Our Favorite Resources for Hands-On Science - Elementary




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#scientificprocess #elementaryscience #handsonlearning #scienceexperiments #scienceworks

HANDS-ON LEARNING

Are you looking for science studies for your elementary kids that are fun and hands-on?   Learning from hands-on experiences was the best way to go for my 2e daughter.  And she loved learning the scientific process by actually doing it!

So for elementary science in our homeschool, I wanted something that was not only hands on, but was also child-led. I also looked chose science topics that were geared to her interests.  

We started out just by going to the library and getting easy to read science books related to her topics of interests.  But then, she was asking for some projects to do, that were related to the books that she had chosen.  We used some from pinterest, and then found a great series that added a lot to our studies. 

HELP FOR HANDS-ON SCIENCE

One of our favorite resources is called the ScienceWorks series, by Evanmoor.  Evan-moor is a long established company, that publishes quality products for both public school and homeschools.

Since it was written by educators, it had lots of great extra learning thrown right in.  It not only had fun, hands-on activities to choose from, it also gave us a list of topics, for my daughter to choose from,  for each grade level.  


My active child loved Evan-Moor.

I loved that there were many different topics that my daughter could choose from, for all the elementary years. They are all listed in a column or two below.  I could show my daughter to list, and let her choose the topic herself! 

And each book was filled with short lessons, at her reading level, with simple to do activities, in which she could show her comprehension and practice her writing skills as well.  And that was after she had done a fun, easy experiment or two.

KINDERGARTEN

In kindergarten, my daughter wanted to learn about plants.  We had just started a vegetable garden.  




She couldn’t wait to help, and was filled with questions about how things grew. 

I chose this little book, for her that year, that explained some simple botany concepts, one step at a time.....






So in Kindergarten, our "formal" science studies focused on the garden.  This book was such a help as it enhanced her learning with its simple clear explanations of what she saw going on in our garden.  

In the Garden - 

We planned corn starts, and predicted how tall they would grow. Then we measured their growth each week, and charted it on a simple graph.  So you see how we added in math to the science lessons.

Plus baking, and any other fun simple kitchen recipes, they were science, too.  And, of course, birdwatching.  And playing in the stream at the park....(We did these activities, all through elementary, and often did the Holiday Bird Counts too.)

FIRST GRADE

Then the next year, in first grade, I took my kiddo to the Science Works for Kids website again, and, we started with a book on Energy:


A great resource for the young scientists in your home.
Science Works Series - Energy - My Review  


By doing the hands-on activities in ScienceWorks-ENERGY, my daughter began to think like a scientist. More specifically, she  learned the scientific process, as this book guided her to:

1. Make observations and record data.
2. Make predictions, ie, write a hypothesis
3. Analyze the results, and think about the "Why's"


My daughter couldn’t wait for her book to arrive...  Then after we enjoyed studying energy, she wanted to learn about animals.  

GRADES 1 - 3

Then she chose this book about animals without backbones:

Evan Moor Animals without Backbones

Science Works Series - Grades 1 - 3 

This series lets you pick and choose what your child is interested in learning....

There were puzzles to do, mini-books to make, (very) simple experiments, and cut and paste activities to do.  All the while, she was learning simple science concepts, and practicing her reading and handwriting skills.  And these animal studies made our zoo trips all that more fun and meaningful.

I loved how each of the lessons in these books were laid out in a step-by-step fashion.  Theses books gave us a helpful guide to follow for our elementary science studies.  
We  added to them by going to the library or on a related field trip.  For example, when we studied Habitats....

Habitat Study Review


....We went to as many habitats as we could!   Habitats included science activities for the following habitats: 

1. Deserts
2.  Forests
3.  Saltwater
4.  Ponds
5.  Savanna
6.  Polar

After doing the lessons and experiments, we made our own field trips, to see the forests, saltwater, and ponds, at the park and the beach.  One winter it felt like the polar habitat here. lol!

LEARNING BENEFITS


Science Works for Kids added to our science studies each year by:

1.  Giving us a helpful guide for each topic
2.  Teaching basic science concepts, written in child-friendly language.
3.  Laying out science experiments to do, so I did not have to look them up.
4.  Teaching the scientific process hands-on.
5.  Giving practice in reading and writing at the same time.

You can choose to make your own elementary science studies each year, by choosing interesting topics and adding in fun field trips, related library books, and time to explore nature outside.  





Stream Schooling!

We loved doing fun nature activities, like taking photos of birds, watching insects, exploring spider webs in the backyard, playing in local streams, watching salmon spawn, etc. 
Each year there were more topics in the Science Works series to choose from....

Science Works Topics List

Kindergarten Topics:
Animals, My Body, Earth, Weather, Learning to Be a Scientist

Grades 1 - 3:

1.  How your body works
2.  Exploring Space
3.  Animals with Backbones
4.  Animals without Backbones
5.  Geology
6.  Planet Earth and more


Grades 4 - 6 :

1.  Simple Chemistry
2.  The Human Body
3.  Weather 
4.  Energy
5.  Living Things and more



I hope that you and your kiddos have as much fun exploring science in the elementary years as we did!  


Chemistry FUN!

What would you add to this list?  Please stop by and leave a comment.  Click here to reach all the other ultimate guides for hands-on learning from my friends at iHomeschool Network.





Thanks for visiting BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy


Betsy blogs at BJ's Homeschool about high school and college and all the fun of homeschooling the early years too.  As a veteran homeschooler and the mom of a homeschool grad, Betsy also offers free help to homeschool families.  She is the author of Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, a simple guide to high school at home, with tips for making the college admissions process easier.  


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2 comments:

  1. We've yet to use any sort of curriculum books for our science units. We tend to read a lot of non fiction books from the library and put together all sorts of fun experiments from Pinterest and the web but I have been looking for some way to make it all more concrete. I may have to look into this series.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mother of 3. Reading nonfiction from the library is a great way to go, too! Hope this encourages you on your journey, and gives you more ideas for your young scientist!

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