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What on Earth? Book and CD (Grades K-1) Review by Brandi TesreauAIMS Education Foundation
PO Box 8120
Fresno, CA 93747-8120
What on Earth? is a unit study for Kindergarteners and First Graders, which was developed and published by the AIMS Education Foundation. ( A ctivities I ntegrating M athematics and S cience) In this study, your child will learn all about Earth, while engaging in many hands-on activities. Though created for a classroom setting, it can be easily adapted for homeschool use.
The book covers six key concepts: Resources, Rocks and Soil, Water, Changes, Day/Night, and Seasons. Concepts are broken down into 30 manageable lessons. If you teach Science every day, you can expect the study to last about one month.
Each lesson has a unique title and several subheadings. Not all subheadings are the same in each lesson, but they are very similar. For example, the lesson "Nature's Gifts" has 11 subheadings--Topic, Key Question, Learning Goals, Guiding Document, Science, Integrated Processes, Materials, Background Information, Management, Procedure, and Connecting Learning. All lessons follow a similar and orderly format.
This book should be used like a teacher's manual. The lessons are very hands-on and require advance preparation. Lessons should be read carefully in order to become familiar with the information, and to have time to assemble materials. Some lessons require children's literature, and some lessons require certain types of equipment such as Teddy Bear Counters, safety goggles, and hand lenses. All lessons require materials--many of which you may already have, such as glue, scissors, tape, and pencils, but some may need to be purchased at the store. Some of these store purchases may include sugar cubes, a clay flowerpot, kitty litter, and sand. A complete materials list, including children's literature, is provided on page 127. The special equipment is available from AIMS.
A companion CD is included with the book, so you can conveniently download and print all of the worksheets. Also located on the CD are twenty-three waterscape photos. During the water study portion of the book, you will be able to show your child the different kinds of water sources on Earth.
I think What on Earth? would be great for parents who like unit studies, and for children who are naturally tactile/kinesthetic learners. This is definitely a curriculum in which you learn by doing. Some of the projects and activities which you and your child can look forward to are as follows: collecting and examining rocks, drawing and coloring with dirt and soil, assembling a Moon-Go-Round, singing songs, making a Ring Around the Seasons mobile, eating edible earthquakes, and many more.
As a parent who tends to lean more towards a classical education, What on Earth? is a little overwhelming by itself. However, I have thoroughly enjoyed incorporating many of the projects into our current science program, and will continue to do so. My first grade daughter has already proudly displayed both her paper plate sun and Ring Around the Seasons mobile in her room!
To order the What on Earth? unit study, visit www.aimsedu.org. You can purchase the book plus the CD for $21.95. It is also available in a PDF format for the same price.