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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

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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:

Free Online Earth Day Games

Free PDF Books:

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: Visualize the flow of nitrogen in the environment.

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

 


Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Poetry and Poetic Devices Tags: poetry poems poetic devices

Poems, because they are shorter literary works, can provide an easier way to study figurative language and other literary devices. Listed here are a variety of ideas and activities for analyzing poetry -- and for igniting the creative spark:

Analyzing Poetry

Click on the Google Doc: 

Online Poetry Units (from Georgia Virtual Learning)

6th Grade Unit

7th Grade Unit

9th Grade Unit

Writing Poetry - Ideas and Helps

(click on the images)

Other Poetry Posts:

Poetry Happens

Romantic Era Poets

Literary Devices in Two Suspenseful Poems

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: 
  • 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 superstitions, 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:

Cultures and Geography, by traykay

 

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