Science is one of my favorite subjects! I was a science major in college and enjoy passing the love of science on to my kids. It’s a subject we haven’t specifically focused on a lot, so I was excited to receive a copy of Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers from Funtastic Unit Studies.
Susan Kilbride is a homeschooling mom with a degree in biology. She noticed that lots of homeschool moms feel uncomfortable teaching science to their kids, so she decided to help! Her unit study book is a fantastic answer! It includes twenty different chapters. Ten chapters are geared for ages 4-7, and the other ten are for ages 8-13. The chapters for the older kids include a page of test questions, to help assess their knowledge on each subject.
Her chapter selections offer a great variety for moms. For ages 4-7, choices include Our Senses, the Human Body, Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life, Animals, Insects, Magnets, Stars and Planets, Health, Plants, and Animal Ecology. For ages 8-13, choices include a unit on Microscopes, Atoms and Molecules, Matter, Chemistry Fun, Weather, Forces and Motion, Simple Machines, Light and Color, and Plants II.
She designed the units to need materials that are easy to find, or that you may already have at home. For something that might be harder to find, she lists a source to help out! Each unit is broken down into different parts, and then each part has multiple activities. One unit can easily take two weeks, if not longer!
We picked the unit on Insects (age 8-13) to start with. Part 1 introduced Animal Classification. Super D made a list of thirty different animals, and then broke them down into classifications. He could pick any classification that he liked (insects, mammals, fish, etc or red, blue, brown, etc). He eventually just decided on Land and Sea, and then broke them down further based on what the animals eat.
In Part 2, students explore the definition of an insect. We love taking walks, and had fun finding bugs! We have an abundance of pill bugs, and the kids had a great time playing with them. We also found a baby ladybug!
Part 3 introduced Insect Life Cycles with activities including growing mealworms and crickets! We had to skip this activity right now, because we’re getting ready to move, but it will definitely be on our list for once we’re settled! Years ago, we hatched a butterfly and it was so much fun to watch it grow!!
Part 4 was Parts of an Insect. The book includes a great diagram of a cricket, complete with labelled body parts. Super D had fun tracing the cricket and labelling his parts.
Part 5 was about Insect Communication! Sue Kilbride includes some great info about how ants, fireflies, water strider bugs, moths, and crickets communicate with each other. One activity for this unit is about a dance that bees do to tell their bee friends how far away the flowers are and in what direction. It was fascinating and hilarious to watch the kids do!
Part 6 covered Insect Defenses, including camouflage! Super D happened to be wearing a camouflage shirt the day we did this activity, so he was thrilled. We found lizards that change color, and he loved watching them change depending on what color surface they were on!
Part 7 recommended Magic School Bus videos. Love these!! They are educational and entertaining. I also picked up several Magic School Bus paperbacks for Super D to read.
The last section is a Test, covering material the students learned during the unit!