This summer, my children and I are going through a six-week unit
study on Life Cycles. This hands-on book from Nomad Press fits
our needs perfectly! It is divided into six chapters that help
children learn new topics and then explore them with engaging activities
and experiments. It is written for children ages 6-9, but it contains
activities that can be fun for all ages.
Chapter one introduces the concept of Life Cycles of different
creatures, including humans (from babies to adults,) plants (as
seeds to flowers,) and mealworms (as eggs to worms and then beetles.)
This chapter includes five pages of reading, with fun illustrations,
and then three separate activities.
Chapter two discusses classification for nine pages, followed
by six fun activities that include making a snack mix and growing
your own mealworms into grain beetles.
Chapter three teaches gestation in a very tasteful, age-appropriate
way. While very informative, the material does not confuse topics
or create unnecessary curiosity for those whose children are not
ready for that topic. Most of the focus was on eggs and seeds.
The four activities that coincide with this chapter include growing
an upside-down plant and creating an underwater viewer. This is
especially fun if you have a creek or pond nearby.
Chapter four covers growth and life span. Students explore the
different stages of the growth process in different creatures and
then experiment with five interesting activities that include making
fun snacks and growing mold on bread (not a snack!).
Chapter five teaches propagation of species, but again in a very
age-appropriate way. Seeds are the primary focus in this chapter.
There are four activities with this chapter, one of which involves
making a mini compost bin!
Chapter six, the final chapter, discusses threats to life cycles.
For my family, this one will require some discussion about the
material. It is an important topic with extremes on both sides.
I want to be sure to give my children a balanced, respectful, and
healthy view of the earth God created and our role as stewards.
With only six pages to introduce the topic, I was surprised that
almost an entire page was dedicated to the dangers of DDT and the
belief that DDT was responsible for a period of decline within
the bald eagle population. This is a myth that has persisted for
years even though it has been shown that scientific journals were
already publishing concerns that the Bald Eagle was facing extinction
22 years before production of DDT began. And studies were already
showing an increase in the population in 1970, before DDT was removed
from use. This has me less than thrilled with the final chapter,
but it still raises a very important topic to study.
This is a fun, interactive book that makes a perfect guide to
an interesting unit study. It is easy enough that you could finish
the entire book in a week, if you want to do only one or two activities
from each chapter. But there are enough activities to make each
chapter last a full week if you prefer. Because the book has great
introductions to vocabulary words and some very basic charts, we
are working on creating our own lapbook as we go through it. My
children think it is a very fun way to learn science, and the activities
help them to better grasp the concepts they are learning.