The first few weeks of school, at least at our house, seem to be at least partially about figuring out what is going to work for the year and what isn’t. One of the luxuries of home education is that if it’s not a good fit, we can go ahead and make changes. It’s taken me all of 2 weeks to realize neither Piper or I are going to be happy with what I’ve chosen for this year’s science curriculum.
1. The experiments consistently aren’t turning out the correct results. A little bit of this is fine and can be a great teaching tool. 3 out of 3 and a lab report that says “I learned not to trust the science book.” Not fine. Just in case you’re wondering, I checked with my consultant (Tim) and this is not due to user error. 🙂
2. I’m finding I would like something more structured this year.
3. Piper is showing a marked aversion to the lab report format. I definitely want to see written feedback for 4th grade, but I think we can come up with something that works better for her. I’d rather not have her avoiding doing the science experiments because she loathes the lab report. She loves currently loves science and I’d just as soon keep it that way.
So with all this in mind, yesterday I ordered Exploration Education’s Intermediate Physical Science Science Curriculum. This was recommended in The Well-Trained Mind for an 8th grade curriculum, but when I started researching, it turns out it actually has a 4th- 8th grade range with extra activities for 7th and 8th grade students. Looking at the examples, I didn’t see anything that seemed to be too advanced for Piper to handle. It comes with all except the most basic materials and uses a log book with leading questions for reporting. The Table of Contents and samples looked very solid. Hopefully this will provide us with a little more structure and experiments that work. I’ll be sure to check in further down the line with how it’s working out.
While we’re waiting for Exploration Education to arrive, we’ll be working through the book Bridges: Amazing Structures to Design, Build, and Test.
We really enjoyed the Geology Rocks! book by the same publisher, and they always have a lot of great hands-on activities. Here’s Piper doing the first one – building and testing various types of bridges for strength.