Friday, May 20, 2011

Review: Hands-On Science by Elizabeth Brough

Up until fairly recently, we've been sort of touching on science as it comes up in our unit studies, or L shows an interest. In general our homeschooling style is pretty laid back, but I've been thinking something a little more systematic might be better for us.

Experimenting with volume.

I was given the opportunity to review Hands-On Science, vol. 1: Particles in Motion, by Castle Heights Press, Inc. It's intended for grades K-6, and sells for $29.95

I 'll admit I was initially curious how a science curriculum could effectively cover such a broad age range. I was pleasantly surprised.

The book consists of four sections:
Weather, Climate, &Water

Each of the four sections includes a number of experiments related to the topic. For each assignment, the basic experiment is explained, and there are instructions for further exploration to elaborate on the topic, as well as more challenging assignments for older students.

Essentially the student(s) would do the experiment, and if they were an early elementary student, you'd discuss the findings with them. An older student would take the assignment further by perhaps charting or calculating their answers, etc. In this way a family with several students could use the curriculum together, while tailoring the assignments to the students' abilities.

Experimenting with density.

L and I enjoyed this curriculum. As the book explains, at his age, (6,) science is mostly about the joy of discovery, not about memorizing steps and formulas. We did some of the experiments several times, on different days in order to reinforce the lessons. Even 3 year old V was excited to participate in the weighing and measuring. 

The materials called for were generally things you'd probably have lying around, or could easily acquire. This is a huge plus for me, as anything that requires tons of prep work by me in advance is less likely to actually happen around here. 

I really like the idea that we can use this curriculum now, and then we could actually revisit it in a couple of years, expanding on the explorations as L's abilities increase. I'm planning on using it next year, as an enrichment to the Heart of Dakota curriculum that we've selected.

I think this is a good, solid intro into science that kids will enjoy, and parents will find totally do-able.

Castle Heights Press offers a variety of neat products on their website for all ages, as well as a blog covering topics of interest to homeschoolers. You can also connect with them on FB or Twitter.

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of this book in order to facilitate the review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are my own.

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