If you are looking for a fun, hands on approach to homeschool science, or even some science ideas for teachers in a public or private setting, I suggest checking out Funtastic Unit Studies.
They have a book full of science unit studies… Aptly named Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers.
My kids and I have had the opportunity to look over the book and try it out over the last few weeks, because they sent us a complimentary copy so we could review it for you wonderful people reading right now!!
There are 20 chapters (or units) in the book and each chapter will take approximately 2 weeks for you and your children to complete. This, of course, depends on how many days per week you use it, as well as how many of the resource ideas or lessons you choose to complete within each unit. (That was a mouthful! Bottom line… Each unit will take about 2 weeks.)
The first 10 chapters are written with the 4-7 year old students in mind. The next 10 chapters are for students ages 8-13. Of course, the age can vary depending on the child. And if you are like me, your kids will all work together on it.
We will use this book throughout this school year with my 7, 11, and 13 year old students. My 11 and 13 year olds will still do the first 10 chapters with us. Why? Because I like to torture them. Kidding!! … Seriously, though, I will have them do those chapters with their 7 year old sister, because they will still learn something from it! If nothing else, it will be review and that is still good for them.
I will not have them do all the little projects, but I may have them help their sister with a project. If there is a movie suggestion, they won’t have to watch it, unless they just want to watch it.
Movie suggestion, you say? Yes, within each chapter is a list of suggested extra resources. I a few of the younger chapters, it is Magic Schoolbus books and movies. Whether the older two will admit it or not, they still like the Magic Schoolbus, so that works for us!
Each chapter/unit begins with a complete list of materials you will need in order to accomplish everything in the unit. This is helpful so we are prepared before we even begin!
The subjects are quite varied. You will learn about the senses, the human body, botany, insects, chemistry, physics, weather, and more!
When you get to the older unit studies in the last half of the book, there are short quizzes for the students to complete.
What we did:
You can start with whatever unit you would like, but we started at the very beginning, because it seemed like a good place to start. (Does anyone else hear Julie Andrews when they read that?)
The first unit called “Our Senses”. This is a fun one for little ones especially. Again, the first 10 chapters are geared towards 4-7 year olds.
It starts with simply explaining what the five senses are and how we use them to tell us about our surroundings.
From there, you get to do lots of fun activities. We didn’t do all of them, because my kids have done a few of them through our homeschool enrichment program. (Like putting smelly things in jars and having them guess what it is.)
Some of the other things we might have done before, but it was fun to do it again. To teach the kids about sweet, salty, bitter and sour tastes, we got to samples some yummy (and not so yummy) foods!
Another fun one that we did was putting different objects into a paper bag and have the kids reach in and try to guess what the item was just by how it felt in their hand!
And, it was neat learning how our body can “trick” us into thinking something is hotter or colder than what it really is using hot, cold, and lukewarm water. (You’ll have to get the book to see what I’m talking about!)
There were a few stories to read in between activities and at the end of the unit, there was a written activity that is kind of like mad libs. Those are always fun!!
I liked this. I actually gave my kids the quizzes orally before we did the unit to see how much they knew before we got started. That gives us a nice base to start with before we dig deeper into the subject!
If you like hands on science, you will like this book! It really does seem to have a little bit of everything!
Information at a glance:
What is it? Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers from Funtastic Unit Studies… a book full of fun activities to make Science fun and interesting.
For whom? Ages 4-13
How much is it? $16.95