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.
So 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.
Lesson plan page & lesson plan w/matching quiz (some of the quizzes are pretty dopey, but might be fun):
Back of a lesson plan page with an experiment page; narration page with lesson plan:
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!
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.