Schoolhouse Planner, December Module: Let’s Be Scientists!

Take a good idea and make it better. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Well, I don’t know how easy it was to do, but the staff at The Old Schoolhouse have done just that with their Schoolhouse Planner and additional modules. The Planner itself is great, and if you want to read more about it, click here for my review.

But the additional modules are like the icing on the cake. They add so much!

The December Module is science oriented, just perfect for those junior engineers and scientists in your family. You know the ones I mean–in our family, it’s the one who took apart my sewing machine to see what made it work. And the one who helps with the “easy assemble” products that we’ve bought and then had to assemble at home, while trying to read English translations of Chinese poetry, or something like that.

Activities, and more!

Children are naturally curious, and there’s lots of fodder for them to chew on here (figuratively, of course). Before we get into talking about the activities you’ll find, however, I want to mention all the other pages, too!

Recipes for a crowd

There are yummy recipes perfect for this time of year: Company Chicken (casserole), Shrimp Casserole, and Refrigerator Cookies. The recipes are simple and well suited to making ahead–you can whip either or both of the casseroles up in the morning and put them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake them, if you wish. Each one (or both together, for a buffet) will serve a crowd! The cookies are designed to be made ahead; you can store the dough in the refrigerator and slice and bake at a moment’s notice. Mmm, warm oven-fresh cookies!

Copywork pages

This month the copywork pages cover Genesis 1:1-31 and 2:1-2, broken up over 25 pages–that’s a whole month of copywork! Each page has a Scripture passage, clearly printed, a frame just waiting for a picture to illustrate the passage, and plenty of blank lines for writing (I forget what the format is called, but it’s the two solid lines with the dashed line in between, to help guide young writers in forming their letters).

Coloring pages

Four coloring pages relate to some of the topics covered by the activities: weather, chemistry, a microscope, and grossology. (What is grossology, you ask? Just what it sounds like!)

Web-linked activities and reading selections

There are about as many topics covered as there are questions children like to ask: stars, weather, the five senses, chemistry (kids love to mix things!), how the body works. Within the topics you’ll find links to web pages. For example, there’s a section on recycling, with suggestions for new ways to use old things. Here you’ll find links to websites with more information about recycling, even a webpage with instructions on how to turn an old soda bottle into a bird feeder!

Easy navigation

While I’m on the topic of clickable links, I want to mention how easy it is to navigate in this PDF document. Click on any topic in the Table of Contents and in an instant you’re looking at the page you wanted.

You’ll also find a Resource List that links to resources at the Schoolhouse Store. There are books, e-books, unit studies, DVDs, CDs, and more, all related to the scientific topics in this module.

Activities! And more activities!

The module begins with an introduction to scientists in general (What do they do?) and then explores various areas of scientific endeavor. The selections are brief, serving as an overview or introduction, and contain links to more material on the web for further study.

Just for example, I clicked on “wind speed” in the discussion of meteorology and was taken to a fantastic webpage with oodles of information on wind, along with projects and experiments. We just finished a unit on weather last month, and I wish I’d had this resource on my list!

Specific topics:

– What is a scientist?
– Meteorology
– Astronomy
– Recycling
– Chemistry
– Anatomy (including grossology and the five senses)

Activities included in the module: Make your own slime, crystal snowflakes, invisible ink, ice cream in a bag, “gook,” even glowing Jell-O. Find your pulse, test your taste buds. Of course, there are scores of links to more information and more activities to be found on the Web.

There are a couple of quizzes that sum up the module, along with a word search and anatomy vocabulary worksheet. Of course answer keys are included!

You can use the December Module as a supplement to your studies, or you could base your science studies for the year on the information found here and in the links! Just the weather-related links are enough for an entire unit on weather! (We spent ten weeks on weather, this fall, so this is the Voice of Experience Speaking…) You could take any of the sections and put together a great co-op class, in addition to a family study.

This 54-page PDF e-book is available for $7.95, with immediate download from the Schoolhouse Store. It’s excellent value for your money.

Have fun!

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