As most of you probably know by now, we love all things science! We also have recently come to love unit studies. I love the opportunity to really dig into something my kids are interested in. To take a love of bunnies and study it in so many different ways. So when I had the opportunity to review Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers from Funtastic Unit Studies, there was no way I was going to miss out on this one!
Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers is a nice big paperback book that is full of goodies; to be exact it is 200 pages. Within this gem are 20 unit studies designed for children between the ages of 4 and 13. The first half of the book contains about 1o studies that are created for 4 to 7 year olds, and the last ten units are meant for kids from 8 to 13 years old.
There is a wonderful variety of topics within this book including: the five senses, dinosaurs, insects, magnets, microscopes, health and the weather. Each unit study has a list of required books, supplies and videos. These studies are also all broken down into simple parts which include what I think of as teaching tips, diagrams and a couple activities that really help kids to understand more completely what is being studied.
This was such a fun unit study and while we are not yet through all of the studies, we are going to continue for sure! We have focused mostly on the first part, for the younger kiddos, since even my oldest can really learn quite a bit from these. Once we complete this section, we do plan on moving right on into the unit studies for the older kids too. I think even my younger son (who is soon to be six) will get quite a bit out of them. He really loves his science studies :-)
I love all the activities within these, although for the younger ones, while I see and know all too well the benefits of them, it is a bit difficult with a 3 month old. I admit it, I tend to prefer (for now anyway) things that are quick and easy. Besides that, attention is key and there were times that we were so excited and then the time it took to prepare for the activity, was just more than the little ones could bear. haha If you are more organized and plan it out though this could be great! Moving forward I definitely plan to schedule our studies, so I can make sure that we are prepared for each activity as we go along. I admit it, in many ways, we tend to be more of an unschooler as of late; I didn’t like skipping around with this unit study book though. I mean, all of the material and activities are great learning tools for all three of my kiddos (even my three year old daughter was able to get involved). It just requires a bit more planning than we are used to in this season of our homeschool :-)
One of their favorite chapters was Insects and their Kin. My younger son (5) and older daughter (3) both are fascinated with bugs. And animals too (their other favorite chapter is this was Animals)! My oldest son (9) really enjoyed the unit study on the Human Body. This was a great introduction for him to this topic too.
I admit to being a bit overwhelmed with the list of materials needed for each unit. For the most part, the materials needed though, were all items commonly kept in our household. Some things we did have to make a trip to get, like modeling clay, and cotton balls; mostly these items were things like markers, crayons, ice, plastic bottles, newspaper…..you know, those things we keep around the house but (if you are like me) rarely use.
My kids really did love this (still do) though! Although it is more work for me, I have to say, I feel certain that they are gaining a greater understanding of the lesson every time. It isn;t just busy work it isn’t just read and write either. In each unit study, there are multiple parts that all involve a different form (or method) of learning. This really teaches to all different learning styles; great for teaching multiple learners, of various ages even!
For example, in one unit, learning about spiders, we make a spider web with yarn, and tie it about various pieces of furniture, within the house. This helps us to learn about how the spider feels vibrations in the web. In another unit, learning about the skeletal system, there is a little song they learn which helps them to remember which bones are connected; my boys enjoyed cutting out their own skeleton to dance along as they sang. They also enjoyed various activities with magnets, letters from various animals to read that helped to teach the concept of animal ecology. My oldest son can’t wait to delve into the unit study on microscopes since we had an amazing Goodwill find of just that, not long ago.
As we progress in this we will be making a psychrometer (measures humidity) although I am thinking we might need to skip ahead and do that one now (man, is it hot and sticky here right now LOL). We also will be designing our own weather vane, making crystals, creating simple machines to help learn about inclined planes, wedges and wheels and axles. We will make rock candy too!
If you’re looking for a fun way to learn science with lots of hands-on activities, this is the perfect material for you! Here’s a link to a page that has two free pdf units from the book:
http://funtasticunitstudies.com/science-unit-studies-book/ And here’s a link with some other, fun freebies: http://funtasticunitstudies.com/lessons-and-activities/ to enjoy!! I hear Susan Kilbride is now working on a history series entitled “Our America” as well as an ebook titled “How to Teach about Electricity for Ages 8-13″. Personally, I can’t wait to see both of these…Perhaps for The Crew to review? :-)