Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Curiosity Files: Dung Beetle (Curriculum Review)

I recently had the opportunity to review an e-book from The Old Schoolhouse Store. It is part of a series of e-book unit studies, called Curiosity FilesDung Beetles.

The retail price of this e-book is $6.95, although at the time of this writing, it's on sale for an unbelievable $1. The study is intended for use with students in the 8-13 year old range. The e-book is a whopping 80 pages long, and covers many subjects areas, with a surprising amount of depth.

So what's included?
Background information about Dung Beetles
Assessments to track comprehension of the background information
Biblical tie ins to the topic, memory verses, and copywork
Several math activities
Reading selections, and related activities
Spelling & vocabulary lists
Crosswords, word searches, etc
Lots of science activities, and great forms for recording activities and observations
Craft activities and links
Coloring pages
Links to videos and other information elsewhere online.

Our experience:
I knew L would be interested in the topic. He's a little boy after all, and there are few things funnier to most little boys than poop or bugs. I wasn't disappointed. I found that although many of the activities, were, as expected, somewhat out of his range, we were able to use some of them.  (He'll be 6 next week.) We did the reading portions of the unit via the computer, rather than printing them out, in order to save printer ink, as ours  is expensive. I printed out coloring sheets, copywork, and several worksheets, which he happily completed. We watched several of the videos linked to in the e-book as well. Afterward he was able to verbalize many of the facts we'd covered, and even dictated  a letter to his grandpa telling him what he'd learned.

My impression:
I thought the unit was fantastic. The activities were interesting, and there were a lot of activities, so you could either pick and choose for a short little study like we did, or complete them all over a longer time, perhaps a couple of weeks. I loved the that even in a unit about insects, the authors made many (logical) Bible references. I thought the retail price was actually a good deal, and wouldn't hesitate to plop down my cash for another of these units, if L was a wee bit older.
I can't think of any real "cons." L was a little too young to utilize the whole e-book, and I suppose if you were determined to print the entire e-book, you'd run through a good bit of ink.

I'd totally recommend this product. It's available at There are other titles in the series, including several other insects, (Fire ants, Cicada-Killing Wasp,) and other animals and topics, like Puffer Fish, and MSRA.

Disclosure: Thanks to the Old Schoolhouse Magazine for providing me with this title for review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions in this post are my own.

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