Elemental Science: Gearing Up, Cutting Up

Before I get started…if you’re looking for something simple for science, I just discovered this free PDF resource from the International Council of Associations for Science Education (ICASE) which is packed with 60 pages of simple, fun-looking experiments demonstrating a wide variety of principles.

coversSo over Shabbos (lots of time to myself), I found myself longing for the simplicity of Living Learning Science, our previous literature-based science “curriculum.”  I don’t think anybody else uses it, and even I didn’t do everything it suggested, but it was nice as a reading guide, and very easy to follow and stick with. 

(There ARE other Living Learning Books:  Earth Science & Astronomy and Chemistry.  But they’re for slightly older kids, and I think a bit out of our grasp right now.)

I realized one thing I liked very much last year was having everything in one binder.  Elemental Science gives you everything in about four sections of two different books:  lesson plans, narration pages, experiment pages, weekly quizzes. 

For supreme simplicity, I wanted EVERYTHING IN ONE PLACE.  So I resolved to create an “Elemental Science all-in-one binder.”

Today, I hobbled out to Staples only to find (doh!) we were an hour early.  They open at 11.  So I took the kiddies to a park nearby, which they loved and I gritted my teeth and experimented with various uncomfortable positions to stick my leg out into.  (Resting sideways on a park bench was best.)

Finally, the store was open!  We hobbled around gathering the binder and a few other supplies, and then I came home and begged YM to take the kiddies outside into the wading pool.

I sliced the pages out of the spines four at a time and stuck them all in the binder.

As much as possible, I kept all the materials together by week – ie Week 1 lesson plan, quiz, narration (no experiment).  The narration, quiz and experiment pages are double-sided, so they’re not all with the exact lesson, but they’re close enough.

The other thing I did is flip over the lesson plan pages.  The author of Elemental Science has essentially provided two sets of lesson plans in one book:  one for two-day-a-week science and one for five-day-a-week science.  You cover the same material, it’s just organized differently.  And in the original book, the five-day-a-week lesson plans face up.  So I flipped them over, because science is two days a week in our world… if we even have enough time for that.

 science 002 

Lesson plan page & lesson plan w/matching quiz (some of the quizzes are pretty dopey, but might be fun):

science 003 science 004 

Back of a lesson plan page with an experiment page; narration page with lesson plan:

science 005 science 006 
Everything that couldn’t be grouped neatly by week, I stuck in the back behind one of several dividers I made out of the extra covers (one front, two back):

science 008

So now we’re ready! 

Oh, except drat of all drats, I seem to have double-ordered each of the main experiment books to go along with this program:  Janice VanCleave’s Science Around the World and Biology for Every Kid.  If anybody needs an extra, let me know (remove the X’s) and I’ll give you a VERY reasonable rate!

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p.s.  If you’re using Elemental Science, they’ve just added a forum, which I think is a TON more flexible than Yahoo groups (I intensely dislike Yahoo groups – where else do you have to post in PLAIN TEXT these days???).  If you have an opinion, vote here.


  1. Hi Jennifer - I saw on the Elemental Science yahoo group that you had written your own poems to go along with the ES biology lesson plans. Are you still making these available to others using this curriculum? I really hope so! I'm having trouble finding them on your blog. Can you help me out? Thanks, Shawna


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