Science Logic Curriculum Archives - Page 3 of 4 - Eva Varga


October 6, 20144

postagestamps

Welcome to the The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas Blog Tour where we’re going to be stopping in on the authors of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas. I hope you have been enjoying the tour. 55 homeschool moms have contributed 103 chapters of homeschool goodness. My contributions were a chapter on How to Use Postage Stamps for Learning and Inquiry Science with Middle School Students. Read on to find out why I wrote these chapters and a glimpse at their content.

The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas Blog Tour

Everyday in the month of October, we’ll meet a new author of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas. You’ll find out why they contributed their chapter or chapters to the book and why they feel passionate about that particular topic.

How it works:

  • Visit each author on the blog tour and participate in the giveaway they may be hosting.
  • Enter the giveaway for The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas & iHomeschool Studio Bundle below.
  • Purchase the bundle! Don’t worry. If you win the giveaway, you’ll get your money back. Buy now while you can!
  • Click the calendar to see the other authors on the tour and to see their giveaways.
  • Yesterday, Amy Stults from Milk and Cookies, author of the chapters Learning with Maps and Genealogy for Kids, gave away a copy of WonderMaps from Bright Ideas Press.
  • Tomorrow’s giveaway is from Colleen Kessler at Raising Lifelong Learners . Author of the chapter Hands-on ScienceColleen will be giving away Science for Smart Kids: Electricity.

The Bundle Blog Hop

There are so many wonderful contributors to this bundle – come along and get to know each of us a little better. Each day of October we will be highlighting one of the talented women who have helped make the  iHomeschool Studio and Big Book of Homeschool Ideas such a success.

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Inquiry Science for Middle School

I am so excited to be a contributing author to the Big Book of Homeschool Ideas.  I love teaching science; my goal is to provide inspiration so you may engage your students in hands-on science and service learning experiences.

Sharing my passion for science reinvigorates me and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to contribute to The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas.

In the article, Inquiry Science with Middle School Students, I define inquiry science for you and break the process of scientific discovery down into smaller components – partial inquiry versus full inquiry.

Teaching science through inquiry is the cornerstone of good teaching.  But what, exactly, is inquiry science?

inquiryscienceScientific inquiry refers to the activities through which students develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world.  In many classrooms and homeschool families, students enjoy fun science demonstrations. These hands-on activities help bring the exciting world of science to life.

getting started coverI have written a series of posts, What is Scientific Inquiry, whereby I address the scientific method, science process skills, and science as inquiry. In the series, I address several key misconceptions about science and share with you examples of how to easily modify existing cook-book activities for a more inquiry based instructional approach.

As a special thank you, I have put together a Getting Started with Inquiry Science guidebook that will be available as a free download through the month of October. This bonus eBook is 18 pages providing detailed descriptions of the scientific inquiry process. The different levels are described to give you an idea of where to begin and how to do inquiry science with your students. It also includes many planning pages for student led or open inquiry as well as two guided inquiry labs.

Postage Stamps for Learning

Shortly after we began our homeschool journey, we discovered the joy of collecting postage stamps. In the beginning, we collected with no clear objective in mind. As our collections grew, I began to seek out activities that would provide opportunities to learn about the people featured on the stamps and the places from which they were issued. It wasn’t long thereafter that we were exhibiting at philatelic shows around the country.

I am excited to share with you how we use postage stamps in our homeschool. In the chapter,  How to Use Postage Stamps for Learning, I explain some details and advice regarding using postage stamps for learning such as:

  • What to collect?
  • Where do I find stamps?
  • How do I soak and protect my stamps?
  • How do I display my stamps?
  • What are the educational opportunities available to me?

Postage stamps will be featured more regularly on my blog in the coming months as my kids and I work on developing our new exhibits. Follow along and find out how to use them with confidence in your homeschool.

 The Big Book & Studio Bundle

For a limited time (Oct 1 – Nov 10), get the iHomeschool Studio and Big Book of Homeschool Ideas bundle for just  $15!  The bundle includes 23 MP3s from our spring 2014 webinar and a massive 560+ page eBook for only $15 (regular price $36). This offer won’t last long!

Whether you are new to homeschooling or a seasoned home educator, The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas and the recorded webinar sessions provide a library of resources you could turn to when you have a question in your homeschool.  With this ginormous bundle, you can go beyond the basics of academics and delve into delightful methods like active learning, learning with postage stamps, using LEGOs for learning, teaching on the road, delving into inquiry science, loving living math, discovering your child’s personality type, and more.Studio and Big Book Bundle
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A Giveaway, Too!

What is even more exciting is that we are giving away 10 copies of the bundle!!  Don’t wait to see if you are a winner and risk losing out on this incredible sale! If you purchase the bundle and end up winning, we will immediately refund your money.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 



September 15, 20141

This fall, our family will be taking a journey to the Ecuador and Perú. I am so very excited as we will be traveling to the Galápagos and Machu Picchu – two locations on my dream list.

In preparation for this excursion, I have created a multidisciplinary unit study, Galápagos Across the Curriculum,  and am delighted to share it with you.

Please Note :: This unit study includes lessons and activities on Darwin and evolution.

Galápagos Unit Study

The Galápagos islands were originally called the “Enchanted Isles” because the capricious meandering of the Humboldt Current had the effect of making the islands disappear and reappear to passing ships. The islands were discovered accidentally in 1525 by Tomas de Berlanga, the Bishop of Panama, who wrote of the strangeness and mystery of the Galápagos, “such big tortoises that could carry a man on top of itself, and many iguanas liked serpents … and many birds like those of Spain, but so silly that they do to know how to flee …”

galapagos unit

Come along and discover the mystery of the Galápagos for yourself. The Galápagos Across the Curriculum unit study incorporates lessons in history, literature, writing, biology, ecology, geology, taxonomy, meteorology, and oceanography.  Specific unit vocabulary is defined and an extensive list of additional reference materials is provided.

Scavenger Hunt

To help build excitement, I have also created an online scavenger hunt for my newsletter subscribers. All correct responses will be entered into a drawing to win a fun surprise package from our travels this fall. I will reveal the winner on September 29th, so if you haven’t yet entered, there is still time.

Simply hit ‘Return’ or ‘Enter’ on your keyboard to submit your email address and subscribe to my newsletter. 



July 30, 2014

I am so very excited! I have finished the life science curriculum series I envisioned so many years ago, Life Logic: Dialectic Stage Life Sciences.

A complete full year life science curriculum … Botany, Zoology, and the previously completed Ecology!! botanyLife Logic is an inquiry based, hands-on life science curriculum for middle school students. It is created to provide teachers with the tools and inspiration to engage their students in meaningful, hands-on, inquiry based science and service learning experiences through tangible curriculum, shared resources, and real-world contexts.
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The curriculum was originally field tested in the public school classroom and more recently in the homeschool or co-op setting. Life Logic is comprised of three disciplines (Botany, Zoology, and Ecology).
ecology
The units can stand alone or can be combined for a complete academic year curriculum.

They are available for purchase today!



May 23, 20143

With our STEM Club, we recently undertook a three part ecology study I call, Field, Forest, & Stream.  We met at a local preserve with a fabulous outdoor classroom space and spent the day inundating ourselves in outdoor science. Today, I share with you the activities we enjoyed as a part of our stream ecology lesson. 

stream ecologyStream Ecology

Streams and their surrounding riparian areas provide essential habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species. To maintain a healthy population of fish and wildlife, a habitat must provide food, water, cover from predators, breeding, nesting, and rearing areas, and protection from heat and cold.

Healthy riparian areas provide most or all of these elements for fish and wildlife species. “Riparian” means riverbank, and “riparian area” refers to the border of moist soils next to a body of water, and the plants that grown there. A small stream with steep banks could have a riparian area that is only a couple of feet wide, but a large lake in a broad valley could have one several hundred feet wide.

Stream Survey / Habitat Assessment

Many factors go into making up a riparian area that is healthy and meets the needs of a variety of species. The data we gathered as a part of our habitat assessment evaluates many of the key indicators of the condition of these important areas. Typically, an authentic riparian area habitat assessment evaluates eleven different parameters, we focused on just a few to simply gain field study experience.

stream data

Bottom Substrate

Substrate is the material that makes up the bottom of the stream. It can be a good indicator of land use activities and gradient upstream. It determines what types of macro invertebrates can live there and the suitability of the site for fish and spawning. A diversity of types and sizes of materials is considered to be better habitat than just fine materials such as silt and sand. The bottom substrate affects the characteristics of flow, the quality of the water, and the suitability of habitat for instream life.

Channel Shape

Channel shape can be an indicator of other forces at work in the steam and of conditions at other times of the year. Is the shape a natural product of stream forces, influenced by the actions of humans, or a combination of both?

Velocity of Current

Fast-flowing water is generally more turbulent than slow-moving water.  Turbulence is one factor that influences concentrations of dissolved oxygen.  Both fast and turbulent flow require different living strategies for organisms found in these reaches. To calculate the current velocity, we measured a 50ft distance along the shore. We then used a stopwatch to calculate the time it took an orange to float this distance. V=50ft/x sec.

Interested in undertaking this study yourself? Field, Forest, & Stream is part of the Life Logic: Ecology Explorations unit that I have developed for middle school students. What better way to learn about ecology than to get out there, collect data, and experience the physical factors that influence the animal and plant communities first hand.



March 8, 20144

career options

Does your child love insects and creepy crawlies?

Does she enjoy spending time outdoors, exploring nature?

Does he have jars and terrariums all over his bedroom with little critters he loves and cares for?

Do you pull up a lawn chair on your grandparents porch in the middle of the night to watch the moths flicker about the porch light?

 

If you answered yes to any one of these questions, a career in the field of entomology may just be the career for you.  Entomology is the scientific study of insects. Many entomologists specialize in a single order or even a family of insects.

The science of entomology provides many choices and opportunities for those interested in the diversity of nature. While some entomologists work in the field, others work in the laboratory or classroom, and others find niches in regulatory entomology or the pest control industry. The options for entomology careers are as diverse as insects themselves. Explore some of the fascinating careers described below.

entomologycareersEntomology Careers

research entomologist with the Forest Service who studies the chemical reaction between insects and plants.  Bugs’ Life Not so Rosy Around Young Entomologist

Forensic entomologists use their expertise and knowledge of insects to help solve crimes.

A plant protection entomologist typically works within the field of agriculture to the study of insects as they affect food, feed, and fiber crops. Meet Lincoln Moore, an entomologist with USDA and an educator at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA.

Medical entomologists are concerned with the role insects play in causing diseases in animals and humans.

Convincing the public of the economic and physiological benefits of maintaining insect diversity is extremely important.; the perfect job for conservation entomologists.

Salary

Average Entry-Level:  $29,260 per year

Average:  $47,740 per year

If you are interested in further exploring entomology with your children, there are many activities and curriculum materials available.  I have developed a fun, hands-on unit study called Introductory Entomology.  It is a six-week unit that incorporates more than 10 hands-on activities and many suggested extension activities.

Introductory Entomology (Insects) Unit Study



July 24, 20134

I grew up in Bandon, Oregon and though we now live in the valley of northern California, we travel home as often as possible.  While we go primarily to see family, the ocean pulls us to her just as compellingly.  We have enjoyed exploring the tide pools, investigating the unique estuarine habitats, and tasted freshly caught Dungeness crab many times in the past.  Recently, however, we spent some time taking a closer look and discovering the secret of the tides.

tidal chart

As pictured in the the photo collage above, we visited a beach access area at both low tide (6:59 a.m. @ -1.9′) and high tide (6:56 p.m. @ 1.5′).  I specifically selected this area because on low tide, we had access to tide pools.  Shortly after I took the photo, we walked down the stairway and spent time investigating the marine invertebrates.  While we marveled at the sea stars and innumerable sea anemones, I began to pose questions about the animals we observed and about the wave evidence on the shoreline.  We noted specifically where we found each species and shared our hypothesis for how these organisms could survive in such a dramatically changing environment. I’ll share our discoveries soon – the kids are still working on their nature journals.

Create a Tide Graph

One of the most useful activities we undertook this past week was to create a tide graph and then use the newspaper to also plot the corresponding moon phases.  To create a tide graph yourself, use a tide chart and select a specific month; you can access tidal data from NOAA.  Use a piece of graph paper to  graph the highest high tide and the lowest low tide for each day (recall there are typically two high tides and two low tides each day).  Use a different colored pencil for each tide type.  The day of the month should be on the x-axis and the height of the tide on the y-axis.  Tides can be negative, so be sure to include negative numbers on your y-axis.

Lastly, find a moon phase calendar for the selected month (or look up the moon phase in your local newspaper).  Sketch the four major moon phases (new moon, 1st quarter moon, full moon, and 3rd quarter moon) under the corresponding calendar date and label them accordingly.  After completing the graph, answer the questions listed below.

  • Is there a relationship between the phase of the moon and the tides?  Explain what you observed based upon your graph.
  • What are spring tides? Based upon your data, around what phase(s) of the moon do spring tides occur?  How do you know this?
  • What are neap tides? Based upon your data, around what phase(s) of the moon do neap tides occur?  How do you know this?

Take it Further

If you have enjoyed this activity and would like to explore related lessons and inquiry activities, check out Estuary Ecology, a fourteen lesson hands-on life science curriculum unit study that focuses upon estuaries and salt water marshes.

** Please note that graphs will vary depending upon the selected location and time of year.  A great extension activity is to create tide graphs for distinctly different locations (Newport, Oregon and Cape Code, Massachusetts, for example) and/or different seasons.

Submitted to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival at Handbook of Nature Study.

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