Living and Learning in the Pacific Northwest
Continuing the post from yesterday — How We Do CM Part 1
RSO Life Science and Nature Study: We wanted to do nature study Charlotte Mason style, like “Handbook of Nature Study,” but I also know that my kids aren’t ready to draw in their nature journals and they need more practice with the scientific method. “REAL Science Odyssey Life Science” by Pandia Press accomplishes a lot of what I wanted for science and nature study this year. The kids are still exploring nature during their lunch break and during our field trips. We also enjoy a nature walk along the boardwalk through the wetlands each season. It’s a good time to go again, before all the leaves fall from the trees. We also had a great opportunity to observe this beautiful owl that was found in a shed at the ODFW.
In the first term this year, we covered the first 12 units and started on the Animal Kingdom. This is a list of what we did:
The rest of this year we will study the Animal and Plant Kingdoms units (see sample pages). If we finish early, I think we will start our nature journals.
Science method: We learn science in the afternoon when the kids are tired of sitting quietly. Science is more active and interactive than the other subjects. We allot 45 minutes. The pages in the book are perforated, so I put them in page protectors in a 3-ring binder so I can easily flip through in a lesson and make copies for the students. Each lesson has a short read-aloud and a couple of labs. The activities vary from making something, to actively gathering data and recording observations. Hunter’s favorite activity was the plot study in the garden. All the children are enjoying science and don’t seem to mind the writing/recording involved. It isn’t that much, really, but gives them a good idea and the basics of the scientific method. I like that this curriculum is laid out in a way that makes sense to me and is easy to follow. Some units we did more and some units we did less. We skimmed two units because the kids already know it or we found an alternative.
“Unit 1: What is Life?,” the kids enjoyed a scavenger hunt / plot study in the garden. They listed all the living and non-living things they found.
“Unit 2: The Cell,” the children made cell models out of bowls of jello — round bowl for an animal cell, and square bowl for a plant cell. They used grapes for “chloroplasts” and a round slice of strawberry or orange for a “nucleus.”
“Unit 4: Skeletal and Muscular Systems” we read a “Let’s Read and Find Out About Science” book called “The Skeleton Inside You” by Phillip Balestrino, and we made the paper model included with the curriculum to show how muscles are not “pushy.” The children pulled the strings to show how muscles work, and measured and recorded the lengths.
“Unit 5: Circulatory System,” we read another “Let’s Read and Find Out About Science” book called “A Drop of Blood” by Paul Showers, and we made a model of blood out of corn syrup, red hots, red sugar and lima beans, and labeled the lab sheet showing white blood cells, plasma, platelets and red blood cells. We also did exercises and measured and recorded heart rate after each activity. This was fun!
“Unit 7: Digestive System,” we read a great pop-up book called, “Chewy, Gooey, Rumble, Plop” that shows this system better than any homemade model.
“Unit 8: Nervous System,” we did a fun lab on reaction time. We dropped rulers and measured the reaction time in inches.
“Unit 9: Growth and Genetics,” we looked closely at our fingerprints and talked about recessive genes. The kids really liked the mystery prints, but this lab sheet doesn’t show it. We had extra sheets and everyone got a turn. All of us went home with ink-stained fingers.
“Unit 10: Classifying Critters,” Liz’ husband, Alex, taught this lesson. He is a biologist. We went on a nature walk after class and found specimens in the creek. It was a special field trip day.
“Unit 12: Cnidaria,” we went on a field trip to the coast. Back home we made sea jelly models with Solo cups and yarn to show the life cycle of the sea jellies. It is a clever demonstration and shows the way the polyps, which attach to the sea floor, break off and turn upside down. As the tentacles fall out they become the “medusa” sea jellies. Here are pictures of the tide pools at the coast, the touch pool at Hatfield, and the sea jelly found in the estuary.
Scooping up a sea jelly that she found in the estuary, and getting a closer view.