I bought “A Year of Hands-on Science” from another public school teacher (now a homeschooling mom/teacher) the year before we started homeschooling. What a find! It’s right up my alley with two themes to follow for each month of the school year. This year I’ve aimed to do the themes that I didn’t teach last year. I was very excited to follow the lessons since they were hands on and also gave suggestions for trade books and other subject connections.
We use this book at least once a month, and sometimes even twice. My kids always ask what theme we are going to study each week, so I know that they are just as excited about our lessons as I am. I’m going to be sad when we finish the whole book, however the kids are already asking to do the butterfly unit again, for the third time!
The book includes science concepts and skills, vocabulary, and the activities.
I always check out the resources at the end of each theme, so I can snag some literature (from the library and/or internet) for the foundation of our lessons. This week we read, “The Big Balloon Race” by Eleanor Coerr, “Flying” by David Crews, and “The Glorious Flight” by Alice and Martin Provensen. What I love about these books is that they are all nonfiction.
Because “The Big Balloon Race” and “The Glorious Flight” are all about trying to accomplish something through difficult situations, we focused on the character trait “perseverance”. I found a Veggie Tales lesson about perseverance and we talked a lot about the meaning of perseverance and read devotions out of “My Everyday Promise Bible.”
Since we were reading about hot air balloons I found a hot air printable for my preschoolers. This was a color by number so it worked on color words and number recognition.
The Flying Things unit plan has 3 activities. Here is a science journal page that I made up to go along with the first activity.
To tie in a little language arts, I put together a little journal page so the first graders could write space stories, and my Pre-K kiddos could draw pictures. I love their rocket ships!
You can find the writing page here!
The second activity in the book was to make whirlybirds. The kids loved to see the paper spin!
To tie in some math, we all designed our own paper airplanes and took them out for a test drive. We had two teams of pilots who would fly their planes to see how far they could go. The captain of each team (the older students) would then help the Prek pilots measure how many yards their plane flew.
Since the book, “The Glorious Flight” took place in France, it was a great opportunity to do a little study on France. I found a great lap book on Homeschool Share. I really only wanted my older students to know where France is located, so we found out what continent it is on and colored it on a map.
Since the story is set in the 1900’s, we practiced on our past tense and present tense verbs. I did a little chart on the white board to help record our thoughts.
For the final science activity the kids made rocket balloons. The kids decorated sacks to represent their rocket ships.
Then came the fun part! The kids blew up balloons and clipped them shut with a clothes pin. Then they taped a straw to the side of their bag and ran a string trough it that was taped to a chair. When they moved their rocket balloon to the center of the string, they let the air out of their balloon to see which way their rocket would travel. Oh my! What fun!
So, if you are feeling a bit “flighty” this time of year, you might want to give some of these ideas a try!