Tag Archives: science

Quick Activity for Weather Unit Wrap-up

Quick Activity for Weather Unit Wrap-up

Today, my oldest came to me to let me know she had finished her meteorology book yesterday. Um – y’all – that came as a surprise! I suddenly needed something to act as a wrap-up and “final project.” Quick thinking resulted and I remembered something she has not done in a long time – creating a cross-word puzzle.

Bingo!

It was perfect. I assigned her the creation of a cross-word puzzle using the vocabulary of the book. She had to create a puzzle with at least 20 words in it from the highlighted vocabulary of her book. Each clue had to use the definition of the word. And, so she didn’t have to do the busy work of creating the grid for the puzzle, we found a free online puzzle maker – http://puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com/CrissCrossSetupForm.asp

It was super easy for her to do, made her consider what words were important, and gave a fun final project that wasn’t just busy work. The cross-word puzzle was printed out and the youngest giggly girl wants to do it. So, tomorrow, the puzzle will get worked.

To complement the puzzle, the oldest giggly girl will also be doing a written project where she will write about her favorite sections of the book, including what she learned. I had initially asked her to write a simple page on her favorite chapter of the book. She asked permission to expand it because there were interesting and fun tidbits in all of the sections, so she didn’t want to skip any of that.

I can’t express how happy that made me because what it told me was that she enjoyed her learning and she learned more than she expected to. So, over the next three days she will be writing her paper about what she learned in meteorology.

Final project – check!

This is not the complete end of her high school meteorology class but it is a good, solid end to the first half of the year.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Quick Activity for Weather Unit

2019 Blue Ribbon Awards ~ a look back at the Crew year

The Results Are In

As we do each year, the Homeschool Review Crew has voted for their favorite products from the reviews done in 2019. Our last reviews for the year will post next week, so every has had a chance to use all of the products for several weeks. The Crew chooses the categories and we spent a bit of time a week ago working through our choices in each category. Today, we are sharing that with you. So, let’s jump right in.

Writing Curriculum: Jump In from Sharon Watson

Language Arts (complete curriculum): Hewitt Homeschool’s Lightning Lit

Grammar Resource: Easy Grammar

Literature Curriculum: LitWits (review posting next week)

History/Social Studies: Drive Thru History

History Supplement: Library and Educational Services books

Science Curriculum: CrossWired Science

Math Curriculum: CTCMath

Math Supplement: Channie’s Page-A-Day workbooks

Middle School/Young Adult Book: Britfield & The Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart

Biography: Elizabeth Prentiss: More Love from Christian Focus

Poetry or Audio Drama: Heirloom Audio’s For The Temple

Fine Arts: Creating A Masterpiece’s Drawing Program

Elective: Stopmotion Explosion

Bible Supplement: Drive Thru History’s Acts to Revelation

Favorite Elementary School Product: Homeschool In The Woods – Project Passport:Middle Ages (we used only the timeline for our elementary student though our high school student has completed the whole study)

Favorite Middle School Product: Stopmotion Explosion

Favorite High School Product: Britfield & The Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart

Favorite Parent Product: Transcripts Made Easy by Everyday Education

Best Resource I Didn’t Know I Needed: Stopmotion Explosion

Favorite Fun Resource: Brain Blox Building Planks AND Fun Family Chess (but we could only vote for one so we voted for the planks)

Helpful Tool/Resource: Transcripts Made Easy by Everyday Education

Miss J – Kid’s Choice: Brain Blox Building Planks

Miss L – Teen’s Choice: Stopmotion Explosion

Miss E – Teen’s Choice: The Kingdom Code (financial education)

Adult’s Choice: Creating A Masterpiece’s Drawing ProgramThe REsults are in

So there you have them – our choices of products we really enjoyed. Now, to be fair, there were several of these categories where we had to negotiate with each other for a final choice because there were more than one choice someone wanted to vote for. So, just because it isn’t linked here, doesn’t mean we didn’t like the product. So, you could always search for TOS Reviews on the blog here to get all of the reviews we have done or search by subject or topic to narrow it down.

By the way – The Crew is still adding bloggers, vloggers, and social media influencers to the team for the 2020 Crew year. If you are interested, visit the Crew site to read more about the requirements and find the application. We do enjoy expanding our team and would like to have you join us.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Click on the image below to see the 2019 Blue Ribbon Award winners as chosen by the votes from members of the Homeschool Review Crew. You can also find a link up with other bloggers who have shared their family’s favorites from the 2019 Crew year.

Homeschool-Review-Crew-Favorite-Homeschool-Products-for-2019

A Round-up of Bird Study Resources

Bird Study Resources

We are studying birds with our upper elementary student. Again. Because she is fascinated. You can read about what we did a couple of years ago and see the resources we used that year on the post about birds.

This year, we are going more in depth about the different birds, habitats, migration, anatomy, and all the other stuff. We have pulled all the bird books we have one the shelves and are reading through them or the parts of them that pertain to birds. I have pulled the DVDs we have and have bookmarked things on Netflix and Amazon. We have a ton of material to cover this year!

Some of these links are to product reviews that I have done. Others are to blog posts that I have written in regards to the item. One is an affiliate link; it is marked as such.

Picture Books:

Field Guides:

  • The Sibley’s Field Guide To Birds of Western North America, written and illustrated by David Allen Sibley
  • Texas Birds: A Folding Pocket Naturalist’s Guide to familiar species
  • Birds of Central Texas: A Guide to Common and Notable Species
  • Favorite Audubon Birds of America with Introduction and Commentaries by Roger Tory Peterson
  • Identifying and Feeding Birds (a BirdWatcher’s Digest book) by Bill Thompson III

Science Curriculum Books:

  • Apologia’s Flying Creatures – lessons 1-6
  • Christian Nature Readers Level 4 – chapters 2-9
  • The Usborne Complete First Book of Nature – pages 2-24
  • Creation Club Idea Book: Experiencing Nature with Children of All Ages at Home, School, Camp, or Church by Constance H. Crossman – pages 25-40
  • What’s That Bird? from Memoria Press
  • CrossWired Science (affiliate link) – They have a short study unit on birds called Mighty Feathers. It is supposed to include around 30 hours of work if we do it all.

DVDs/movies/videos:

  • Flight: the genius of birds (from Illustra Media)
  • Wild America – season 2 is all about birds (part of Amazon Prime Video at the time of this writing)
  • Super Nature Wild Flyers (on Netflix at the time of this writing)
  • Beak & Brain: Genius Birds From Down Under (on Netflix at the time of this writing)
  • Bird Brain by Nova (on Netflix at the time of this writing)
  • Birders (on Netflix at the time of this writing)
  • Dancing With the Birds (coming to Netflix but not yet there at the time of this writing)
  • Birds of the Backyard (on Amazon Prime Video at the time of this writing)
  • Nature: Season 4 Episode 3 – on ostrich, emu and the rhea (on Amazon Prime Video at the time of this writing)
  • Hummingbirds, narrated by David Attenborough (on Amazon Prime Video at the time of this writing)
  • First Flight: A Mother Hummingbird’s Story (on Amazon Prime Video at the time of thie writing)
  • Audubon – a video that combines a biography of Audubon, the man’s art, and live shots of the birds that correspond to his drawings (on Amazon Prime Video at the time of this writing)

Other:

  • A Charm of Goldfinches And Other Wild Gatherings: Quirky Collective Nouns of the Animal Kingdom by Matt Sewell
  • A Nest For Celeste by Henry Cole (I don’t own this book but it looks good and includes a lot of information about Audubon and his apprentice and his artwork) – read more about it on a friend’s blog)

The more I look, the more I find to explore and learn about. We are spending a bit of time on Friday afternoons at the Arboretum here locally and seeing which birds we can see. Hopefully, we can find a good place to settle in and do some sketching.

I am really enjoying this unit and I think so is Miss J. If you know of additional resources that might fit in, please leave a comment with it below. There is always room for more, right?

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

A Round-up of Bird Study Resources

Destination Moon ~ Book Club

September's Book Club

Oh y’all – August just blew right up and caught me completely unaware. I did not get a post up for that and gave myself permission to skip it. But, I have September’s ready and it is a lovely read on the space race.

Destination Moon: The Remarkable and Improbably Voyage of Apollo 11
by Richard Maurer

Destination Moon recounts the components of the space race from WWII until the end of the Apollo program. This gives a nice, easy-to-read chronology of the events that brought the US to the moon six times. The book brings us to know not only the astronauts that flew on the rockets and landed on the moon, but also those scientists and politicians that made sure the program kept moving forward. The political tensions and social issues are not ignored, as they all played such an important role in the space race.

The way in which the characters involved are introduced is fabulous, bringing them into the picture one-by-one, giving their history. It is easy to see how the role they each played was important.

The book contains 36 chapters and seven briefings, broken down into six parts:

  • War
  • Dreams
  • Spacemen
  • The Plan
  • Crews
  • The Moon

Filled throughout with black and white photographs of the events and people, this is a wonderful resource for learning more about how the United States made it to the moon.

Want to read another review? Check out A Net In Time. This is where I first heard of this recounting of the true story so I decided to pick it up from the library and I am really glad I did. I learned so much reading through this chronology of the events that brought US astronauts to the moon.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

There are additional resources to be found on SchoolhouseTeachers.com related to space – some to experiments and some are lessons on the spacecraft. A lesson on manned spacecraft, one on models and space exploration, one on space probes, and then some others with the space themed activities. Please consider using the link above (affiliate link – if you choose to purchase a membership with them, I will receive a small commission).

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Inner Space Cavern

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To start off our “new year”, we did many of our norms – took the day off, made grade level signs and took pictures, had a fun breakfast (see this on our Instagram account), and enjoyed the leisurely day. But we also took a field trip on day two. We went to Austin for some items we had to pick up and on the way back, we made a stop at Inner Space Cavern.

This cavern is found right alongside I-35. In fact, it was discovered because of the construction of the interstate. When they were drilling as part of building the road, they punctured the cavern and lost the drill bit. They actually punctured it 8 time, I think they said. One of the men decided he had to get the drill bit back and a geologist rode the giant drill down into the cavern with a tiny little light to find the bit. He also found some amazing formations. Of course, they looked completely different to him, probably, with only a small light and not the beautiful lighting they have in there now. But still, it was probably stunning to him to see the giant cavern.

It is interesting to stand in the quiet and hear the rumbling of the vehicles overhead on the interstate. At one point, the guide turns all the lights off and you get to absorb the absolute darkness. It is so interesting. The tour we took was about an hour and we had a fabulous tour guide. He knew the history of the cave and a large amount of the scientific information to go along with it. He added his own humor and entertained questions of all sorts from my chatty youngest. She kept up to the front of the tour group and chatted with him for a large part of the time. She asked all sorts of questions and he did a good job answering them (at least from my perspective at the back with my oldest).

All three girls seemed to really enjoy the outing but I know from hanging out with the oldest at the back that she was thoroughly pleased that we had stopped and taken the tour. In fact, she is begging to come back and do the hardest tour, where they strap a light on you and you go spelunking in tiny crevices and your light is the only source. It is definitely off the main path and is not a very big group, thus the much higher price point than the tour we took yesterday.

The formations we got to see were just beautiful. They were interesting and hearing about how they form and grow was just as enjoyable as it has been since I was a child. Learning about the number of animals whose bones were found in the cavern was interesting and it was neat to see the drawings that had been created on a retaining wall. There was a giant sinkhole that had formed and that was interesting to see the evidence of, also. Some of the bones had been taken up to the visitor’s center and were on display there. Most, though, as still down in the cavern, as exposure to air and moisture disintegrates them very quickly since they have not had the compression necessary to fossilize them.

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Another really interesting part was the room where we were shown flint forming on the ceiling. The flint looked totally different on the outside but when it was cut open, there was the tell-tale color of black. That was really interesting to see in a natural setting.

The rough patches on the smooth rock are the flint beginning to form. To the left of that, there are some large, almost tooth-shaped rocks with a lot of rough rock below it. That is the exposed fault line.

The rough patches on the smooth rock are the flint beginning to form. To the left of that, there are some large, almost tooth-shaped rocks with a lot of rough rock below it. That is the exposed fault line.

In that same room, he showed us the evidence of the Balcones Fault line. It is the only fault running through Texas and has had its top layers of rock interlock like strong legos. It is so strong, the guide said, that we would be safer under the fault line in the cavern than above it were an earthquake to hit. The interlocked rocks would hardly move! And we were able to see that fault line and broken rock from when it shook many, many, many years ago. Really fascinating.

Inner Space Cavern is not quite as large as Carlsbad, which I have posted about on from 2017 and 2013, but it is just a beautiful cave and is privately operated. I am so glad we stopped to check it out.

Edit to add: A blogger contacted me to let me know she had a fairly thorough unit study to go along specifically with Inner Space but really, guys, it looks like it would work great for all caves. You can find it on her blog Waco Mom.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

New Mexico Bucket List – V ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet V image

There are some things in New Mexico that seem just, well, strange. As we noted in an earlier post, one of these is volcanoes in New Mexico. The other is what is called the Very Large Array or VLA. Let’s visit the VLA first.

VLA A024,_VLA_Radio_Telescopes,_New_Mexico,_USA,_2001

By Brian W. Schaller – Own work, FAL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30495896

The Very Large Array is an astronomical radio observation station. You will find the VLA about 50 miles west of the city of Socorro, out on the plains. There are 27 of the radio antennas out there, positioned in a large Y shape. Each of the antennas is 82 feet in diameter. The uniqueness of this is that each of the signals is combined to essentially create a single signal from what is the equivalent of a receiver 22 miles by 422 feet.

VLA Karl_G._Jansky_Very_Large_Array_(8279314499)

By BriYYZ from Toronto, Canada – Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25905886

So what does the VLA actually do? From the National Radio Astronomy Observatory site, “Radio astronomy is the study of celestial objects that give off radio waves. With radio astronomy, we study astronomical phenomena that are often invisible or hidden in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.” The gathered information is used by astronomers around the world.

On northward now to the Valles Caldera National Preserve. I think I may have put park on the image that I made for this week but it is technically a preserve, handled under the National Park Service. This area is located in the north-central part of the state in the Jemez Mountains. The preserve includes most of the caldera created by an eruption many, many years ago. A caldera is formed when the ground collapses into the magma chambers as the magma is erupted in a series of eruptions. (Yellowstone is another example of a caldera.)

The caldera is dormant, though not extinct. According to the NPS site, there are signs of volcanic life including boiling sulphuric acid fumaroles and hot springs. This area is considered one of the world’s best examples of an intact volcanic caldera.

In addition to the volcanic history found here, there is also plenty of examples of human history. This area was widely used for hunting and gathering lifestyles prior to the agricultural lifestyle that came about. The area has great obsidian deposits and many native cultures treasure the area and its resources. There is also a history here of the Spanish and Mexican settlements in the area, including some important land grants.

Valles Caldera Mountain_Bikers1

mountain bikers at Valles Caldera photo from National Park Service

The park is a beautiful place and there are many activities visitors can participate in. Of course, there is hiking and camping. There is fishing, horseback riding, visiting historic sites, mountain biking, and other activities including ranger-led options.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet V vertical image

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

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You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

Hands-on Science with Supercharged Science ~ a Crew review

Supercharged Science

If your students are anything like my girls, science that can be either really exciting or teeth-pulling stressful. We have been having some really excellent science days lately with Supercharged Science. The online science curriculum we have been working with has options for K-12 (and beyond). I am so glad we are going to have access to the  e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum for a good bit longer because we are having some good fun with it. Oh, and learning science, too!

SuperCharged-Science-logo

Aurora Lipper is the founder and educator for the online classes. With the tremendous science background Mrs. Lipper has, your students get to say that they are taking science from a rocket scientist. And they are! Mrs. Lipper knows her materials very well and does a great job presenting them in a way that keeps the student’s attention while filling their heads with the knowledge they need for the topic.

The online science space for Supercharged Science can be navigated by grade level or by topic. You can choose either one and you can easily jump back and forth between the two navigation options. You have a single login for your family and so from there, they each will go to where their current work is located.

If you are navigating by grade level, you will see an image for each grade level, K-8. High school level material is found in the topics. Under each grade level is the list of the concepts taught in that level. Some of the concepts are found in multiple levels as the material increases in depth and some of the hands-on activities/experiments are repeated in different levels since the material is appropriate in multiple places. The placement of materials is based upon Mrs. Lipper’s experience as an educator and the national science standards.

Screenshot 2019-05-27 at 5.29.34 PM

If you are navigating by topic, you click that at the top of the screen and it will take you to a list of all possible topics. There are total of 26 units. If you are new to science, or formal science, there is an overview of science and an introduction to the scientific method. There is also a unit on science fair projects, one on math activities, and one on teaching resources. Add in all the units on electricity, chemistry, physics, and other expected science topics and that’s a ton of materials!

Screenshot 2019-05-27 at 5.46.28 PM

The units, whether accessed by level or topic, contain basically the same materials:

  • written introduction
  • video introduction
  • shopping list for hands-on activities/experiments
  • reading downloads
  • experiments with a video for each one
  • downloadable student worksheet and exercises for each experiment (often one for younger students and one for older students)
  • exercises for each part of the unit to check understanding

reading and exercises

How We Have Been Using Supercharged Science

When we received access to the program, I logged in and became familiar with how to navigate the program. (We reviewed this program previously and the navigation is the same at this point. However, see my note at the end of the review on the soon-to-be-released new site with better navigation.)

Screenshot 2019-05-27 at 5.52.42 PMThen Miss J and I sat down together and I let her just explore the options. We looked at grade level and then at topics. I let her watch some of the videos and look at the possible experiments. After looking at the grade five level, she decided that she wanted to do some things with gravity and magnetism. So, she started working on Unit 1: Mechanics through the topics menu. I bookmarked the main page of this for her, with her name next to Supercharged Science, so that she could easily find where she was.

Miss L sat down on her own and explored the options. She chose to work with Unit 10: Electricity. She really wants to tackle Unit 14: Electronics but realized that it would be good to have the background of electricity first. So, she has been working through that unit first. She also has the unit bookmarked with her name on it so that she doesn’t have to click through many pages to get to where she is in the unit. We have updated the pages a couple of times as she works through the unit so there is less clicking needed. (It looks like the number of clicks that will be needed is going to be a bit less on the new site.)

Miss E has been watching the videos on the high school level Unit 15: Chemistry 2. She did a chemistry class this year and so seeing some of that chemistry put into use has been a great extension of her course. She watches probably two experiments per day. Since this is “bonus” work for the chemistry class she took, she is not doing the worksheets.

Mechanics: 

This unit covers force, gravity and friction. There are 9 experiments to go with force. There are two teleclasses and three experiments to go with gravity. There are seven experiements to go with friction. We work on science 4 days per week and we generally do one video and experiment per day. We are in the friction section now and it has been a blast getting here.

Miss J enjoys hands-on and so this is obviously just right for her. She likes to see things done for her (the video to go along with each experiment is perfect for this) and then she likes to do them. She has found most of the experiments are able to be replicated, though not as easily as the video makes them look. (But isn’t that a great lesson – try, try again?)

hovercraft

Some of her favorite lessons have been the barrel roof, the paper airplanes, and the simple hovercraft. She has also done several experiments with balls (dropping them, throwing them, comparing them).

 

While those demonstrated concepts well, the real fun comes when you make something. We made a simple compass, made a paper clip fly, and registered the minute movements of the earth’s electromagnetic field with a machine we made.

 

She even used static electricity to move objects.

Each of these lessons varies widely in the amount of time required. If you are viewing a teleclass, the video can be close to 50 minutes. If you are doing a simple experiment, like the one we did about force using a rope, it can be just a couple of minutes for the video and five more for the experiment. Some days, you can easily get in more than one experiment and that is why the shopping list is great. You can use it to gather all the materials you need for the unit before even starting the unit. That saves time in the long run because no one likes to spend time gathering materials for the experiment when the student is ready RIGHT NOW for the experiment.

Electricity:

Miss L has been able to do most of this unit on her own, though some of the experiments she has skipped because I couldn’t find the right materials (that I KNOW we have some where). *See note above about the shopping list and gathering materials prior to the unit.* She works very independently so I am not exactly sure just how far she has gotten in the unit. She does one video and experiment each day. electricity experiment 1

This unit has two lessons: circuits and components, and robotics. In the circuits and components sections, there are 13 experiments. In the robotics section, there are 15 experiments. Miss L has made some interesting looking contraptions with her experiments, some of which have worked well and some which have not. For one that did not work we were able to determine that it was probably due to the humidity levels (over 90% that day) so she plans to try it again soon. It is a good lesson for the student to have to figure out why something isn’t working like Mrs. Lipper says it should. Lots of lessons are learned that way.

Chemistry:

chemistry video

This unit includes 2 lessons. The first has one teleclass and nine videos. The second has one teleclass and 38 (yes! 38!) experiment videos. Many of the videos in this unit are for things we cannot do at the house so it is amazing to have good videos of the chemical reactions and excellent explanations of the results that are being seen.

Miss E spends about 20 – 30 minutes on this each day. Because we are using this as an extension of her previous chemistry class, I am not requiring the worksheets or exercises from her.

Overall Thoughts

This is an exciting online science program with solid explanations and clear examples. With all of the visual examples of the concepts being show in the experiments and then being able to do most of the experiments, this truly is a science program that teaches and shows the concepts. The students are truly able to see and understand better because of this.

When we reviewed this previously, it was just as good of a program but it didn’t fit us as well. The girls were younger and so it took a lot more preparation on my part (gathering materials and deciding what videos to watch, etc). I had to do all of the navigating and they didn’t always want to work on the same materials. With them older and more independent, this is a much better fit. I don’t know that this program will peter out of use as it did before since the girls are each working on something that is of interest to them. They all seem to be getting much more out of it this time around.

Note on New Site

There will be a new Supercharged Science site introduced soon. The content is all going to remain the same. There will still be all the same parts of each unit and the worksheets and videos will all still be available as they are on the current site. The new site will have easier navigation and is easier on the eyes. There is less of the stark white and more soothing blue, which makes it a pleasant experience. The girls and I have been given a sneak-peek at the new site and I really do like the way it is going to be set up. It will make navigation easier. We will still bookmark each girls’ part of the site in a different bookmark so they can get to their own unit easily but overall, it is much easier to go from place to place and to get to the worksheets or videos or whatever you need within the unit. Be looking for this new site to roll out soon.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

A number of families from the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out Supercharged Science.

Head over to the Crew blog to read about their experiences.

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