Sunday, July 31, 2011

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.