Teaching Geography with Earth Science

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

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Not only will our high schoolers earn a high school credit in geography, but they will also have their earth science high school credit. We can get a lot of mileage out of the content and videos in the earth science text when we are doing physical geography, but there are also beginning concepts which compliment one other. Here’s a look at How We Teach Geography with Earth Science.

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

High School Earth Science Topics which Go along with NorthStar Geography

There is some amount of overlap between geography and earth science. Physical geography includes discussions on earth science. While physical geography teaches the various features of the earth, earth science will not only name them and describe them, but will tell us how they were formed. In looking at both resources, I made a list of the shared concepts.

  • Maps & Direction- Types of maps and how to use them. For example, topographical maps (including contour maps), geologic maps, bathymetric maps.
  • Navigation- Subtopic of maps & direction. Lines of longitude and latitude, tropics zones, prime meridian, etc.
  • Structure of the Earth- Plates & continents. Earth Science will talk about composition of the earth while geography will touch on the people and their boundaries.
  • Topography- Bodies of water, man-made features, the lay of the land so to speak
  • Lithosphere- Mountains, volcanoes, and earthquakes.
  • Hydrosphere- Oceanography, freshwater systems
  • Atmosphere- Climate, weather, weather maps and interpreting weather data

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

How We Use Ck-12 Earth Science for High School with NorthStar Geography

CK-12 is an open source text book out of California which offers courses in science and math for free. The open source nature of the site means you can enjoy lots of content folks share including quizzes, tests, labs & activities. This particular course (Earth Science) has quite a lot of front matter, so we skipped it having met those topics in our science courses many times. We began with the Earth Science content.

Here are a few ways we have found to work these two courses together so far this year:

  • Read the chapters in both the NorthStar Geography text & the Earth Science text- the matching concept chapters compliment one another and come at a topic from a different perspective.
  • Watch the embedded video from the Earth Science text- For example, after doing the chapter on maps, we watched a video on latitude.
  • Activities & labs from Earth Science work well with geography and vice versa. We did the mapping activities with NorthStar Geography as our work for Earth Science.
  • NorthStar Geography Activities- Can add hands on fun to the Earth Science sections which are the same.

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

Flexible Technology Allows us to Use Both NorthStar Geography & High School Earth Science

Part of working with both of these resource tools together is to make use of technology when we can.

  • We use the ebook & print version of NorthStar Geography- The student reader is available in either the print version or the digital version. If you purchase the printed version, it comes with a CD which includes the digital edition.
  • The earth science text and NorthStar Geography were put onto my students’ kindles- They can watch embedded videos right from the text and read anywhere without sharing the resources with each other. The earth science text is offered in a mobi file for Kindles and the geography was loaded as a pdf.
  • If they want to compare resources they can read off the computer while viewing their NorthStar ebook or text book. With two kids taking the courses at the same time that’s handy. They will be busy with assignment and not necessarily work at the same rate or in the same way, so having options with no extra expense is a bonus.
  • Using a Kindle in Your Homeschool- Do you use a Kindle in your homeshcooling? Our student Kindles have been invaluable to our studies as our children have gotten older. Reading, research, and organization tools are used every day by our students. Amazon has a new Kindle- the Kindle Fire HD6 is $99 and offers the same excellent features as the one we use (with the bonus of a camera) with a slightly smaller screen. That’s a cost effective way to enter the world of tablets!

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

Benefits of Choosing NorthStar Geography for High School Credit

So far, the course has been enjoyable. We love geography at our house and even our high school junior, who considers himself a geography buff, could stand to brush up on his knowledge- especially in the area of human geography. What makes this one credit course right for us?

  • It’s easy to follow and very thorough- I think it’s especially easy when you have WonderMaps because the directions tell you what features to choose in the map before you print it.
  • There are several schedules you can use depending on how often you want to study geography in a particular year.
  • Hands on activities for every chapter- There are activity directions for each chapter which are easy to access and print for your students.
  • Build your own student atlas using WonderMaps printables or the ones included in the resource disc.
  • Hands off kids can work on memorizing the maps- They can choose to make an atlas or concentrate on memorizing only. There are a variety of ways for students to approach the course by choosing options along the way.
  • Customize to your needs and abilities- With so many components and the clear directions not to use them all, you can easily customize the course to your student’s strengths and your goal with the geography course.
  • Purchase alone or as a bundle with WonderMaps- If you already own WonderMaps you can go right for NorthStar. If not, you can purchase them together. The maps you need are included with NorthStar, but I love to make custom maps for our work and for any other of our map needs!

My plan is flawless except for the Lyme Disease which my high school junior is fighting. Whenever you are working with multiple ages and coordinating curriculum, something is bound to go wrong- in case you might think the world is perfectly aligned with such a great plan! So, our high school freshman must work ahead at this point. Ethan will have to catch up later or they will continue separately or mixed and matched with labs and activities. It’s important to remain flexible and keep forging ahead with circumstances as best you can. The plan is still there to keep on us track and let us know where we are headed!

We are delighted that earth science and NorthStar Geography are part of the plan this year!

North Star Geography & WonderMaps Combo

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Geography Quest: Shark Edition

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Shark Edition

National Shark Week begins on August 10, 2014. Are you studying the ocean or its creatures? Need a topic of focus because the summer is getting long? There are many resources available for Shark Week and I thought it would be a great opportunity to give you a new Geography Quest. Geography Quest: Shark Edition.

Species of Shark & Their Distribution

Ever wonder where various shark species are found around the world? A simple web search revealed some great sites for answering this question. Do some research and choose information to represent on a map.

  • Shark Foundation Shark Database- This site contains shark classification and distribution information. It has an interactive map to visually see the range. You can click on an area in the world and see a long list of shark species found there. Use this information to map several species of shark around the world.
  • Shark Trust- Traveling around this website will lead you to a Shark Sighting Database where you can see where people have sighted sharks. This is a great site to learn more about shark morphology and sharks in the news. Take a look!
  • Habitat & Distribution of Sharks- Learn about where sharks are found in the ocean. Are they surface dwellers? Deep swimmers? What conditions are best for sharks?
  • Shark Attack Map- From surfertoday.com shows where shark attacks have happened. Would your student like to make a shark attack map of his own?
  • Choose Some Information from Your Research to Make Your Own Map- Choose one species or several or choose an area of the world to map all the shark species found there.

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Shark Edition

Map Shark Migration

Do sharks remain in the same areas of the ocean at all times? Do they travel based on the weather? Time of year? Food needs? Read about shark migration and make a map. A lot of shark tracking is going on, but it is by species. I will list a few sites here for you.

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest: Shark Edition

Shark Week Resources

There is no shortage of hype around shark week! Here are some of my favorite picks from my searches.

Shark Art with Chalk Pastels

Tricia at Hodgepodge is releasing a new chalk pastels eBook for National Shark Week. Check the links below for a shark art video tutorial along with the new book.

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Shark EditionHow to Draw a Shark with Chalk Pastels- Nana does a nice little Great White Shark video tutorial with her chalks. We enjoyed this!

You’ll find 10 shark tutorials with instructions for how to draw them in chalks along with information about the shark species. There’s a paragraph or two with general facts at the start of each lesson and embedded in the art directions are more tidbits about the shark! I loved this!

Shark Art Tutorials

Through August 10, 2014, the new shark eBook is available for $5.99. Once shark week begins, the price will increase to it’s regular price of $7.99.

 

Gear up for National Shark Week by gathering your art supplies and making sure you check out the Discovery Channel’s programming. Trim up some mapping skills by having your kids do some shark research and map out the distribution and migration of sharks. Have fun!

Big Book of Homeschooling

Shark Art Tutorials

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Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

We are gearing up for another homeschool year here at Blog, She Wrote. This post comes just in time to write out the Individualized Home Instruction Plan I’m required to write for all my students for New York State. Here’s a look at our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for 2014-2015:

11th Grade Curriculum

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

This is the big junior year for our oldest, Ethan. He has a heavy academic schedule in addition to preparing for college bound tests. For the first time, he is enrolled in an online class. We’ve chosen to outsource one class for the sole purpose of having someone else give a grade. I know it will challenge him to meet deadline not given to him by us and a good grade in an online class will give validity to the ones we give him on his transcript. College admissions officers like this!

  • Modern US History- We are using All American History from Bright Ideas Press for a look at modern history in the US.
  • Geography- NorthStar Geography from Bright Ideas Press
  • Worlds of Imagination Fantasy Literature- First semester he will take a Potter’s School class on Fantasy Literature.
  • Worlds of Imagination Science Fiction Literature- Second semester is focused on the world of science fiction.
  • Other Worlds- The science fiction & fantasy module of One Year Adventure Novel. Ethan has been writing his dystopian novel since the spring. It’s coming along well and so far, his writing far surpasses that of his adventure novel.
  • Trigonometry & Calculus- He is in the last quarter of Life of Fred Trigonometry and will begin Life of Fred Calculus this year.
  • Earth Science- We are using CK-12 Earth Science for High School. He is completing credits in chemistry and biology now and will do earth science before he takes physics in his senior year.
  • Spanish- With Rosetta Stone. He is working on 3 credits of a foreign language as required by one of the universities he wants to apply to.
  • Phys Ed- Ethan does a half credit of PE each year and it is mainly comprised of large group games at our homeschool co-op and at youth group. He also mows grass and does yard work for others.
  • Fine Art- He must have one credit of fine art for high school and he does one quarter credit each year by doing computer graphics and other projects for his content area work.
  • Homeschool Co-op- We participate in a ten week, two hour co-op in the spring and fall. This fall he is taking dystopian literature class along with an outdoor games class.
  • Test Prep- We’ll be working with Ethan to study for the PSAT in the fall and the SAT/ACT in the spring. It is time!
  • FLL Mentor- Having aged out of FIRST LEGO League, Ethan is transitioning to team mentor. He’s pretty excited about helping the teams this year as a mentor.
  • Part Time Job- Ethan took on his first part time job last April at a local grocery store. He works as a cashier anywhere from 12-17 hours a week.

This is a heavy academic load fairly typical of a college bound high school junior. Over the last year his energies have focused on writing. Ethan loves to write and would like to explore the possibilities in technical writing and editing. He’s excited to have narrowed his interests down and to have an answer for all those well-meaning inquiries that come his way!

9th Grade Curriculum

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

Rebecca is our new high schooler! Her four year plan has been laid out with the basics plus a strong emphasis in her areas of interest.

  • Earth Science- She’ll be working with her brother through CK-12 Earth Science for High Schoolers
  • Geography- NorthStar Geography from Bright Ideas Press
  • Cover Story- Finish up this program
  • US History- All American History Volume II, modern history
  • One Year Adventure Novel- She is excited to start her own novel. This curriculum has been a part of our homeschool for over three years now.
  • Pre-Algebra & Beginning Algebra- With Life of Fred. She will continue to work through Algebra skills this year
  • Spanish- Rosetta Stone
  • Art- Rebecca will have a yearly art course with goals listed and a framework laid out. She’s already started with a Craftsy class in pen, ink, and watercolor
  • Sewing & Design II- More design elements and coursework for her pattern drafting and sewing with an emphasis on portfolio work.
  • Health- one quarter credit is required and is accomplished through family discussion and focus on current issues.
  • Homeschool Co-op- Usually sewing and craft classes when they are available.
  • Phys Ed- a half credit per year which is done through regular weekly activities such as large group games and seasonal activities.

 7th Grade Curriculum

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

Our 7th grader, is a huge fan of planes, rockets, and anything flight. Using Adventures in the Sea & Sky from WinterPromise seemed like a great fit for him and a nice transition from unit studies to more traditional approaches to learning.

  • Adventures in the Sea & Sky- This is a fantastic look at the history of sailing and flight throughout time- explorers, scientists, sailors, inventors, pilots. Anyone and anything that shaped the way we live today by their pioneering in these areas.
  • Cover Story- He will be finishing his magazine with Cover Story by the creator of One Year Adventure Novel.
  • Physics & PreAlgebra- with Life of Fred Physics and Pre-Algebra texts.
  • Earth Science- Primarily within the studies of sea and sky which will include oceanography & space sciences.
  • Phys Ed- Large group games weekly, bike riding
  • Homeschool Co-op- Which includes FLL and games this fall
  • FLL- He will be on a FIRST LEGO League team for the first time this year.

4th Grade Curriculum

We have one last elementary school student and he is sharp. Here are our plans for him:

  • Adventures in the Sea & Sky- He will be working with Isaac on this study and it will be interesting to see how they work together and how they will follow their interests.
  • Math with Life of Fred- He will begin the intermediate series and we’ll shore up skills in preparation for Fractions in 5th grade.
  • Language Arts- Focus on paragraph writing and short reports on our own and with WriteShop Junior D.
  • Homeschool Co-op- He loves to take whatever science classes are offered and this year will be in the FLL class as well.
  • FLL- He is a new member of our FLL team this year!
  • Engineering- Always an elective for him, he will have project time. It might be building or exploring or computer programming or solving a problem/making something better. But, he cannot be stopped!

Work Together with Multiple Ages

I always like to include time when all four of our children will learn together. Having been a unit study family only for a long time, our kids come from a homeschool background of working together and learning alongside one another. Though, we prefer to let each of our students work in their niche, we like to come together on some things. This year it’ll happen in a few areas.

  • Reading Aloud- I like to begin our day with this or use it as a tool to refocus on the work at hand.
  • Earth Science- The high schoolers will be working on the CK-12 course while the younger two boys will be doing oceanography and space science (both considered pieces of earth science) as part of Sea & Sky.
  • Geography- Once again, the high schoolers will be studying NorthStar Geography and the younger boys will tag along. I want to see how the course pans out for younger students- particularly late elementary.
  • Art- We do lots of art projects together which I love to use to adorn our walls!
  • Discussion/Collaboration- One of the things we are good at in our homeschool is collaborating with each other even now that our kids are not all working on the same level or curriculum. Asking for opinions and advice, starting discussions and review, and seeking expertise from others is something we encourage our kids to do daily.

How to Enhance Any Curriculum

Blog, She Wrote: How to Homeschool with a KindleWe have had huge success with using a Kindle in our homeschool. Both the eReader and the Fire have been assets to our learning for over a year, but especially after our three youngest kids all got Kindle Fires for Christmas last year. Learn all the ways we use Kindles in our homeschool.

We are looking forward to a new start. It’s exciting to think about what a new year brings!

Other bloggers from the iHN are sharing their curriculum choices for this year. Have a look around and be encouraged!

nbtsbloghopcalendar2014Don’t forget to drop in and enter the Geography Learning Tools Basket Giveaway through August 7, 2014.

Big Book of Homeschooling

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