Studying the Sky

studying the sky

Our science unit right now is Objects in the Sky. We use the Science Fusion program by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I included the link for visual reference. The book is an interactive work text that the student can write in and is functional on its own. However, if you want to get the most from this program, I recommend buying it from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt directly and getting set up with the online teacher component. With the online component you and your student will have access to online lessons, inquiries, and leveled readers. There are also printable vocabulary cards, additional inquiries, assessments, and so much more. We have really enjoyed using it this year.

Anyway, we’re studying the stars, moon, sun and general changes in the sky from day to night. The unit is short and doesn’t dive very deep into the astronomy aspect, which my son loves, so we are using some of the inquiry activities (there are lots of great inquiry activities for this unit, especially for first graders who are new to this topic) and adding a few of our own explorations.

My husband has been taking the kids out at night to look at the stars, and yesterday I printed up a constellation map. Today, my son is making his own constellation map by simply poking holes in a piece of black construction paper. He is trying to recreate Orion and adding a few of his own creations.

star map

I also found a great workbook on Education.com called Skywatchers. It has lots of cool information about constellations, astronomers, the planets, the moon and more. I’m a subscriber so I can print up as many workbooks as I want – just today I printed three new workbooks to use for our studies. I really like this site and I use it a lot to get study materials for both my preschooler and my first grader.

Here are a few books about astronomy that we are planning on adding to our collection (click on each book for detailed information about each title):

Astronomy and Space Sticker Book    Astronomy

Usborne Book of Astronomy & Space   Sun, Moon and Stars

What are some of your favorite astronomy-related activities?

Usborne Publishing Ltd. (UK) has no connection with these pages and does not sponsor or support their content.

Science Saturday: What We’re Reading

Science

We love science! In my Studying Habitats post I talked about the Science Fusion program we are using. And we love it, but we like to mix things up so we have some other books we like to throw into the mix now and then. Last year at the Orange County Children’s Book Festival we stopped into a booth with an Usborne book consultant and we loved the products. In fact, now that I’m homeschooling I’m thinking about becoming a consultant myself because of the awesome variety of non-fiction books, as well as fiction and activity books. I think it might be a great way to give us access to new material on a more regular basis.

Anyway, even though they’ve been read many times, we still use See Inside Science and Look Inside Your Body from Usborne as references. I’m teaching first grade science and we go back to the human body a lot, and I have a 3 year-old who likes to get in on the discussion, so Look Inside Your Body is a great resource to have. It’s full of facts and each page has flaps you can lift to find an answer or get a deeper explanation. For example, the “Eating Food” section shows your intestines and as you lift the flaps you find out how the process works and finishes off with a fun fact about the length of your intestines.

See Inside Science is like a general introduction to several scientific concepts: the solar system, molecules, energy, even the periodic table. Again, this book is full of flaps and super fun for little ones to read.

See Inside Science          Look Inside Your Body

In addition to these and other regular books, we also have a backup science program. When I originally ordered Science Fusion, Houghton Mifflin mistakenly sent me the wrong science book. They sent us a different first grade science program but the standards seem to be more aligned with the younger set. When I called to see if I could get the correct order they immediately had the proper book sent out and they told me to keep the other one as well. Huge high five to the customer service on that one. I will definitely order from Houghton Mifflin again. The content is great and I love that the teacher material is all available on the CD-ROM that comes with the text, but it’s too basic for my advanced reader. We like to use it for the science experiments and I sometimes print out additional material from the teacher CD.

HM Science

Our Backup Science Text

 

Finally, if you have a science lover like mine, Lakeshore has some fun science kits that are great for independent exploration. I got the magnification set and the magnet set and my kids love them. We use the contents often, and I like that it has a lot of the things we need to conduct the science experiments from our texts. You can read about these sets here at my previous blog.

What science programs or activities do you use with your kids? I’d love to learn more about what other people are using. Please share in a comment below!

P.S. No Affiliate links here – just me sharing with you!

disclaimer: Usborne Publishing Ltd. (UK) has no connection with these pages and does not sponsor or support their content.

Studying Habitats

Bookworm Homeschool Brown Bear

Photo courtesy of GraphicStock.com

 

We’re studying environments and habitats in first grade science right now. We chose to use Science Fusion by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt this year. It’s a good program with a text they can write in, and it encourages using the pages to take notes and draw pictures to reinforce what they are learning. It also comes with online access to a digital platform that offers a ton of additional resources like leveled readers and virtual labs and lessons. Earlier in the year he was able to virtually test how a lizard would respond to terrariums with varying elements: sun vs. shade, grass vs. sand, etc. He really enjoys the digital aspect and the write-in text. Even though it’s packed full of resources, I still find myself looking for supplemental information. He’s a bit advanced so sometimes we need more than just the basics.

Bookworm Homeschool Science Fusion

I’m a writer and I sometimes have articles published in AppleSeeds magazine. I realized that I had just gotten my contributors copy of a past issue that was all about deserts. It was fun to be able to incorporate some of my own work into his learning. Not to mention the other great articles in the magazine that discuss different aspects of desert life.

If you’ve never seen it, AppleSeeds magazine is a children’s nonfiction magazine focusing on social studies. They have a “You Are There!” emphasis on the writing to allow the kids to see things from their perspective. The magazine is targeted to kids aged 6-9 but my early reader started reading it at 5 and it will likely hold the attention of your 10 or 11 year old too.

Bookworm Homeschool Appleseeds magazine

Our next step will be to go out and explore to find different environments and habitats for people and animals. We like our local nature centers for this type of activity, but another good activity would be to visit an exotic pet store so they can see how different animals require different things in their habitats for them to survive. Reptiles need lots of light and sand and water to drink, fish need to be in water, birds need branches to perch on and seed and water, etc. We’ll bring along our notebooks and draw pictures of the different habitats we find and write about them when we get home.

Have you had any fun habitat exploration adventures or know of a good book on the topic to include in the lesson? Share it with us in a comment below.