05 June 2015

2015-2016 School Plans: Science

Today I'm sharing another post about our ideas for the coming school year. Up next: science.

{Click on these links to check out our plans for mathlanguage artsgeography, and history.}


Last fall the Agents and I spent ten days in Washington D.C. (You can read about it here.) Agent E was completely fascinated by our visits to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History—so much so that we spent three of our ten days exploring this one museum—and this greatly influenced what we will cover in our science studies for this year.

{Tip: Many museums have a kids' section on their website with fun facts, games, and quizzes. We keep several bookmarked for Agent entertainment, including Smithsonian Kids.} 

Her absolute favorite was the Human Origins exhibit. Up until this visit, we had barely touched on human evolution in our homeschooling. We mentioned it vaguely during 2nd grade, and I'm pretty sure we read the book Our Family Tree at one point, but that was about it. Yet, for some reason she was totally drawn to this part of the museum.

Unfortunately we never really got a good study of evolution off the ground during this current school year. We already had several other topics we wanted to look at, and we ended up following a lot of rabbit holes, so despite great interest it ended up getting pushed aside. But, we have decided to make it a focal point for next year.

Although it might be a bit advanced, the primary text we have chosen is Evolution: The Human Story by Dr. Alice Roberts. It is divided into five major sections: understanding our past, primates, hominins, out of Africa, and from hunters to farmers. As with our chosen spines for history and geography, we will not get through the entire book in one year. This will likely be a topic we revisit many times throughout the Agents' schooling, however, and I believe this text will serve us well when it comes time to delve deeper.

A second major topic the Agents want to study this year is animals. We already own a copy of The Animal Book, which covers everything from bacteria to humans. Our intent is to concentrate on vertebrates: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes. I'm sure that in the future we will go back and look at the other major sections of the book—insects, invertebrates, plants, fungi, and microscopic life—but for this year we will concentrate on animals with backbones.

Of course, we'll also supplement with tons of random books from the library, as well as a utilize written resources from our old favorite education {dot} com, and complete experiments (like these from Kidzone) along the way.

Did I mention they also want to study dinosaurs? Because, dinosaurs. We don't have a separate book in mind for this (and probably won't look for one . . . well, not this year, anyway) but it's pretty much a guarantee that they will at least get a mention.

So, as you can see, a pretty light year for 4th and 2nd grades. They only want to study, oh, ALL LIFE ON EARTH. How hard could that be?

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