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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

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Adventures in Geocaching -- And Other Geography Resources
Category: Academics
Tags: geography geocaching for kids world geography geography games

 

When geocaching on a road trip, or even around in your own neighborhood, you can use the activity to learn about the geography, history, culture, and plants and animals of an area.

Caches are sometimes placed near historical markers, and you can take the opportunity to read up on events of the past while you're looking.

There are also nature caches that ask finders to identify trees, leaves, or rocks in an area, or answer questions about a particular landform, like a mountain. 

And sometimes, locating caches requires you to venture down trails, some of which have markers that tell you about the local flora and fauna.

Smartphones have made it very easy to geocache, (get the free app). Here are some other free apps that can be used in tandem with geocaching, or by themselves to help make geography more interesting: 
  • New Google Earth: While you're out geocaching, use the new Knowledge Cards feature of Google Earth to learn about the history, culture, natural wonders, and wildlife in your area.

  • Waymarking: This free site helps you pull up all kinds of unique and interesting places in your surrounding area. Put in an address, or search by one of hundreds of categories that range from the  ordinary to the bizarre, and everything in between. Some of the entries we pulled up around Santa Fe included wagon roads and trails, labyrinths, urban legends and superstions, and weird natural formations. There was even a category showing locations for and information on penny smashers, (one of my daughter's interests).

Additional Geography Resoures:

  • National Geographic's MyWonderfulWorld has a variety of geography-related games and activities. 

Cultures and Geography, by traykay

 

Ecology and Environmental Science
Category: Science
Tags: ecology environmental science earth day

 

Free textbooks, virtual labs, interactives, and activities for building an ecology unit: 

Textbooks: If you want to use a textbook to structure your unit, check out CK-12's Intro to Ecology, with 35 sections covering ecosystems and related topics. Sections include reading, related videos and links, and online practice questions. You can easily create your own "Flexbook" with only the sections you want to cover. The Ecology chapter is part of CK-12's Life Science textbook. 

HippoCampus Environmental Science VideosInformation on Earth's atmosphere, water, geology, and ecosystems.

Exploring Planet Earth: Free online course presented in 10 modules covering Earth's systems and resources.

Click the image below for an interactive worksheet on Earth Day:

Here are some links to free resources for explaining and learning about various ecology topics through interactives, labs, assignments and activities. 

Levels of Organization: This Glencoe Virtual Lab is an investigation of how competition for natural resources affects population growth. Grow two species of Paramecium, compare growth curves, answer journal questions.

Food Chains/Webs

  • Energy Flow in Ecosystems: Shows how energy flows through a food chain between producers, consumers and decomposers. Includes a short quiz.

Predators and Prey

  • Predator-Prey Simulation: Examine predator and prey interactions, in this case, wolves and deer. Set three parameters for the predator: aggression, birth rate, and dependency upon prey as a food source. Then run a simulation to see how the populations change over time.

Symbiosis and Other Interactions:

This video on symbiosis is part of a TED-Ed lesson that includes questions and additional information. 

Nature Cycles:

  • Water Cycle: Interactive diagram with a multiple choice quiz.
  • Carbon Cycle: Travel the cycle with this interactive game. Click the "For Teachers" link for a related lesson plan and additional resources.
  • Carbon Cycle Investigation: A longer simulation activity in which sources of carbon, and human effects on the cycle are identified.
  • Nitrogen Cycle: A description of all the cycles are found here, but the one for nitrogen is an interactive diagram. (Click on page 4).

Photosynthesis and Respiration

  • Virtual Lab: A simulation investigating the effects of environmental conditions on photosynthesis.
  • Interactive Google Doc: 

Earth's Biomes:

  • Six Virtual Biomes: Description of plant and animal life in the major biomes and ecosystems.

Habitats and Ecosystems: 

  • DK Find Out: Interactive illustrations on plants and animals in different habitats. 

Biodiversity: 

  • Backyard Biodiversity: Kids search for animal life in microhabitats close to home. Involves observation, classification, and species mapping. Includes links to several citizen science projects.
  • Endangered Species Assignment: Using earthsendangered.com, create a graphic organizer comparing 4 endangered species from an area of the world.

Environmental Problems and Solutions

Energy Resources

  • Energy Story: Online book with 20 chapters you can click into to learn about different sources of energy, such as fossil fuels, natural gas, wind, hydro and solar energy, etc. Click into the teacher resources for a list of lesson plans.


Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Happy Easter
Category: Misc.
Tags: wildlife wildlife preservation wildlife conservation animal classification animal types list of endangered species endangered animal species

Easter Egg Activities:

(Endangered Animals Easter Eggs and other activities.)

Learn about mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, plants, ecosystems and habitats, and endangered species at the Arkive, a not-for-profit conservation initiative that is building a multimedia archive of the world’s species.

The site can be explored by topic or grade level (ages 5 - 18), and there are many learning kits and activity packs to download, some with PowerPoint presentations to introduce and explain topics. Some examples: 

Nocturnal AnimalsIncludes a PowerPoint presentation and game for matching animal sounds to correct animal pictures.

Animal ClassificationSeveral different presentations, worksheets and activity packs are available for this topic, including a Guess Zoo guessing game.

Animal Communication: Presentation on how animals communicate, and resources for researching a particular animal and creating a video report on how it communicates.

The site also has a games and puzzles page, and activities page with animal origami and mask crafts. 

More Egg Stuff

Egg Math : And links to free math instructional videos.

Egg Hunt: Webquest for researching egg cookery, egg safety, egg products, and specialty eggs.

Egg Lab: Egg Shell Geodes

Good Egg Project: Learn how eggs get from the farm to the table.

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die..."

John 11: 25 - 26

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