Tag Archives: Homeschool Science

Funtastic Unit Studies: Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers . . . A T.O.S. Review

To say that I have never enjoyed science is an understatement. I was not very good at it in school, and feared teaching it to my kids. And then can the book Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers, by Susan Killbride, from Funtastic Unit Studies!

This is a large softcover book which runs 201 pages, and has 20 unit studies in it on different topics. The first half of the book is geared to younger ages, while the second half would be for when they are a bit older.

We chose a unit from the first half for a variety of reasons. It interested us, the needed items were easy to access, it had a lot of food involved (remember, I have all boys, lol), and we wanted to include the boys next door, one of whom is going into the first grade.

So you are probably asking ok, but what did you do and learn? Why is it “Funtastic?” Because I know you are aware by now that wherever possible, I believe learning should be FUN! 🙂

We began by talking about teeth, and the various reasons it is important to care for them. We made homemade old fashioned tooth powder, and my boys then brushed with it, which caused them to appreciate more fully the tooth paste available today. They also learned not to use the homemade version more than once or twice, as it is very abrasive.

Here you see the only items going into the tooth powder:

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All mixed together:

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And here are the boys “joyfully” brushing their teeth with their homemade tooth powder which we flavored with vanilla, lol!

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We learned about the importance of calcium, and made our own calcium-rich snack. It called for milk and lemon juice, although we also added some roasted garlic and herb seasoning.

We began with a quart of milk which the boys took turns pouring. Side note, I was going to buy a quart of milk, and my husband pointed out that I could just measure a quart from the gallon jug in the fridge. Duh! As I’ve told you before, I am NOT the science and math parent here. lol!

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After, they stirred until it boiled:

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Once it boiled, we added the lemon juice and stirred for a minute or two more . . . and the curds began to separate from the whey!

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We drained it through a mesh colander, and this is how much we ended up with from the original quart of milk!

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We also learned about and made a snack rich in vitamin A, which included cream cheese, shredded cheese, and carrots. The boys took turns stirring it up . . .

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And then “The Artist” put on food handler gloves finished mixing it, and formed it into a ball!

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We also put together a healthy fruit salad . . .

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Once the boys next door got home from their summer day camp, we did some activities to see how germs spread. We used glitter so that they could actually visualize it.

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We also did an experiment with a little spray bottle and a piece of poster board to show them just how far the germs can actually go if you cough or sneeze without covering . . .

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For vitamin D, and also to talk about the importance of exercise, we went out doors for some fun!

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As you can see, they had a blast jumping rope and playing limbo. Below, even the neighbor boys’ dad got involved!

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I managed to get a quick video too! The neighbor boys’ parents are holding the rope.

Once we finished playing, the boys and I went inside to enjoy our healthy snacks!

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As a quick addition that I forgot to add to the original post, we went to Sam’s yesterday, and my kids tried the Healthy Choice fudge bars, after which “The Batman” pointed out that it went with our health unit. The rest of the time we were there, they were checking labels for the vitamins, etc. So great, they actually had remembered what they learned, and applied it in real life!

All in all, we had a great time, and you can, too! Check out this free Plant Unit Study, as well as the free Molecules Unit from the book. Both will give you an idea of how much fun you can have! With science! Who knew!

To read about what other members of the crew did with this wonderful book, please click the banner below!

Funtastic Unit Studies Review
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Filed under Funtastic Unit Studies, science, Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers

Supercharged Science . . . A T.O.S. Review

My children and I were fortunate enough to review the e-Science Premium Membership from Supercharged Science last year, so we were surprised and happy to be given this review again this year! 🙂

Last year, I was so excited about this that I printed out the shopping list for the unit we wanted to work in, without paying attention to the teacher, Aurora Lipper (more about her later), so I would up purchasing supplies for EVERY SINGLE experiment, LOL!

Then, we went through a period of time with varied health problems and surgeries, and after the review period we never finished the unit. 😦 When the boys found out we were doing it again, they BEGGED to do more of the experiments making crystals, and since we basically still had everything (although I did have to buy some sugar and some alum), that was what we did.

I’d like to tell you a little bit about Aurora Lipper, and Supercharged Science, though, before getting into what we did this time around. She attended Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, California, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering (with a minor in Mathematics and senior project in Rocket Science) in June 1996. Aurora also, while still in CA, continued her studies in a Master’s program with Edward Air Force Base, later becoming a student pilot, followed by receiving her private pilot license. Aurora Lipper, who is the online teacher at Supercharged Science, is a real rocket scientist, who has a gift for bringing her lessons to a level where even younger kids can understand them, along with no-nothing mom’s in the science department, like me. My kids are special needs kids, with various developmental disabilities, and they are very enthusiastic about this program.

As I told you above, at the request of my four boys, we chose to work more in the “Matter” unit, because they wanted to do more crystals. First, though, we re-watched the video on Unit 3: Matter (Getting Started)
. Then, it was onward and upward!

We did NOT actually begin with crystals, however. We started with an experiment called “The Breaking Point”, in which we learned about tension, compression and elasticity, using a pencil. We learned that wood (such as in a pencil) is very elastic and can bend. We also learned that eventually, there is a “breaking point”, and the pencil will snap. While we looked at the differences in the breaks in the pencil, Aurora explained about tension and compression.

Watching Aurora’s video . . .
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Here, we have the boys taking turns bending the pencil . . .
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And now, “The Batman”, finally breaking it in half!
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They really enjoyed this one. Being boys, they like it when they get to break stuff! 🙂

So, now we were onto the one experiment that all four boys have been DYING to do, Rock Candy crystals. We made a supersaturated solid solution, just like we did when making laundry soap crystals in our previous review, except THIS one was made of water and sugar.

First, we watched Aurora teach us on the video . . .
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And then, we began making our solution.
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Here is “Mr. Loquacious” taking a turn at stirring . . .
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Next up, “The Puzzler” . . .
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Then “The Artist” took a spin . . .
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Followed by “The Batman”.
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After what was a LOT longer time than we expected from what was on the video, we FINALLY got the sugar dissolved! We then divided it into separate glasses, and added food coloring to each one.
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We seeded our skewers with sugar, and then put them into the glasses just the way we had been shown on the video . . .
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And left them to do their work. Sadly, we must have done SOMETHING wrong, because they’ve been sitting a while and there are no crystals yet forming on the skewers. We will try again, though! 🙂

We WERE successful with another crystal experiment, this one involving cleaned out egg-shell halves, water, alum and food coloring.

Here are all of the supplies we used for egg-shell crystals . . .
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Here, the water and alum is being mixed to make another supersaturated solution.
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We set the egg shells, filled with the solution on a plate with an upside down bowl in the center, so they would stay put.
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We then left them to do their work, with me pretty much constantly telling my boys they didn’t need to check them every five minutes! 🙂

Happily, we were successful this time, YAY!
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Aurora said in her video that we can keep making the supersaturated solution with the alum and water, and adding it to the same egg shells, which will eventually give us a simulated geode. My kids are wanting to do this, so we’ll see if there is a bulk food place here where I can buy a larger supply of alum without spending a fortune at the grocery store on it.

We received the K-12 plan for this review, however, you can either subscribe to that at a cost of $57.00 per month, or the K-8 level plan for $37.00 per month.

Do I believe it’s worth the cost? Yes, I do, especially as we would very likely stick with the K-8 plan. Do I feel it is truly affordable? Well, it really is not affordable for us, and I think many homeschoolers would feel the same, sadly. Most homeschoolers live on one income, and have to pinch the pennies very hard. As I said in my previous review, I’d love to see a substantial discount for paying a whole year at once, whenever the family can afford to sign up and do that (like at tax refund time, lol!), or even partial scholarships. Other than that, I can see nothing but positives regarding the e-Science Program from Supercharged Science. We LOVE it!

To follow Supercharged Science on social media, please check out the following:

https://www.facebook.com/superchargedsci
http://www.twitter.com/aurora_lipper
https://www.youtube.com/user/auroram42

https://plus.google.com/u/0/112193545312804826871/posts
http://www.superchargedscience.com/blog/

Other crew members also reviewed the e-Science Premium Membership from Supercharged Science. Please click the graphic below to discover their views!
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Filed under Aurora Lipper, e-Science Program, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, Special Needs Children, special needs education, Supercharged Science, TOS Post, TOS Review