Science Quest: Shark Edition

Science Quest- Shark Edition

Shark Week is coming! I don’t know who made up Shark Week, but the hype is sorta fun and as a homeschool blogger it provides a fun set of topics. Shark Week has been moved to next week (the first week of July this year) to coincide with the release of the new Jaws movie. We’re about to be swept up into a wave of shark madness! Sharks also give me a fantastic excuse to bring alive my idea of Science Quests here at Blog, She wrote. The first stop is Science Quest: Shark Edition.

Shark Classification

Sharks are a special sort of fish. Do your kids know how sharks are classified?

  • What is the classification down to family?
  • Research the animals closely related to sharks.
  • How many species of sharks are there?

Biology of Sharks

Characteristics of fish and sharks

  • How do sharks get oxygen?
  • How is swimming related to the way sharks breathe?
  • What is special about shark teeth?
  • How are sharks designed to live in their habitat?
  • What do sharks eat?
  • Sharks are classified as a fish- what makes them different from other fish?

Shark Habitats

Habitat is the environmental and ecological area where an organism lives. It encompasses the biome and ecosystem and everything in them.

  • Where do sharks live?
  • Which zone to sharks thrive in?
  • Do sharks live all over the world?
  • If you wanted to catch a glimpse of a shark in its natural habitat, where is the best place to go?

You might want to research a particular species of shark. Find out all you can about it and share it with your family. We like to share findings at dinner time. Does your family have a special time to share research?

 

Science Quest Shark Edition

Shark Art with Sharks Volume 2 from Hodgepodge

Tricia and Nana are at it again with a new volume of Sharks in chalk pastels!

Shark Chalk Art - You ARE an Artist Introducing Sharks 2 for all your shark loving artists and non-artists! Upon seeing some of the lessons in this book, my 16 year old, Ethan said he was going to have to try out some of these.

Price through today July 1, 2015 is $5.99.

 

 

 

 

 

If you missed out on last year’s Sharks ebook, then you will love the Shark Bundle. The bundle is $12.99 and includes twenty shark lessons. These ebooks come with art lessons, information on sharks, and a video tutorial.

20 Shark Chalk Art Tutorials

The Summer Bundle is $19.99 and includes Art at the Beach along with Sharks and Sharks 2. Lots of summer art fun!

Art at the Beach + Sharks

Shark Week Resources

Sharks make a great summer unit study, don’t you think?

Shark Week at the Discovery Channel– Pretty sure these guys invented Shark Week. You will find shows and all sorts of shark information.

Sharks in the News– As it happens, NC has seen it’s sixth shark attack in a month. This is a great current event to discuss right now.

Enjoy a fun summer week of shark lessons and art!

 

Shark Chalk Art - You ARE an Artist

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How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists

How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

When we think of science instruction, we often think of textbooks and curriculum with labs and lots of formal quizzes and activities. Given my professional background (biology teacher with a masters degree in curriculum and instruction), I am quite familiar with the conventional paradigm of science education. I’ve learned that all my structured training for classroom science, doesn’t translate well to our homeschool. We love to study science as investigation. Over the years I’ve shared activities from our brand of science instruction, but I often hesitate to blog about our science because I don’t want to intimidate people. Science is a lot of fun and I’ve recently renewed my goal to share with you how we approach science (hopefully) in a way that will make it very accessible to other families regardless of your science background. How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists is how our fourth grader (and youngest student) loves to learn science best.

Benefits of Teaching Science with Biographies

How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists

We are a long time unit study family and have always followed interests and learned about interesting people along the way. However, our fourth grader, Joshua, has always been extra interested in the people behind the science. I was hoping to revisit unit studies I’d done with his older siblings, but he tagged along and he remembers details! He’s a kid who once he plays something out, isn’t willing to revisit it again. Last year it occurred to me that we could learn science by learning about scientists. This has worked well for him and every time I stray to use something more formal, we end up back using biographies and learning science. Here are a few reasons it’s a good fit:

  • Observe the common character traits and behavior of scientists– which allows you to see their habits, professional practices, etc.
  • Explore a wide variety of science concepts– lets you break out of doing things in order or chronologically and gives you the chance to move from discipline to discipline within science. You don’t have to study just one area of science each year.
  • Follow an interest– if you read about a scientist who was inspired by Newton, you can find out who Newton is and what he was about.
  • Customize the curriculum– your student is unique and offering him a way to study that capitalizes on his strengths while building weaknesses is a smart way to educate. Joshua is an engineer and loves to explore science in his own way. He wants to figure things out and invent and he adores learning about others who have done the same. This is a brilliant way for him to keep his edge!
  • Meet lots of scientists– it’s exciting to meet new people and learn about their contribution to the world and to the current world of scientists. You get to read a lot of biographical information and that’s just plain fun!

Let him on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the lifetime of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age. – Charlotte Mason

Biographies of Scientists

How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists

The foundation of this approach is the biographies of famous men and women in the field of science. It’s important to find the right biographies to get the most out of the potential of this method. Look for:

  • Age appropriate selections– Pay attention to who the audience is for a book. If you find an adult biography, chances are there will be content you don’t want your child to read.
  • Reader friendly– Keep in mind the age and skill of your reader when choosing a book. Is it visually pleasing? Is there enough margin? All of these go into whether a book is appealing or not- especially for emerging readers.
  • Do a little of your own research– Even a glance at a Wikipedia page will tell you about any big skeletons in the scientist’s closet. Some men and women have notorious reputations. Those are the ones to make sure you get a youth biography for and skip the adult section of the library for those.

Exploring the Science of Famous Scientists

How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists

While your student reads about a scientist, he can begin exploring. Some books are really fantastic at giving activities along with the biographical information. Our kids love to try things out and our fourth grader, loves all things science and wants to investigate and try on his own. Here are some of the ways we do do this:

  • Try out experiments as they are mentioned in the book
  • Explore the equipment a scientist might use- things like microscopes, sextant, etc
  • Build models of things things shown in a book or of their inventions
  • Keep a lab note book– Joshua who is 9 at the time of this post, has had one for years.

Resources for Teaching Science through the Lives of Scientists

How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists

There are many materials out there for studying about the lives of scientists. You can find biographies along with curriculum which focuses on the people behind the science. Below, I’ve listed what we have used although most times I come back to just the biographies and the science.

  • Childhood of Famous Americans Book Series– This is a lovely series of books about the growing up years of many famous Americans, including scientists.
  • Heroes of History– Another series for kids, but these tell about the person’s entire life. Heroes of History is the sister series to Christian Heroes Then and Now and make a lovely young person’s biography.
  • Other Biographies– There is no shortage of books about scientists. Anyone who has made a significant contribution to the field will have something written about him. It may be more difficult to find a biography which is age appropriate, but there are many children’s and young adult titles.
  • Beyond Five in a Row– Is a literature unit study program for ages 8-12 using chapter books and many of the books are about scientists such as George Washington Carver, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, and Neil Armstrong. We have used BYFIAR for years and you might enjoy visiting our Beyond page.
  • History of Science from Beautiful Feet– This is more a survey of history through the lens of science, but the guide introduces you to many scientists along the way.
  • WinterPromise– Their themed programs provide many resources and lessons on people which include many scientists.

Other Blog, She Wrote Posts about Science & Scientists

We’ve had discussions on many scientists over the years. Some are formalized studies and some are conversations at the dinner table. Here are a few were written about:

  • Renee Descartes Mathematician & Philosopher– Although he was a math guy, I’m throwing this one in to show another way to use biographies.
  • Elias Howe– A unit study on the inventor of the sewing machine complete with the mechanical conversation about the physics of sewing machines.
  • Henry David Thoreau– Was a naturalist and we reflected on nature study through is lens.
  • Beyond FIAR– This is a landing page devoted to our studies which include some scientists.
  • Homeschooling Middle & High School Science– This is a revealing post about how we teach science at our house. With two scientists teaching at home, our methods are not conventional. We talk about science all the time, but we don’t always follow a curriculum in a typical way.
  • How to Homeschool with a Kindle– Notice the Kindle Fire at the top of the post? All of our kids have them and it makes it a lot easier for them to grab a book and go. I also check books out on their Kindle through the library system. The main thing here is if you haven’t had time to get all the books you need, you can always grab a Kindle version for step 2.

When I am tempted to do a more traditional approach with our fourth grader, we keep coming back to this method. Any science becomes more interesting through the eyes of the people who made tireless efforts to achieve their goals.

You can adapt this to any grade level and require different skill sets of work for the same biography.

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Best Educational YouTube Channels for Homeschoolers

Best Educational YouTube Channels for Homeschoolers

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Over the last few years, YouTube has exploded with content made by experts in their field. Some of them are very talented at sharing concepts in creative ways. These channels are the reason it’s fun to make a YouTube Playlist for your students. Today’s post is all about the Best Educational YouTube Channels for Homeschoolers.

As always with internet content, previewing is a good idea. While many of these vloggers have great things to share, you want to be sure it is right for your family.

Math Channels on YouTube

Videos are a great way to enjoy math and these YouTube videographers have some fabulous content for us. Apart from curriculum math, I love the way these channels make us think about math. You’ll find everything from tutorials and instruction to current events and new ways to think about mathematical concepts.

  • ViHart– You may know her from Kahn Academy videos, but she has a style all her own. She has some fast paced videos which are sure to keep your attention and keep you thinking.
  • Numberphile– Just like the name suggests, this guy loves numbers and so will you after spending some time here.
  • Computerphile– A channel about all things computers. I know our youngest would adore this channel!
  • Kahn Academy– There’s a tutorial for everyone here! Math, science, languages, etc. These are individual videos, but on their website you can take courses as well. Our youngest enjoys the courses on computer science.
  • WowMath– This is a harder core lesson channel for high school math. Calculus anyone?
  • Professor Leonard– Another channel dedicated to math education.

This video from ViHart is all about the hexaflexagon. After watching it, our daughter made a bunch of them. Try it!

YouTube Science Channels

Science is an easy video topic with many science enthusiasts making contributions. If you have a favorite not listed here, please share it with us!

    • Mythbusters– Who doesn’t love this fun concept of busting or proving common conceptions (or misconceptions) in the physical world?
    • Vsauce– This guy tackles fun science questions like, “What is the speed of dark?”.
    • MinutePhysics– Fun physics videos that teach us why things are the way they are in the world around us
    • Periodic Videos– These are fun videos based on elements in the Periodic Table of the Elements.
    • SciShow– Fun videos on science concepts with an engaging format.
    • MinuteEarth– A fun look at earth science and conservation concepts
    • Veritasium– An element of truth. A look at science from the angle of misconceptions we may believe.
    • Sixty Symbols– Cool videos on physics and astronomy
    • How It’s Made– Our kids love this show! Now you can view episodes and clips on how everyday objects are made in factories around the world.
    • Cornell Lab of Ornithology– All things birds on this channel. If you are a nature enthusiast, then this is a great place to start.
    • Peterson Field Guides– Add a visual to your birding with these videos
    • BrainCraft– A show about neuroscience. Cool things to learn about our brains and the way they work!
    • ASAPscience– A weekly dose of fun science

Ethan, our 11th grader, suggested this video from VSauce to share with you. It’s a perfect illustration of the fact that many of these YouTube personalities talk about a variety of subjects. Just know that I grouped channels together reasonably well, but you will find these folks stepping out of their niche from time to time. While VSauce is mainly science, this video talks about language and how we use it. This is a fun look at words!

History Content Channels at YouTube

It’s easy to find video web content on historical topics, but it’s nice to have it all in one place. These are a few of our favorites when it comes to history and social studies in general. Sometimes you can catch full episodes of shows and other times, it’s only a clip.

  • CrashCourse– This channel has all sorts of subjects including historical and political content.
  • History Channel– You can find clips and full episodes of shows on the The History Channel.
  • Brain Bubble TV– Be smarter in 60 seconds. All kinds of questions and historical topics covered here. Probably other subjects too.
  • Mental Floss– A weekly trivia channel for knowledge buffs!

Tips for Using YouTube in Your Homeschool

Since most of us probably don’t need another reason for our students to sit in front of a screen, what are some ways to use YouTube effectively?

  • Sick days– You know those days when your kids aren’t totally sacked out, but they aren’t up for doing their regular school work? That’s a great day for a YouTube play list on math or science.
  • Traveling– Educational and reasonable when you have long road trips and you’ve played out the alphabet game
  • Waiting Time– I love to pass the time in doctor’s waiting rooms with a good math video. We’ve had quite a year of therapies and dr’s appts and this keeps the kids thinking.
  • Enhancement– Of a concept they are already looking at. Doing geometry in math? Find a fun video on Pi.
  • Inspiration– ViHart is a great artsy math example for our artsy daughter. She loves to watch math doodling videos and give them a whirl. It’s also good for introducing new vocabulary like, “fractals”.
  • Project Ideas– When our kids are working independently on their own projects, they can find help with a simple search.

Tools for Using YouTube in Your Homeschool

So, what do you need to get started using YouTube channels? Families are in different places with technology. Most people have a desktop computer, but not everyone has a mobile device. Here are some ideas:

  • Desktop Computer– There’s nothing wrong with saddling up and watching at the desk.
  • TV– Using a Wii which can access the internet. This is a great choice if you want a lot of people to see the video at once.
  • Tablets– Like iPads and Kindle Fires. If your family does not have a tablet, then I recommend the Kindle Fire. It’s a very economical way to enter the world of tablet computing and it’s a great product for internet consuming!
  • Mobile Apps– If you do have a tablet or a phone, you can use a YouTube App to view your playlists easily. I was even able to add to my playlists on my phone.
  • Playlists– If you want to have the lists of videos made ahead of time, then you can make a playlist. How to Make a YouTube Playlist is a tutorial on how to do just that!

How to Make a YouTube Playlist

Other Technology Posts at Blog, She Wrote

As I have become a user of some savvy tools in our homeschool, I like to share not only our experience but also how others can make use of the same tools. Enjoy some posts on technology in homeschool:

  • Managing the Internet in Your Home– All about how to use your router to filter content along with how to put access controls in place for your family’s devices. My husband Dan did a great job making this accessible to readers.
  • How to Make a YouTube Playlist– In case you missed this link and want to make customized playlists for school subjects.
  • How to Use Google Earth in Your Homeschool– Tutorials, lessons, and ideas on using this digital globe.
  • How to Homeschool with a Kindle– This page shares with you all my posts using a Kindle (both the reader and the tablet) in your homeschooling. Most people aren’t aware of all the features a Kindle offers. These have been invaluable in our studies.

What are your favorite YouTube channels? Please share them in the comments!

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