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In the Hands of a Child Project Pack: Plants Review by Jacque Dixon

By Katie Kubesh, Niki McNeil, and Kimm Belloto
In the Hands of a Child
3271 Kerlikowske Road
Coloma, MI 49038

In the Hands of a Child Project Pack: Plants is a 79-page, complete hands-on unit study for grades 4-8. It is ready to assemble and includes a 14-page Research Guide and 25 hands-on activities. A Project Pack, as described in the book, is "simply a file folder refolded into a shutter-style book." Another term for the shutter-style book is a lapbook. Lapbooks provide your children with a keepsake and a record of all that they learned during the study.

The spiral-bound manual tells you everything you need to know to make your lapbook. It includes a supplies list and detailed instructions for the pack, and the spiral binding allows you to fold the pages back for easy copying of the reproducible graphics. The Research Guide contains the actual lessons to teach. It is laid out in a chapter-style format and incorporates vocabulary lists and review questions. Also included are a bibliography, a list of related books, and a list of websites you can use with the study. Topics covered include plant classification, the anatomy and structure of plants, plant reproduction, the life cycle of plants, photosynthesis, and more. The Activities and Instructions page has all you need to complete the projects for the shutter-style lapbooks.

As you use this method of learning, your children will be doing hands-on activities, which will increase their retention of the material because they are having so much fun! Your children will learn to classify plants properly, identify the basic parts of plants and leaves, complete an experiment (in a question, hypothesis, prediction format), look inside a seed, make an accordion poster of how seeds travel, and much more.

For those who have never assembled a lapbooking project, the author has included full-color pictures of completed projects in the manual. The graphics accompanying the activities are very well done, and there are concise and clear instructions for assembling and affixing the various parts of the project. Prep work involves cutting out all of the materials to affix to the folders. This could be viewed as a bothersome task or a great learning experience. If you have never created a shutter-style lapbook in your homeschool before, you will love the many different ways to fold and affix the individual projects to the folders.

I am looking forward to using this as part of our science curriculum. There is so much packed into the study, and I am excited about all of the fun we will have putting it together and learning about plants.

Product review by: Jacque Dixon, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2008