Saturday, February 23, 2008

Living Science Series: One Small Square

One Small Square series
by Donald M. Silver, illustrated by Patricia Wynne

This is a great series for biome and nature studies. In each of the twelve books you are observing a “square” (a cube, really, except for Night Sky) over time to watch all the happenings there. The books collectively cover a wide variety of biomes, like the African Savanna, Cactus Desert, and Arctic Tundra, as well as areas near where we live, like Backyard, Night Sky, Pond, and Wood (for our family, anyway.) Each book shows many of the common flora, fauna, and changes that are likely to occur in the square if you were you able to observe it over time. The books also include activities in the margin (which I like because they don’t interrupt the flow of the story) to gain a better understanding of the environment. The illustrations are colorful, if not highly detailed. I have my son choose one or two to draw in his notebook each week. So far we have only studied distant biomes, but I plan to do a live exploration of a local small square this summer.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Teachers' Domain

Teachers' Domain is a great free science resource from PBS I found. It has a wealth of animations and lesson plans. You can create folders and put both Teachers' Domain and internet links in them. You need to register, and you need to have an organization, though you can enter your homeschool organization (they ask for name, address, and telephone.) The site has a built in "trial" where you can view 8 resources without registering.

Each animation can be viewed at the site or even downloaded, and comes with discussion questions. They are linked to state standards (if you like to look at those things) and to a variety of lesson plans. Most of the animations I've viewed so far have both audio and visual components, and some are interactive.