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Learning About My Body (Science Works for Kids series) Review by Nancy Casari DaytonBy Jo Ellen Moore
Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
18 Lower Ragsdale Drive
Monterey, CA 93940-5746
The inside front cover clearly sets out the concepts to be covered: structures and behaviors of the human body, the main functions of the brain, the five senses, growth and change of the body over time, and caring for our bodies. Learning activities are designed for students to practice scientific inquiry, including such skills as observing, predicting, comparing, recording information, and using tools and equipment. The activities provide clear step-by-step instructions and illustrations. Each concept and its related activities are self-contained, so you can pick and choose the areas you would like to explore with your kids.
Resources such as record sheets, logbook sheets, mini-books, and picture cards are reproducible. The book provides high-interest, hands-on, teacher- and student-friendly materials. The content of the lessons and the pages in general is well organized and clear, having a good balance between printed information and white space. The font size is large enough to read easily, and the book is easy to navigate.
Here is a breakdown of one "concept." "The body has external parts." The first activity involves a child standing in front of the "class" and the other children describing what they see. This is for the purpose of discerning what parts are external. This can easily be modified for a home setting. Then you are directed to read from two books cited in the bibliography contained on the inside back cover. There are 35 books listed there. From what I can tell, it would be easy to find other sources for the information from books on hand or at the library.
In the next section, a beginning and advanced vocabulary list is suggested. The teacher is to point to the body part; the students are to name it. Now you are directed to a reproducible that can be used to make a puzzle to put on flannel board. There is also a coloring page that identifies external body parts with labels. This page is to be kept in a logbook.
The third section has students consider how body parts may be used for different jobs (e.g. legs can be used for walking, running, and kicking). You are to refer to outside reading material too. Students can make riddles about body parts. This section also refers to a reproducible for students to cut and paste a body from six pieces and then write or dictate a phrase or sentence about what each part is doing.
The last section asks students to compare how people look alike and different by looking at each other, pictures in magazines, and photographs. Then there is a game that directs students to form a circle and have individuals jump in and out of the circle based on their features, (e.g., those with two arms, those with three arms).
After looking through the activities, the resources provided, and the teacher involvement required, I can recommend this resource to fellow homeschooling families with a few considerations. First, this resource definitely has a classroom feel to it. Having worked in a classroom myself, I can see how the learning activities lend themselves to large group discussions. Second, there is some inconvenient teacher preparation required. There is a certain point at which if you need to make copies, it makes sense to make 30 (for a classroom of students) rather than 3. Third, if you value the living book kind of learning, this resource alone does not provide that. It certainly would provide a very nice balance to reading good-quality books about the body. The bibliography has good suggestions.
Having said that, I feel the $12.99 price is a good value for the quality of the material and information provided. It is a resource I would use to study the human body in conjunction with other good-quality reading material. I probably would not do all of the activities (like the flannel board), but I think my children would enjoy at least a few of them. In addition, it would make a fine resource for a science co-op.