Tag Archives: science

Carlsbad Caverns

At the end of August, the girls and I were able to take a field trip to New Mexico, my home state. We visited a couple of sites that are pretty special to me and enjoyed our time there and with family quite a bit.

This is the highlights of our time in Carlsbad. We did see the Bat Flight program the night before we hiked the cavern but it is not safe for the bats to have any kind of a device on, so we turned off the cameras and phones and just enjoyed watching. The estimate was that there were about 500,000 bats the night we were there. The Brazilian Free-tailed Bats are a migrating bat so they are not there year round. We truly enjoyed seeing them. The next day, we hiked the cavern and saw lots of beautiful sights. The girls really seemed to enjoy it and we had a pretty good time.

Carlsbad was a specific destination for us since watching the videos about the National Parks. This was one that Miss E has been asking to visit. It was not difficult for us to get there and we definitely enjoyed checking this one off her “bucket list.”

Enjoy our pictures.

At Home.

Advertisements

The Greatest Inventors ~ a Crew review

The Greatest Inventors

Looking for a simple way to start our new school year, we decided that a week-long unit study would be great. Enter A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks and their stand-alone lapbook product, The Greatest Inventors .

Greatest Inventors Lapbook with Study Guide

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks has been around for a while and got its start when a couple of homeschooling moms realized that what they wanted was not to be found. So, they created it! How’s that for ingenuity? That was the start of A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks (AJTL).

AJTL has many products to fit many needs. Whether you are looking for a stand alone study or something to accompany a curriculum you have purchased, AJTL may have just what you need. And if you don’t know exactly what a lapbook is, well, they have a page for that, too. Head over to their site to watch their video about lapbooks. But quickly – lapbooking is a way to simply document learning by completing mini-booklets in different shapes and sizes, keeping the documentation varied and interesting for the student.

We were able to use The Greatest Inventors, a stand-alone lapbooking unit. What that means is that the downloadable product (you can also get a printed version) contains all of the mini-booklets to create the lapbook as well as all the information in a study guide to be able to fill out and complete the lapbook. Each mini-booklet has its own page of information to read. It was a simple unit to complete and we were easily able to use it with our girls, ages 8, 11, and 13.

working on the book report form

How We Used The Greatest Inventors

I printed out all of the mini-booklets from the PDF file. I did not print the study guide pages; we accessed those on the computer when we needed them. I also checked out a book on each inventor from the library, since the study guide was not as high a reading level as I wanted for the two older girls. They needed more of a challenge. (The reading level was perfect for our 8 year old, though.) I placed the books and pages together on the table and the girls took turns picking the inventors they were interested in.

Some of the inventors –

  • Jonas Salk
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Guglielmo Marconi
  • George Eastman
  • Louis Braille
  • The Wright Brothers
  • and many more.

Each day that week, the girls worked on one or more of their inventors. They read the study guide and the books. In some cases, we looked up more information or pictures on the internet with a simple Google search. Then, the girls completed their mini-booklets, as well as the book report form that is included in the PDF.

working on da Vinci

The book report form is a simple form, asking for the name of the book and its author. It asks about the birth and death, the time period, and information about what was understood from the book. It also gives them a chance to be creative, designing a stamp for that inventor. It was fun to talk about stamps being a way to honor someone and their achievements.

Miss J presenting her researchMiss L presenting her research

At the end of the week, we had a presentation. The girls took turns presenting their inventors, the book report, and showing the mini-booklet that was created. We also used this time to open up a discussion about how each invention helped or changed the world. It was a fun day, full of unexpected learning.

Miss E presenting her research

Now, we went pretty far above and beyond the lapbook product itself. But this is a great example of how easy it is to extend these products to include the entire family in learning. Our oldest students got some good research experience, as well as having to present, while it fit perfectly the reading ability and interest level of our youngest. We could easily have just used the mini-booklets and the study guide and we still would have learned a lot.

everyone can change the world

AJTL has simple to use products, though you do need access to a computer and printer if you are purchasing their downloadable products. If that doesn’t work for you, they have printed versions available, as well.A Journey Through Learning

The Homeschool Review Crew had several products that the families were using. These included

These are just a few of the hundreds of titles that A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks has available. There is something for just about every study you can imagine. Visit their page to see what else they have.

At Home.

 

Lapbooks for Classical Conversations, Apologia, Inventors & 20th Century {A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Solar Eclipse 2017 – a photojournal (of sorts)

a photojournal

You knew it was coming, right? Today is a traditional Middle School Monday post and we spent the day observing the sky, searching for crescents (the shadow reflections of the sun), watching videos to learn more, and enjoying the company of friends. What a wonderful day it was.

We turned on the NASA Live channel, which was really quite fascinating. Then, when it got about time for first contact here, we headed outside. We had fun watching it and as it approached peak, we noticed two things that we did not know would happen here (about 70-75% cover): the temperature dropped a good bit and it got noticeably dimmer. I don’t want to say it got cold because it probably stayed in the upper 80s or lower 90s but it definitely was not as hot as it had been earlier. I also don’t want to say it got darker because it was not dark, just much less intense. We no longer had to have sunglasses on to just look at one another. Right before and right after, we also had some wind but that wind was absent during the peak 15 minutes or so. Probably just a fluke but maybe not.

As we knew it was close to peak, we sent the kiddos running around seeing if they could find projections of the eclipse. They found a lot of them! It was really fun seeing them look and experiment with things and then holler “come take a picture of this!” And the leaves moving was so neat, we took a short video of it (you don’t need the sound on).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you didn’t catch it tonight, NOVA produced a really interesting program titled Eclipse Across America. Hopefully they will show it again or you can catch it on their website or something. It was really interesting. We all learned a lot and it was a nice close to our day of solar eclipse information.

At Home.

Race Car Fun

race car fun

I know – something I never thought I would write about. You see, I just don’t see race cars as fun. But then the Mayborn brought this travelling exhibit around.

Miss J was the only girl home for a week while her sisters were at camp and one of her favorite things to do is visit the museum. Doesn’t matter what the changing exhibit is – she wants to go. So we did.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

These are about half of the learning and interactive exhibits that were on hand to learn more about the race cars and the forces that impact the drivers.

At Home.

Bird Identification Resources

Miss J has been fascinated by birds since we did a bird unit a couple of years ago. She is constantly on the lookout for birds and reading about them.

We have started a unit over The Bears on Hemlock Mountain and one of the items in the prereading section of the reading guide from Progeny Press has to do with listening to bird calls and learning to identify some birds. So, we pulled up our old unit and pulled out a few resources.

We used these two videos for bird calls.

We used a poster from the Forest Service to look at bird pictures and we have a field guide that we keep with our binoculars to pull out to help identify the birds we see in the backyard. (You can see the bird guide in the unit study over the book Look Up!)

bird identification resources

Identifying birds, bird watching, and listening to their calls is a fun activity that does not take fancy equipment and can add a lot of joy to life. Whether it be in your backyard, while on a walk, or driving along the way, look for the birds and see what you can see.

Miss J would enjoy hearing from you – what is your favorite bird?

At Home.

Novare Science & Math ~ a Crew review

Novare Earth Science

As our girls get a bit older, we are beginning to look at science courses that are a bit more advanced. Novare Science & Math has science courses for middle school that look appealing. They sent us a copy of Earth Science: God’s World, Our Home for this review.

Novare Science & Math is not a new company but they are new to the homeschooling market. They have a line of science texts and teacher resources. These include (among some other titles):

Earth Science: God’s World, Our Home
Introductory Physics
General Chemistry
Science for Every Teacher

This company is working to bring high quality texts to students in order to help them understand their world. Hand in hand with this understanding, there is a goal to help the students recognize and understand God’s role in the design and creation of the world we live in.

Novare Science & Math 

Their mission is found in three key words: mastery, integration, and kingdom. (Read more about this on the Novare website.)

MASTERY:

The textbook is designed to help the student completely understand the concepts and master them. Each chapter begins with stated learning expectations that are measurable. The chapter is then broken into sections that are numbered. (If your students get help from outlining, this is an awesome feature.) Each section has a few learning check questions that revisit the main points. By answering these in writing with full sentences, the students really absorb the information.

If the accompanying CD is purchased, there are additional materials that really help in the mastery phase. There is a planning schedule to help keep on track and moving forward, as it can be easy to get bogged down. There are weekly quizzes, reviews, and tests. These come with answer keys and are printable so that you can print them as needed. There are also maps for the topography sections, additional links and resource lists, and more. There is a lot on the CD.

INTEGRATION:

This refers to including in the text and accompanying activities, questions, and labs materials that bring other disciplines into the discussion.  One the example would be the inclusion of history by writing about notable inventions or people of influence within the text rather than delegating that information to a separate page or a sidebar. Another would be requiring the student to write complete sentence answers and to verbally express answers in a large or small group setting to incorporate language arts. Math is even included in the science text by having computations for students to do when it is textually appropriate.

Due to the mission of Novare Science & Math, you will find theology throughout the text of  Earth Science: God’s World, Our Home  .

KINGDOM:

The texts present and confirm God’s mastery design for the earth and its inhabitants. This is found throughout all of their texts. While the focus is intended to be on God, the mainstream science laws, theories, and ideas are addressed and included. Novare wants students to be prepared to face the world as it is and to have in hand the information necessary to be a well-spoken advocate for God’s place in nature. With an intentional purpose, the science texts are intended to have the students working towards understanding, conservation, and sustainability.

The Text: Earth Science: God’s World, Our Home

As the title of this text suggests, it covers earth science. Looking at the student introduction gives us a pretty good idea of where it is going: Psalm 24 is quoted. Introducing the students to God’s World is perhaps the main goal of the text. Understanding of the balances in nature, how they work, and how to be good stewards of the earth and its processes are all underlying purposes of having a Novare Earth Science textstudent use this text. The topics include:

  • Earth in Space
  • Maps/topography
  • Science topics (facts, theories, hypotheses, research, Christianity and science, stewardship, and more)
  • Matter and Minerals
  • Rocks and the Rock Cycle
  • Plate Tectonics
  • Volcanoes and Earthquakes
  • Weathering, Erosion, Soils
  • Water
  • Landforms
  • Earth History
  • Oceanography
  • Atmosphere
  • Weather
  • Climate

HOW WE USED IT

Honestly, we struggled. When the text for Earth Science: God’s World, Our Home  first arrived, I was thrilled. It is a lovely, well-constructed book full of beautiful, engaging images. It has a study, hard-back cover that is comfortable to hold. But it is intimidating. The print size is fairly small and there is a lot of it on each page.

After taking a couple of days to kind of absorb the text and how it was set up, I got the CD information (I received it via download). I began going through that download systematically and attempting to put it all into order in my brain about how it was to be used and applied to the text. I finally found a PDF titled Recommendations for Teaching Earth Science and, while it was a long document, it had a lot of helpful tips.

chapter objectives and vocabulary_schedule

Using the tips from that document and the document with the suggested schedule, we got started. The plan, since we were basically in summer school mode, was for Miss E, age 13, to read one section a day and write the answers for the learning check questions. This was about 2-3 pages of reading and 3 questions. After a few days, we realized that this was not going to work. She was struggling with the questions.

We revised our plan. We attempted the same reading schedule with her working through the questions orally with me. That worked better, as I was able to point out within the text what she needed for answering the questions. After answering orally, she wrote the answers in her notebook. This worked for a bit but as we neared the end of the first chapter, I found that she was not retaining the information; she could not remember the details of what she had read. So, we revised again.

This time, she would read one day and work on vocabulary words. The next day, she would read the same text again and work on the questions with me. After trying this for a while, something was still not clicking with her.

My thoughts on that? This text is designed for middle-school students. So, with Miss E heading into 8th grade, it seems as though it ought to fit. While having the objectives and full vocabulary list at the beginning of the chapters is helpful from a teaching perspective, I can see it being frightening from a student perspective. (I have to know ALL of THAT?!?) I am certain that some of it also has to do with the jump in font size and text density per page from her previous science text to this one. This one is also written at a much higher, more academic reading level that takes more effort to understand.learning checks example

OVERALL

I think Novare Science & Math is a great addition to the homeschool market and I am excited to see more of their products. I do believe that this is a text we will use but I don’t know if it will be this coming year. We may need to add an in-between text that doesn’t create such a gap between the way her previous text was written and this one. But, I do like this one a lot and hope we can revisit it before too long.

I think any science loving student will be able to jump into this text easily, perhaps even as early as sixth grade, and absorb the information. Some of the material may be a bit too advanced but it really does depend on the student. Novare Science & Math is a company that I will be keeping in mind as we move forward in our homeschooling journey.

At Home.

Be certain to read more about Novare Science & Math and their other products that have been reviewed by the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking the banner below.

Biblical Based Science {Novare Science & Math Reviews} 

Crew Disclaimer

Passive Teaching – Middle School Monday

National Parks and passive teaching

I often forget just how effective passive teaching is. By passive teaching, I mean setting up a situation where the student is “invited” without words to participate in something that will educate.

A year or so ago, I stumbled across a set of DVDs about America’s national parks. They have sat on the shelf. I have often thought it would be interesting to pull them out to view but the right opportunity just never appeared. Until the other day.

I had some time and wanted to watch TV. I saw those and decided that I wanted to watch them. I knew the girls were in the living room and honestly, I expected them to leave to play in their rooms or outside when I put these on. Guess what? They didn’t.

National Parks DVDs

They hung around, still doing their own things. But they were listening. I know because every once in a while, from behind the couch, I would hear “wow!” or “I bet that’s neat.” It was whispered and not necessarily meant to be heard, so I never responded. I loved that they were paying attention, even if they were only hearing things, while keeping their hands busy with activity.

Then again, the other evening, I put a disc on to watch. My oldest daughter was on the couch reading. She very quickly put her book down to watch with me. She often commented about things she thought were neat. At one point she got up and left the room. I thought “Nice while she was here and I’m glad she watched as much as she did.” Just a moment later she returned with coloring materials in her hands. She proceeded to watch more with me. And, when I was about to turn it off, she asked if I would leave it on and watch more with her. So, I did. We still have 2 discs to go, too!

I had no thought that in doing something interesting for myself that it would attract their interests. I always hope so. But I never plan for that. Now, though, I have a daughter who has an interest in visiting a number of different national parks. In fact, she asked if she made of list of the ones she wants to see, if we could go visit some of them in the next couple of years. She understands that some are very far away and we can’t just up and go. But her interest is piqued. And isn’t that what we are hoping for? Interest?

It may be short lived or fleeting. But it is there. If we feed that interest, who knows where it will go. So, on our next trip to NM, I am hoping we can detour through Carlsbad (not really too far out of the way) and visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park again. It is first on her list.

At Home.

%d bloggers like this: