Sunday, April 15, 2012

Review -- What on Earth?


According to their website, "AIMS is a non-profit foundation dedicated to helping teachers give students a solid conceptual understanding of math and science." For the past thirty years, teachers have worked together to bring hands-on activities to students so that they can gain a greater understanding of basic math and science concepts. All AIMS materials follow the Chinese proverb, "I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand."

I haven't done many formal science studies with Lauren so I was interested in seeing what sort of materials AIMS offered for lower elementary students. For the past several weeks, we've enjoyed lessons and activities from What on Earth?.

PhotobucketThis book covers topics that are perfect for Kindergarten and First Graders that are curious about the world around them. These six sections include: Resources, Rocks and Soil, Water, Changes, Day/Night, and Seasons. As a whole, the thirty lessons in this book would make a great semester of science for an early elementary aged student.

Since I usually use materials that were specifically designed for homeschoolers, I noticed that these lessons were written for a more traditional school setting. Some of the activities lend themselves to a larger group setting, such as "have students work in groups of four." In every case that I saw, however, it was fairly easy to adapt the lessons plans to teach only one student in a homeschool setting.

Each lesson includes background information for the teacher, a step-by-step procedure to use during teaching time, questions to discuss with your student, and extra resources. The extra resources often include picture books that would be an excellent way to provide more information about a specific topic. In some cases, I think Lauren would have preferred if I had skipped the story or background information read in the teaching procedure and used an appealing picture book instead.

Overall, I was impressed with the wide variety of activities chosen for this book. Some of the lessons included short booklets to be printed and shared. Another lesson included making a model house of note cards and then using a blow dryer to simulate hurricane force winds. I obviously can't share all of the ideas, but I will say that most of the ideas are ones that I haven't seen before.

What on Earth? is available for $21.95 for either a pdf copy or a paperback book with companion CD. I loved having the companion CD so that I could print activity pages for Lauren instead of having to make photocopies. AIMS Education Foundation offers many other activity books for teachers, most of them in roughly the same price range. I'd recommend looking for one either to use as a unit study, as a complete science curriculum, or even just to supplement science materials that are lacking in hands-on activities.

If you'd like to hear what the other members of the review crew thought about activity books from AIMS Education Foundation, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here. Earlier this year, the review crew used a different set of activity books, and you can find those reviews here.

Disclaimer: I received What on Earth? as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


1 comment:

  1. I love the thoroughness of this review. Thanks so much for doing it!




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