Monday, January 23, 2012

Living Science Books

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy going about science through great living books and observation.  Both my girls are enjoying their science just a tad more this year.  I'm guessing it's because their books are leading them through some great hands on experiments and labs.  The beauty & simplicity of it all comes down to just how natural the experiments read within the context of the books or how the progression to want to find details on experiments of  what they are enjoying doesn't feel forced upon.  There is no separation of extra lab to do page with all kinds of comprehension explanations or questions before hand.

My oldest and another Chemical History of a Candle experiment:

This experiment/demonstration absolutely required adult supervision ; )

My 8 year old daughter enjoyed her way through an entire year of Let's-Read-and-Find-Out science books last year, just perfect for a beginning reader.  She basically kept a science notebook (you have to read Nancy's post on this) in which she recorded anything she thought was interesting - either by reading about it or actually observing it.

I thought I would be comfortable using a set curriculum for her science this year (aside from natural science assigned readings) because she wanted some more hands on, bang type of labs ; )  We did try it and within two weeks dropped it.  It just didn't feel right for us. We were back to living books, observation and a science notebook. 

I happened to find a thin 48 page picture book on our used library sale shelf  last summer called Magnets and How To Use Them by Tillie S. Pine and Joseph Levine.  At a dollar price I purchased it and thought my boys would find it interesting because of its simplicity and lots of illustrations.  Just didn't think it was a science book! daughter found this absolutely perfect for her new science this year.   It isn't that the book is simplistic but, rather, that the writing is just perfect for an elementary student.  It is talking to the student and giving all the information in way that they understand the subject while enjoying it too.  This certainly fits the description of a living book.

I ordered a magnet set and she got to work with her weekly science as usual.  I found two more titles for her by the same authors: Simple Machines and How We Use Them plus Electricity and How We Use It.  I read through the books and they both just required a few things we already had around the house plus a quick trip to the hardware store totaling $6.00 for a battery and little bulbs.  She has had a wonderful time going through her weekly reading and possible experiments, which seem to happen almost weekly.  Last weeks light bulb trick had all the boys (and older sister) taking a turn. Then when dad got home; we got to see it all over again.

The books are less than 50 pages each but I can honestly say that it is best to savor the books.  It is taking us two terms to get through the three titles I've picked.  Like I mentioned, they might be picture style books but they are full of great information and possibilities for further hands on exploring on your own.  While Mrs. Pine and Mr. Levine have other titles that they collaborated on, I think we are going to use a similar type of book for term 3 by a different author.  I'll let you know how that one goes when we get to it.  I keep being reminded that a good book can go a long way to giving my children a good education, even in the sciences.  I have two happy science girls this year.  One has already given me her requirements to what science she wants to study next school year.


Dorie said...

These books sound fascinating. I'm gonna check around for these titles.

Angel said...

That's a beautiful cover on that science notebook! We really like the Let's Read and Find Out Science books around here, too. I've started trying to collect the out of print ones, too.
I'll have to check out the other books you mentioned for my science-focused 8 year old. He's a struggling reader, but loves hands-on science. We've had several light bulb-battery tests around here over the years... to the point where almost every battery in the house ended up in his science box!

Eva said...

We have the same magnet book (the one from Levine). I didn't know it was a series. Thanks for mentioning this! What set curriculum did you try?

By the way, how did you put a personal message into this comment box?

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Angela, that sounds like something my kids would do : D

Dorie, I'm gaining an appreciation for OOP books, but some are fairly easy to get and cheap.

Eva, you can go to the 'settings' in blogger then 'posts and comments' and there is a box 'comment form message'. Type in what you want : )

Nancy said...

Wonderful! Love the books, too. (Did you know that the theme for this year's LER is Science?)

There are soooo many wonderful, living science books out there to discover.

Thanks for sharing what your family is doing and keep up the incredible work!

From joy to joy,

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Ooh Nancy, that sounds like something I would love to hear more about!!

Eva said...

Thank you, Jenny, I had already done that, but I didn't know it would show up in my comment box. I thought it just showed up under my comments. I thought I had done something wrong.