Friday, September 23, 2011

Multi-Level Life Sciences or Biology

Caedmon takes a look at the mushrooms we found around our property.  We are still investigating, but I think the orange one is poisonous!

I have finally come to the conclusion that multi-level learning and teaching just works best for our family. It's what we do best!  It's what I love!  It's what I am more comfortable with and it keeps us learning a family!   I don't know why I ever thought that I could move some of my children into textbooks for different subjects and have different science studies going on at the same time.  Just throws my ADD brain crazy! I've been doing great with our history and geography studies--keeping them multi-level for the entire crew hasn't been difficult at all, but when my second son informed  us he felt led to the medical mission field after being inspired by the story of Dr. Ben Carson, it just put me on the Tilt-a-Whirl.   I thought "Oh, my!!  I must put him in a text book so he can be prepared for college!!"

I struggled finding the time in our busy household to check his work, to go over difficult concepts, to make sure he was getting it all done.  You see it is much easier for me to teach multi-level as everyone is around anyway!  I can print off coloring sheets for the little guys (7 and almost 3) and get picture books to read with them.  We can go on nature walks together, finding specimens to study together and then drawing them or taking photos.  My older students (15 and 12)  add higher level work making more detailed drawings with labels, conducting research, learning the vocabulary, reading biographies and writing reports which are all contained in a handy-dandy notebook with dividers labeled for each of the three resources we are using for our studies, a section for notes, drawings and vocabulary and a section for projects and reports.  All of these activities fit us much better and the children are producing their own work instead of filling in countless worksheets, although they will still have a few of those to do as well.

Notebook with dividers for our science studies

The following resources are being used this semester as we tackle the life sciences.   The first resource is part of a series which has now become a favorite for our family.  Short chapters that can easily be read to all within a 30-minute or less time span, wonderfully detailed illustrations that my artistic son is eager to copy for his own notebook and a few questions at the end to check retention.  Also included are some suggested activities and projects to take the learning up a notch for the older student.  Love, love, love this series by John Hudson Tiner!

515525: Exploring the World of Biology: From Mushrooms to   Complex Life FormsExploring the World of Biology: From Mushrooms to   Complex Life Forms

By John Hudson Tiner / Master Books

Explore biology-life-as God created it! From the smallest (and yet still incredibly complex) bacteria to the largest mammals, students will read about the life of insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals, as well as the science of biology itself. Classification, energy storage, digestion, early biologists, DNA, and other topics are all explored in easy to read chapters that always point the glory of creation back to God. Chapter highlights, illustrations, and questions are included for each chapter. 153 indexed pages, softcover. Line-listed answers included.

The Lyrical Life Science has been a favorite of mine for years as we have used it to reinforce many of the facts from our KONOS units.  Each "chapter" starts with the facts and vocabulary presenting in songs using catchy folk tunes.  Kind of corny to some, but I have learned through our 23 years of homeschooling that we never forget what we sing!!  There are also several pages of information presented in a easy to digest length along with three pages of worksheets:  one is fill in the blanks to the song which reinforces the vocabulary, another pages covers the topics presented (this week we covered the steps to the scientific method) using matching and fill in the blank questions and the last page is full of essay questions.  You see each page gets more difficult and makes the student think at a higher level.

59775: Lyrical Life Science #1 With CDLyrical Life Science #1 With CD
By Lyrical Learning

Topics volume 1 addresses include scientific method, living things, invertebrates, coldblooded vertebrates, birds, classification, algae/fungi/nonvascular plants, vascular plants, protozoa, genetics, viruses, and bacteria. Along with each CD comes a textbook which expands upon the information summarized in the songs. The textbooks, about 100 pages each, are generously illustrated with line drawings and touches of humor. They include song lyrics and simple music. The corresponding workbook lessons offer matching, fill-in-the-blank, essay, and labeling exercises.
Answer keys are at the back. Although originally wirtten for sixth graders, the content reflects some of what we find in typical high school life science texts. Whatever level you choose to use these for, they remain supplements rather than comprehensive courses. While this approach is not for all students, it does offer a rare alternative for auditory learners.

Biology 101 is a DVD curriculum that introduces us to biology through the days of Creation.  It is designed for the high school student, but the DVD content is engaging enough for the younger crowd.  There is also some information to read for each section and a quiz as well.

430310: Biology 101: Biology According to the Days of  Creation--DVDsBiology 101: Biology According to the Days of  Creation--DVDs
By Westfield Studios

Follow the creation story as you delve into the world of biology. Visually rich and designed for students 15 and up and their families, this biblically oriented overview presents biology following the actual creation days. Nine segments are covered on 4 DVDs; a 114 page guidebook on CD-ROM/DVD includes quizzes for the material in each segment. 4 DVDs.

I have used Science Scope for several years .  This book really is a scope and sequence for each of the sciences at all levels.  I simply open it up to the section needed and I make a list of all the activities that we should do and all the topics we should cover.  It is like a checklist for those of us who tend to teach "out of the box"!

41476: Science ScopeScience Scope
By Kathryn Stout / Design A Study

From Design-A-Study, Science Scope provides a list of skills, topics for discussion, and interesting topics that are part of most science curricula. Use as a checklist to make sure you cover all appropriate concepts; as an overview from simple to complicated science subjects; or as a guide to ensure you're on track for your child's age. Divided into subjects such as "energy" or "Technology" each chapter has sections for each age range with vocabulary, things students should know, and activities. 119 pages, softcover.

We will also be using lots of Dover Coloring books for plants and animals, field guides for trees, wildflowers, birds and more.  We'll incorporate leaf, widlflower and insect collections with lots of opportunities for artwork and reading of biographies of some of the great biologists throughout history.

This week we covered the first lessons from each of the resources shown above.   We learned about mushrooms, read about Louis Pasteur and germs, and have learned all the steps to the scientific method.  We've also done some drawings of mushrooms, added lots of vocabulary words to our notebooks, filled in a few worksheets, and Kaelan and Aaron each are reading separate biographies of Louis Pasteur and including quotes in their notebooks.  I've seen some excitement come back into my students as we tackle science together again and it has been a blessing!  Today, Kaelan and Aaron will tackle the essay questions, finish up the biographies and write a short biographical sketch on Louis Pasteur.  I'll print off some coloring pages for Jackson and Caedmon and tonight we may have some mushrooms on our pizzas!  Here are some pictures of our scientific endeavors this week.

Jackson takes a close look at a mushroom (puffball?) out by the garden.
What a collection...we found all of these in about 10 minutes!!

the orangey-red mushroom sliced in half....doesn't look very appetizing

I think this one, above, is a puffball.  If it were dried out more I think it would have puffed out all those spores when I cut it open.

This one looks more like the mushrooms we eat... you can  see the gills very well.

Caedmon takes another cute!

Now Jackson gets a close up view.  The older two studied them as well....I just didn't get a picture!
Aaron's drawing of a mushroom.  He is also drawing a picture of Louis Pasteur.  He is our artsy child. 

Kaelan's musroom with labels

A page of Kaelan's vocabulary for this week

A page of Aaron vocabulary for this week

Crew Blog Hop


Mrs Mary Joy Pershing said...

Yay!!!! I am SO glad you are doing what works for you again! We are attempting the same thing. This week we started talking about the seasons of the year with special emphasis on Autumn. Beginning with a fun celebration of the start of Autumn with a nature hike down by the river to collect nature treasures so that we can identify and study them and use them in art projects! ;D

Thanks for being yourself and inspiring us!


Mary Joy

Annika said...

What fun! I love to use what's around us to learn. It makes learning so fun! I'm stopping by from the Hop.

Unknown said...

What a great way to accomplish Science. Makes me wish I had more kids. I just wrote a post recently about how we will be doing middle and high school school classes. Living books and journaling.

Sara @ Embracing Destiny said...

Stopping by from the TOS blog hop. I'm following you now!

We've got lots of mushrooms growing in our backyard. Time to go collect some and learn about them. Thanks for the ideas!

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