Reader Favorites from 2015

It is hard to believe that 2015 is nearing an end, this year just seemed to fly by. As I prepare to turn the calendar page I thought it would be fun to share the posts that were reader favorites from this past year. I’ve made some annotations about each of the posts so that if you missed a post, you can catch the summary and jump over if you would like to read more.

Reader Favorites from 2015 @EvaVarga.netSome of these posts were not actually published in 2015, but they are reader all time favorites showing up on this year’s list. It is not surprising to me that many are from STEM Club, the homeschool science co-op I have directed the past three years.

Free Science Curriculum for Middle School I understand that budgets are tight and we have to make tough decisions about what extra-curriculars and curriculum we can afford. The best things in life are indeed free so in this post I have compiled a list of free science curriculum specifically for middle school.

modeling plate tectonicsSTEM Club: Plate Tectonics The theory of plate tectonics was first suggested by Alfred Wegener in 1915. It wasn’t widely accepted however until the 1970s as new information was obtained about the nature of the ocean floor, Earth’s magnetism, the distribution of volcanoes and earthquakes, the flow of heat from Earth’s interior, and the worldwide distribution of plant and animal fossils. This simple activity allow students to model each of the different types of interactions at plate boundaries.

STEM Club: Introduction to Body Systems  At the middle school level, students should begin to view the body as a system, in which parts do things for other parts and for the organism as a whole. I thereby developed this unit for students to understand that there are different systems within the body and that they work independently and together to form a functioning human body.

Autobiography Maps: Our Life as an Island  Creating an autobiography map is a wonderful activity with which to get to know students better. It is especially great at the beginning of the year.  They began by brainstorming important things that have happened during their lives, items or activities that represent them currently, and goals that they have for the future.

bromoblueSTEM Club: The Respiratory System The most popular and well received lesson in the Human Body Systems unit were those related to the respiratory system. I had several stations set up around the room and the kids loved each of the quick demonstrations in which they took part.

Building Toothpick Bridges: A Lesson Plan We have had an opportunity to build toothpick bridges a couple times and it is always a fun and challenging experience. This post describes our first foray into learning about bridge engineering. You might also be interested in learning more about Joseph Strauss, the engineer who designed San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

STEM Club: Scientific Classification and Dichotomous Keys Whenever I begin a life science unit, I begin with a review of scientific classification and how to use a dichotomous key. In this post I provide a couple of free printables you can use with your own students.

genealogy with kidsGenealogy With Kids Digging into the family tree gives kids a sense of connection within their families, as well as a sense of general history. It also can provide a context for understanding complex issues, such as war and immigration. Exploring genealogy together offers a practical benefit for adults as well. I share a variety of ways in which to integrate genealogy activities into your homeschool curriculum beginning with the youngest of learners.

How to Teach Middle School Science  I realize that not everyone feels comfortable teaching science – especially utilizing a hands-on approach. I have thereby compiled advice from homeschool experts – homeschool parents just like you and I – who have been teaching our own children for a number of years. They share their wisdom and advice for teaching science at home.

Introduction to Orienteering @EvaVarga.netOrienteering for Kids We love the sport of Orienteering which originated in Sweden. It is an exciting adventure sport that will get your kids running – and provides lots of great learning opportunities for homeschooling. It combines athleticism with geography, math, science, and technology.

What was your favorite post this past year? Share in the comments. :)

About Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥

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