I am designing a really fun earth science course for JBug using the excellent book A Really Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson.
This is the simplified, juvenile version of his even more excellent and more detailed book A Short History of Nearly Everything. And I actually am only using the first hundred pages or so for this course. The last 50-odd pages are the genetics and evolution sections which I want to save and use as part of a life science class at a later time.
JBug will be in 6th grade this year, but I think this course could easily be adapted for several grades younger or older.
Anyway, I couldn’t get it to look right on my blog, so here are links to the planning chart I am working with, and what I have so far. I have it sketched out for a semester course, but keep in mind that knowing us and how we like to run off on rabbit trails it will in all likelihood take us a full year to complete. So those “Week” designations could easily be seen as 2 week periods instead. In fact, just count on that.
(let me know if these don’t work, okay?)
There are a ton of activities listed here, and lots of ideas for notebooking pages. We will probably not do them all, but I like to leave room for choice and chance to step in so I tend to over-plan so we can pick and choose later. Plus, we just tend to play fast and loose with anything that looks like structure, so…
This is an intensely hands-on course filled with opportunities to create and explore or, as Ms Frizzle would say, “take chances, make mistakes, get messy.” The highlights are building and launching model rockets, and digging into a simulated archeo/paleo dig site !!!(which is a long-term project where she will unearth a whole lot of cool artifacts just like a real archeologist/paleontologist), plus lots and lots of smaller but no-less-fun hands-on activities. We will also be making use of our rock tumbler and our very fine rock and mineral collection throughout the course.
I have also kept the first few sections lighter knowing that we will also be finding our feet in other subject areas and will want to ease into things slowly, plus there is the very real likelihood of another start-of-school-year move for us (more on that later). So, starting off a little slowly, but gaining momentum fairly rapidly.
I would be glad to post details on any of the activities if anyone wants that (like how to make a hypsometer or spectroscope, where to find fossils to bury in your sim dig, etc). I will definitely be posting on the simulated dig site soon because I think it is something many kids could really dig (<– see what I did there?) and I’d love to help more parents set one up in their own homeschools. (Or you could just Google simulated archeology dig and see what comes up.) In fact, I will likely just go ahead and do a series of posts explaining various activities if there is interest. Let me know.
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