Environmental Science: Timeline, Key Terms, & Pollination

Have I told you how much I love Boy Scouts? My son first joined in February of 2016 and has since earned 21 merit badges – the most recent of which is Environmental Science.

As science – specifically environmental education and stewardship – is my passion, I offered to serve as the merit badge counselor and lead our troop through the merit badge requirements.

My goal was to complete everything in just a few days. We thereby met from 9am to noon for three consecutive days and it turned out to be just the right amount of time.

Over the course of this month, I will share with you the highlights of our exploration. Each Sunday through the month of September, I will post a description of the activities I coordinated and the resources I used to teach the environmental science conservation merit badge.

Timeline of Environmental Policy

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Timeline of Environmental Science

I devised a game similar to Timeline – one of our favorite family games – to introduce the Scouts to the historical events and initiatives that have shaped environmental policy in the United States.

One of the best things I like about the original game is that cards can be combined with the decks of multiple Timeline games (Discoveries, Music & Cinema, Inventions, Historical Events, etc.)

How to Play

While the original game has 110 cards, my simplified version has just 28. Six boys attended the class so I distributed four cards to each. The remaining four cards I held out, using a couple to demonstrate how to play the game.

Each card depicts an image of a historical event related to environmental science and a short summary text. The year in which that event occurred is shown on the reverse side. Players take turns placing a card from their hand in a row on the table.

After placing the card, the player reveals the date on it. If the card was placed correctly with the date in chronological order with all other cards on the table, the card stays in place. Otherwise, the card is moved to the appropriate place on the timeline.

In the original game, the first player to get rid of all his cards by placing them correctly wins. However, since there are not many cards to begin with, emphasis is on familiarizing oneself with the material not on winning.

Download Your Own Copy

If you are interested in playing the version I created, you can download it here, Environmental Science Timeline. There are two cards on each sheet of paper. You will first need to cut the two cards apart. Then simply fold each card in half to conceal the date and begin play.

Environmental Science Timeline ActivityKey Terms in Environmental Science

To familiarize ourselves with environmental science vocabulary, I used a slide show to first introduce the terms. We then played a game of bingo whereupon I called out the definition and they had to find the matching term.

Creating the bingo cards was quick and easy. I simply entered the terms into the widget at myfreebingocards and followed the prompts.

Download Your Own Copy

If you are interested in playing the version I created, you can download and print your own set for Environmental Science Bingo here.

Environmental SciencePollination

The last topic we covered on the first day was pollination. As the boys are entering 7th and 8th grade, they already had a good understanding of the process of pollination before we began. I thereby didn’t spend much time on reviewing this. Instead, we first watched a video, The Lifecycle of a Queen Honey Bee.

With the information we had learned from the video, I guided the boys through the process of creating a fortune teller to illustrate the life-cycle of the honeybee (complete metamorphosis). As they worked on their illustrations, I read aloud from the Handbook of Nature Study in more depth as well as to share the differences between the queen, the workers, and the drones.


As they departed at the end of day one, the boys exclaimed that the activities I had planned were enjoyable and that the also learned something. I call that a success.

Join me again next week when I share the activities I devised to cover environmental science requirements #3a-f.

Timelines of History & Science

When we first started homeschooling,a Book of Centuries was one of the first things we implemented in our curriculum. We love the concept so much – we still use them today!

I have learned a few things along the way. I share these insights with you in hopes you’ll benefit from my past experience.

Timelines of History & Science @EvaVarga.netA Book of Centuries is basically a timeline in a book. A timeline allows the reader to compare advances and discoveries in different cultures relative to each other in time.

I first discovered them when I was researching Charlotte Mason’s teaching. Charlotte recommended that history be taught in chronological order, which makes sense since so much of what happened was based on cause and effect. Essentially, as we learn about people and events in history – either through readings or documentaries – we record them on the appropriate pages in our Book of Centuries.

When we add a person to a page that already contains someone or something that occurred in the same century, our brain makes a connection. “Oh! Beatrix Potter lived at the same time as Theodore Roosevelt. The Boer War and Boxer Rebellion were happening at the same time!” A Book of Centuries is the perfect tool to make those mental connections. Making these connections for ourself has a deeper impression and last longer.

Getting Started with a Book of Centuries

When we first started, the kids and I each had our own Book of Centuries. I downloaded the Basic Book of Centuries template from the Simply Charlotte Mason website and we set up our timelines in a 3-ring binder.

As we read about different events and people through history, I printed images onto sticker paper and we sat down together to adhere them to the appropriate pages. I would then ask that they write a short sentence or two summarizing the event or accomplishments of the historical figure. We would also color code each event by outlining each image – a different color for each continent.

While my daughter was as engaged as I, my son was too young. He managed putting the stickers in his book but would soon become distracted and would fail to write the sentence as instructed. Additionally, we would often struggle to stay current with our history reading. After we completed the four volume series of Story of the World, we slowly began to drift away from our Book of Centuries.

Recently, I opened my Book of Centuries and began to revisit the people and events that I had documented over the years. My daughter came to sit beside me and she expressed interest in revisiting this process. Our books had become a great companion and record of the fascinating people we had met through our texts, living history books, and documentaries.

Looking back, I should have compiled a family Book of Centuries when the kids were younger. I have since learned that Charlotte’s students didn’t receive their own until they were about ten years old. During the younger years, we should have collaborated together and it would not have been so overwhelming to my son.

Timelines of History & Science @EvaVarga.netTimelines Resources

As we have begun to revisit our timeline books, I was delighted to get the opportunity to review Dorling Kindersley’s (DK) Timelines of History and Timelines of Science. Produced in association with the Smithsonian Institution, these excellent timeline reference books are filled with striking photography, infographics, and illustrations. Each edition is a fabulous addition to a home library.

Timelines of History is by far one of the best books that DK has published thus far. It is a stunning visual chronology of the events and people that have defined our history, providing a clear picture of our human past and the events that have changed our world. For anyone who is fascinated with history, this is a must-have. It is a great reference for students and teachers alike with a passion for understanding the past.

Timelines of History is over 500 pages long with full color on every page. I love the timeline at the bottom of each page; a great quick-reference tool that allows us to more accurately place events and historical figures on our own Book of Centuries.

DK’s companion text, Timelines of Science, is another excellent reference book. However, as scientific discoveries are shown chronologically, unrelated topics are sometimes presented together. This can be confusing to some readers if they are not accustomed to this approach.

The book is organized in six main sections based on the era of scientific discovery,

  • Before Science Began (including advances made by Greek medicine);
  • European and Islamic Renaissance;
  • Age of Discovery;
  • Age of Revolutions (including Faraday’s experiments);
  • Atomic Age; and finally
  • Information Age (including a discussion of global warming).

Like its companion, the main component of  Timelines of Science is the timeline that runs along the bottom of each page. The upper part of each page contains related pictures and illustrations as well as brief descriptions of the advances noted on the timeline.