Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What we did for Science this Year

Something I love about my son becoming a more independent learner is running into questions that he already knows the answers to, and that I do not. 

He'll say things like:

Oh, they do that with radiation.


That's a Red-billed Oxpecker.

and I'll be like... A wha-wha??? Where'd you learn THAT? 

Of course, there is not one answer to that question. Lu has learned these things from the books we've used in Science class. He's learned from conversations with his dad, and from documentaries we've watched together. He learns from observing the world around him, and connecting the dots.

Here's a little overview of the main science resources we used this year:

The DK Encyclopedia is divided into seven chapters: World Regions, People and Society, History of People, Living World, Science and Technology, Planet Earth, and Space and the Universe. With books like this, I recommend coming up with some questions for review and discussion. The book doesn't provide the questions, so I read ahead and prepared them myself. It was totally worth it. Lu learned SO much from this book.

I wanted to include some Spanish resources in our science classes so that Lu would be familiarized with science vocabulary in his mother tongue. It's full of fun little bits of information. For this one, Lu came up with his own questions, which he would write down and answer in a notebook - this also meant that he was getting in some Spanish writing in science class. 

When you homeschool, multi-tasking is a must!

Mr. Q's Life Science packet was also jam-packed with science learning that kept Lu engaged and wanting more. Each chapter includes about five pages of reading and three activity pages. With Mr. Q, Lu learned about Living and Non-Living Things, Biomes/Ecosystems, Life Cycles, Classification, Food Webs, and The Five Senses. Lu really likes the way the chapters are formatted, as well as the way Mr. Q talks to the reader. We are saving the last three units - Body Organs, Cells, and Nutrition and Health - for next year, because I plan to expand on them with other resources.

How To Think Like a Scientist was the only book I actually bought for science this year. I recommend borrowing it from the library for a very clear explanation of the Scientific Method. Lu read the book by himself and then did some independent experiments to try out the steps, and recorded his findings. It wasn't the most exciting thing we did in science class this year, but understanding the Scientific Method is important.

Animal Hide and Seek was totally awesome for reviewing biomes and learning about all kinds of different animals. Lu would read a page and then I'd quiz him by naming animals for him to point to. It was a simple activity, but very effective for sparking an interest in zoology and understanding how vast the Animal Kingdom is.

 And, our favorite science teacher - David Attenborough.

 We watched around 30 hours of BBC nature documentaries, 
usually at lunchtime.

We watched the series
First Life, Life, Planet Earth,  
and (my very favorite) Life of Birds.

Lu quotes David Attenborough on a regular basis, showing that he has retained an amazing amount of information from these wonderful films. 

If I had to choose only one science resource, it would definitely be YouTube for documentaries and science videos.


  1. My girls and I got sucked into a mini-marathon of few Life episodes last night. I definitely see utilizing these resources in soon.

  2. We often watch nature documentaries before bed. Even my 2-yo will ask for a "docka-mentry". We love David Attenborough, and my 5-yo will quote him too :)!