Friday, July 5, 2013

Mt. Hope Academy Curricula ~ Science


If you are just now checking in or would like quick links to previous posts in my curricula series, this is what we have so far:

Whew. This post has been a long time coming. Who knew it would take me a year to post all my curricula resources?

Wait! I’m not even finished! I still have fine arts, Latin, and some miscellaneous resources. And I have a few new things lined up for next year (nothing major—just new books lists, topics for science, and time period for history). Maybe it will take me another year to finish up…

It should not surprise anyone that our science resources consist of a long list of books and DVDs. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that my boys participate in weekly science projects or experiments in their Classical Conversations classes. And that a good friend of mine invites my boys (the older two) to summer science classes that she teaches for a close group of friends. Because hands-on science projects and experiments are soooo not my thing.

The boys also memorize a fair amount of science facts with Classical Conversations. This year they memorized the classifications of living things, the kingdoms of living things, major groups of vertebrates and invertebrates, parts of animal and plant cells, some types of seed plants, kinds of leaves and leaf parts, parts of a flower, plant systems, parts of the earth, kinds of rock, each continent’s highest mountain, four kinds of volcanoes, parts of a volcano, types of ocean floor, three ocean zones, parts of the atmosphere, kinds of weather fronts, types of clouds, the five major circles of latitude, and other markings on the globe.

Our main “spine” for science that corresponds with the CC memory work is Real Science-4-Kids (see photos above). The complete program includes a text, teacher’s manual, and lab workbook. We didn’t use the teacher’s manual or lab workbook this year because the kids were doing outside science projects and activities. We simply read through the colorful and engaging text.

I do love that the program includes corresponding Connects to Language workbooks that teach students about the Greek and Latin roots that are found in the language of science. I’m excited to hit Chemistry again in two years so that we can use the multiple “Connects to” workbooks that are available with Chemistry (The Arts, History, Philosophy, Language, Critical Thinking, and Technology).

You can read more about the program at this link. (The program is not faith-based, but it does come from an Intelligent Design perspective and would be considered “faith-friendly”—a rather rare thing in science programs.)


We will be using the new Focus On Middle School Geology text for review in September (we covered both biology and geology in Classical Conversations this year), as well as Focus On Middle School Astronomy and Focus On Middle School Physics. (Each book has only ten chapters, so we shouldn’t have any trouble just reading through.)  


Our history-integrated science topic spines are the Exploring the World of _______ series by John Hudson Tiner. These are narrative-style, Christian science books with questions at the end of each chapter, perfect for logic-stage students. At this point Levi has simply read through them independently.


We keep The Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia on hand for general research, but I’ve found that the DK First Encyclopedia series are handy to have by topic.


**I would say the biggest bang for our buck this year were the Rock N Learn Life Science and Earth Science DVDs. Are they lovely, thoughtful DVDs? No. They are boisterous and occasionally obnoxious. BUT. The boys loved them, and I can’t believe how much they learned from them. (Lola even begs for the “science” DVDs!) They corresponded perfectly with our CC memory work, and will be great for review of cycle 1 over the next couple years. (I’m disappointed that the DVD series doesn’t include astronomy or chemistry, but we will be using Physical Science this next year as well as Human Body for review of cycle 3.)


We also enjoyed all the corresponding Eyewitness DVDs that we could find. These are a little bit more my speed and capture a sense of beauty and wonder. We watched Plant, Tree, Insect, Amphibian, Reptile, Bird, Mammal, Fish, Rock & Mineral, Volcano, Weather, and Natural Disasters. We’ll watch Planets this next year.

Other videos we’ve enjoyed: Bill Nye the Science Guy (our library has an extensive collection), Popular Mechanics for Kids (these are favorites with the boys), The Magic School Bus (both the videos and the chapter books), and Sid the Science Kid (which I would like so much better if they weren’t so unattractive both visually and audibly).

Russ also enjoys watching shows with the boys such as Myth Busters, How It’s Made, and Man vs. Wild.


The Story of Science is a beautiful, history-integrated science (and math) narrative series by Joy Hakim. It is excellent reading for middle and high school students. I’ve been slowly reading it aloud to the boys. 

For more history-integrated science, we read Science in Ancient Egypt and others in the series. I love the Living History Library books by Jeanne Bendick—entertaining short chapter books with simple illustrations. Archimedes and the Door of Science and Galen and the Gateway to Medicine both added to our study of Greece and Rome this year.

I also try to always have science-related picture books available for the boys, whether it is a lovely illustrated book such as An Egg Is Quiet, a boy-friendly book from Basher Science, or a biography such as Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas.


It would take forever to list all the great science books we’ve read, but I have two more recommendations. The Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature is chock-full of information, and my boys have loved on our book so much that I had to purchase a replacement copy!

Also, we love the Inventors’ Specials series. Each DVD is a historical-fiction drama centered around a scientist or inventor, including Einstein, Marie Curie, Edison, Galileo, and Newton. They are very well done. (We’ve also watched the Artists and Composers series.)

Next up: Fine Arts? Latin? New resources for next year?


daniela said...

i love your curricula series, thank you so much for sharing!
i'm looking forward to your post about new resources, it's always great to discover new books or dvd's for my boys.

Ruth said...

When can I send my boys over for science? LOL! Looks great!

Dana from CA said...

Can I just say "Thank you, Thank you!" Your curriculum posts contain a wealth of information and are so informative. I so appreciate all the work you put into these posts!!

chinwendu said...

we chaperon the emergence of new generation of scholars and future leaders at unn.