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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Finds & Thoughts for K-4 Science

I had chosen Living Learning Chemistry for 3rd grade but when it arrived, I was a little disappointed. I had hoped it contained a 'living' books list to read from but found out it didn't. The plans are simple and easy to use but that really isn't what I was looking for. I created my own book list to accompany the curriculum to create more of what I was looking for and I am content to use it knowing that it will provide what I was looking to provide academics-wise.

I started wondering if there was something out there that I had missed somehow that was closer to what I had in mind, plus Danny's science for K and 1st are on my mind while I wait for books to get here through the library about Charlotte Mason and nature study (field guides). I had to order some art supplies because we're running low and Camille's interest has increased so while I was shopping the sales (end 2/29) at Jerry's Artarama and, I discovered a great nature study tool.

The Sketch Folio allows you to carry your sketch book (all-media one included), pencils and drawing tools and possibly a field guide could fit in the right pocket inside. I saw this and thought, how practical and unique to have our own nature journals! With little ones it seems they want me to carry everything on a nature walk, this way we can each carry our own load if we're on a long walk or just take these if it's going to be a short walk. I bought 2 on clearance but I guess I bought the last ones or they've been selling well. I figure I'll use one until Danny is old enough to have his own. Grin. Honestly, a part of me wants to be as artistic as Lee and Barb are, I want to be able draw like that and a nature journal (paired with Drawing With Children) seems like a natural place to start.

I'm reconsidering the science path for K-4 for Danny. I'm reading Ambleside's outline for these years and while their suggestions satisfy a few wants like using the Thorton Burgess books about animals and birds, they don't really cover the topics that Camille and I have. My dream curriculum for 1-4 (life, earth, astronomy, chemistry and physical) science has children's literature to read, easy but engaging projects for the teacher, extension activities that use language arts skills, possibly even contain poetry and multi-media suggestions. I can provide the field trips and other details such as nature walks.

I think I've found it for physical science for 4th grade. Terrific Science has an Integrated Science line and I think Teaching Physical Science Through Children's Literature is what I've been looking for!

Integrate science and language arts while emphasizing the process skills common to both areas.

  • Inspired by favorite stories
  • 20 complete lessons
  • Connects science and language arts
  • Reproducible pages
  • National Science Education Standards
  • Easy-to-understand explanations
  • 244 pages
  • Grades K–4
I'm very thrilled with this find because it uses picture books which will entice Danny to read with us, plus there are writing activities and strong science. The picture books themselves also serve as multicultural learning and it's neat how reading The Rainbow Fish can be for science since "Students observe examples of the three states of matter and identify matter in each of these states." I am so excited to find this!

Terrific Science also has a TOY based science product! Are you kidding me? This is great but I already have my Chemistry curriculum and I'm not changing although this looks very (aaahem) cool!

Teaching Chemistry with TOYS
1-883822-29-7 • Price: $23.95

Exciting projects use ordinary toys and play materials to demonstrate chemistry principles.
  • 42 activities grouped separately for grades K–3, 4–6, and 7–9
  • 296 pages
  • Grades K–9

Terrific Science has wonderful inside views of all their products so you can explore them to see if they may be right for you. I'm not affiliated with them, it's just something I found that I'm excited about. No, I haven't ordered anything and I'm not going to until January 2008. A lot of things change in a year.

I went off on this science tangent because Danny is manageable right now and if I'm going to redo life science lessons, I'd like to do them before September, plus who couldn't get excited about science seeing these products? C'mon! I care about science a great deal especially in the early years. I'm re-evaluating a lot of decisions I made for Camille and I'm trying to find a path that I think will accomplish all of my goals (teach and reach) for Danny's younger years. Of course, I'll write more about this as the decisions are made.

I forgot to mention the books that I want to read no matter what we use as a curriculum: All are available online for free at various websites, just google their titles.
  1. - The Fairy-Land of Science by Buckley
  2. - Burgess Animal Book for Children and Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess
  3. - The Story of Inventions by Frank Bachman
  4. - The Storybook of Science by Jean Henri Fabre (maybe)
  5. - James Herriots's Animal Stories for Children
If I can find a storybook for learning about the human body, I think I'll be set for K-4. Hmm.



jennifer said...


I bought the Living Learning Level Once last year and was dissapointed as well. It was too simple. We never used it. At the moment I just check out books to read and we talk about them (using Books to Build On as a guide) nothing fancy. I have also been looking for a program that uses living books and provides some structure.

Next year (for dd's 3rd grade) we are using Elements Intro to Chemistry for part of the year...if I like it once I see it :) Not sure about the rest of the year though.

Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Waters said...

Apologia science books use the CM method, my girls (5 and 7) love it. We did Exploring Creation through Astronomy Last year and this year we're using both the Flying Creatures and the Botany books more as spines since they're way into both birds ands and flowers right now.

Tina said...

I too purchased LL 1 and was disappointed. But I have heard the higher levels are better. But I guess that depends on what a person is looking for.

I must say I just LOVE those sketch folio's. I showed them to dh and am hoping we will get some for our kids. Thanks so much for sharing about them.

Blessings~Tina in WA

Gatorgal said...

There is a neat site that makes the periodic table simple for kids at
You might find it helpful for next year.
:-) Kristi

my5wolfcubs said...

We enjoyed the Burgess books, actually we've enjoyed everything from AO. Why aren't I an AO homeschooler?? Maybe I will be next year. :)
Anyway, I posted some kittens that *I* drew last fall on my blog, since you said I was artistic. :)

LisaWA said...

Jessica... you busy little beaver you! I love those sketch packs! Did I mention I love them?

So, may I ask? When do you sleep? Do you? You find the coolest stuff! lol

I have teaching physics with toys. Its pretty cool... I have yet to use it! lol I also bought some Knex pulley and lever systems to go with it... those we do play with! Love Knex....

I also Love James Harriot! We have and have read, and read, and read animal stories.... I like his books too... all creatures great and small... hes funny... great sense of humor.

Ok... I think Im all caught up on your posts now! lol

Love ya! Lisa