the incubation period of the eggs, like at Enchanted Learning. http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/birds/printouts/
- Do a 4H animal project!.. or gardening!
- learn about life cycles (egg/tadpole/frog, caterpillar/butterfly, etc.)
- Do leaf Prints! Makes good quilting projects or even homemade wrapping paper.
-Volcano!.. make one after studying historic eruptions like Pompeii. You can even find books on Natural disasters
in the early readers.
- Earth Quakes.. study what causes them and do appropriate experiments (Reader's digest has a book FULL
of experiments.. but watch out for all the "Millions" and "Billions" of years ago comments.)
-Weather.. chart observations, .. watch the weather on T.V...learn the cloud types and try to find them!..
- Make a weather station.. rain gauge, weather vane, etc... Observe and chart.
-Study the types of precipitation
-Study the seasons and what causes them... earth's rotation and how it affects the seasons. (this overlaps
-Tornado in a bottle
-Rock collections & soil sampling
-Study the names of the layers of the earth down to the core.
-flashcards of famous astronomers
-make use of spyglasses, binoculars, and telescopes
-visit a planetarium or a children's science museum that has an astronomy section (be prepared to combat evolution
-make constellations on a light bright! (Read “Follow the Drinking Gourd and incorporate a History
-explore the earth's rotation & the phases of the moon with a ball or 2 and a flashlight in a dark
Chemistry and Physics
-Experiment, experiment, experiment
-For Chem: make slime and silly putty.. grow a crystal rock garden, make rock candy or bubble gum, etc.
-for Physics, play with magnets, make a circuit (join the Electric or Electronic Club in
4H), build a lamp,.. etc. .. learn about sound waves.....
Here are some websites with experiment instructions:
TryScience- 10 categories of types of scientific experiments.
ZoomSci - "http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/"
Joey Green's WackyScientist.com
The Physics Department:
a piano and see the sound waves!
Here's a site that was recommended to me, but I haven’t had the chance to explore
it yet: Science Museums Science Fair Project Ideas
You can always do a search at Yahooligans! - Science & Nature
NASA's Thursday's Classroom, weekly lessons.
OH! and my favorite
place for Hands-on science stuff!
Pitsco Lego Dacta! Any boy's dream come true.. and some girl's... (like me!) From the
"science of speed" (cars to build and race!), to solar energy.. to levitation cars.. to architecture..to electronics kits....
to hot air balloons.. kites.. inventors kits.. legos- simple machines, and lots more!
There is also a science curriculum out there called Lyrical
Life Science that has put science lessons to music to the tune of fun camp songs (like
“Camp Down Races,” and “Old Susannah”). It does come with worksheets and quizzes but
it could also be used just without the book if they learn well without it. This is available at Rainbow Resource
Cell Structure and Processes- interactive
Cells and Organelles
I Can Do That: Bacteria, Plant, & Animal Cells
C-E-L-L-O Hands on lesson plan for animal and plant cells at DiscoverySchool.com
Suggestion.. step #5 lists as follows:
If you want the entire experiment
to be edible.. here are some suggested changes...
||Have students place similar amounts of gelatin in each plastic bag. Next, have them add fruits to represent
different parts of the cell: use grapes for chloroplasts, mandarin oranges for mitochondria, plums for nuclei. Add smaller
materials to represent other parts of the cell: pepper for ribosome, plastic bubble wrap for vacuoles, yarn for endoplasm
reticulum, and pencil shavings for chromosomes."|
ribosomes - those tiny cake decoration balls (nonpareil decors) or Nerds candies
vacuoles- for animal cell: circular fruit bites or fruit gushers.. for a plant cell you may want
to find something larger.. perhaps a dried apricot, or something even bigger.
endoplasm reticulum- pull & peel twizzlers
Chromosomes- carrot shredded into a curls
lysosomes- different colored fruit bites or skittles
golgi apparatus- make out of a fruit roll up or fruit by the foot.
I’m always open to new ideas/resources so if you have any let me know and I’ll
check it out and possibly add it on to my list!