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Classification, magnification, and fascination

September 24, 2007

Anton
Chers Amis,

Our 2007-2008 Adventures in Life Science is off and running. We started last Wednesday and we followed up today with Week 2. My cohort/conspirator extraordinaire co-teacher and I
decided to introduce a few of the basics in weeks 1 & 2 before launching into the
deeps of subject matter. During Week 1 we reviewed  the scientific
method
, the use of Latin and Greek roots in science, the parts and operation of a standard microscope, and taxonomy/classification.  The kids got to try their hand at classifying fish and using a dichotomous key in this Nova exercises.

For homework the girls had to come up with a question that could be answered using the scientific method.  They had to present their question, hypothesis, variables, controls, required materials, and procedure at today’s meeting.  They also had to label a diagram of an animal cell. Today they had a quiz on the parts of a microscope (using a real microscope) followed by a lecture by Dr. P on the history of the microscope, a pop quiz on Latin and Greek roots (needs work!), a video and discussion  on the properties of living things (organisms),  and a quick introduction to  unicellular, multi-cellular and colonial organisms and the five kingdoms.  Dr. P also brought a microscope with several specimens for the girls to view and sketch, paying close attention to scale, detail and accurate field of view using this neat  Microscopy Lab Journal page. Whew!  Of course they then wanted to look at all sorts of objects under the simple lens.  Fun!  Next week we will be revisit many of these topics with a spiral approach, starting a discussion of the Kingdom Monera and going deeper on cell anatomy.  You never saw three girls so excited about science.  I love it!

We are not using a set curriculum for biology/life science this year.
We just couldn’t find a full-year biology/life science program that covered the material
with the desired depth/interest for our 4th and 5th graders, so we will
be pulling from a number of sources. Our two favorites are the Internet, specifically the content available at Discovery Education’s United Streaming, and our excellent library system. Access to United Streaming multi-media resources are FREE to home schoolers in Georgia.  I highly suggest you find out if your state offers free or discounted service. It is wonderful!  We usually watch one video a week, many of which have quizzes/vocabulary sheets that go along with them.

As a spine/background text, I am using the 7th grade, Life Science for Christian Schools. For the record, I bought it used from a local hs store and only because Caddie wanted it.  I do not, as a rule use this curriculum.  I am using it selectively.  That means I am using the very fine information on cells, cell function, the five kingdoms etc., but NOT requiring her to read any creationist sections.  We will discuss Darwin and evolution in light of the Church’s teaching on the topic, not BJ’s.  My father is a real ‘rocket scientist and an astrophysicist (say that when you are 6 ten times fast  w/o lisping:-), so I have NO problem with  a several billion year time line.  Why limit God?   The book itself is quite good.  It is as if it were written by two authors, one a scientist and the other a preacher.   I am supplementing the textbook with many non-fiction books/biographies on specific topics for assigned reading time.  This week’s Adventures in Life Science  basket has selections on: cells, animal cells, viruses, bacteria, Carl Linnaeus, Antoni Leeuwenhoek, microscopes, microscopic life, and germs.    Got to run!  My brain cells need refueling 🙂

–Marjorie
 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2007 10:21 pm

    Wow! What a course you two are creating! How do you have time to plan for anything else? 🙂 Sounds like they will get an incredible science experience this year!
    From a former public secondary science school teacher,
    Dana

  2. September 28, 2007 11:36 pm

    Nice work, Marjorie! I’m sure the kids are loving it!

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