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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Science
Buggin' Out
Category: Science
Tags: bug insect insect identification pictures of bugs insects for kids

 

For budding entomolgists and nature detectives, these free insect investigations help take the learning outside: 

Field Guides: Essential for comparing illustrations with actual crawlies and flying beasties discovered, and for learning fast facts. Here are a couple you can download for free: 

  • Orkin Guide: Has color photos and basic information on common insects, like bees, wasps, mosquitoes, flies, ants, etc. 24 pages.
  • EPA Bug Book: This more comprehensive garden guide contains pictures and information on good and bad bugs, bug control tips, homemade bugspray recipes, and plants that attract good bugs. 52 pages.

Free Online Books: 

 

 

                        

Field Studies:

Basic Insect Observation Worksheet

Cricket StudiesResources for capturing, keeping, and studying crickets, with data worksheets, ideas for experiments, and sample two-week lesson plan.

Science In Your Garden
Category: Science
Tags: science for kids garden earth science life science

If you’re looking for some hands-on activities to study earth and life science, head out to a garden. It’s a living lab that affords all kinds of opportunities to observe science concepts in the natural world, such as:

 

  • interdependence in an environment

  • life cycles and changes

  • adaptations and biodiversity

  • human impact on the environment.

While in the field, kids get a chance to be the scientists by asking questions, making observations, and coming up with explanations for what they see based on evidence. They can define problems they may encounter in a garden (eg. a plant-damaging pest), and gather additional information to brainstorm solutions.

For an idea of the kinds of investigations that can be done in a garden, visit Nature Works Everywhere, which provides a variety of video lessons and activity guides for topics such as:

The site also has several How-To Garden Videos.

 

Here are some free garden exploration units for grades 1 - 4. Each unit - Pondering Plants, Soil Stories, Garden Pollinators, and Garden Habitats - includes six lessons.

Additional free resources:

 

Here are some more ideas from KidsGardening.

 

Free Reader:

 

 

For Middle and High School Grades

 

From the Ground Up, The Science of Soil has free lesson plans and labs on a variety of soil topics including composition and nutrients; there are also free family activities for testing your soil, careers in soil science, and a garden guide.

 

Learn about diversity by tallying how many different species live in your neighborhood. 

 

 

10 Free Resources for Learning Chemistry
Category: Science
Tags: chemistry for kids chemistry of matter chemistry experiments science experiments for kids

Explore chemistry concepts using a variety of free resources, including video lessons and demos, labs and activities, worksheets and games: 

1. American Chemical Society has lesson units and activities for elementary, middle school, and high school chemistry that can be downloaded for free:

  • Inquiry in Action: Elementary through middle school students learn key concepts through a series of activities. 
  • Middle School Chemistry:  Six chapters of lesson plans can be downloaded covering matter, changes of state, density, the periodic table and bonding, the water molecule, and chemical change. Each chapter includes animations and activities.

2. GPB EducationGeorgia Public Broadcasting provides free fundamentals of chemistry and physics courses for high school students. The content is delivered through 30-minute video lessons, and accompanying note-taking guides and worksheets.

3. Creative Chemistry: This site provides PDF worksheets and guides, and PowerPoints on a number of chemistry topics. There’s a molecules section that allows you to view and manipulate molecular models, and a section with chemistry games and puzzles.

4. Chemistry Now: A weekly, online video series that explores the science of the everyday. The short (5-minute) programs explain the chemistry behind ordinary objects and occurrences, such as cheeseburgers and chocolate, changing leaves and the fear response. The series also takes a look at chance discoveries in chemistry (like Kevlar) , and the work of today’s top scientists.

 

5. Heating PlasticsLearn more about plastics with this interactive game. 

6.   Periodic Table of Videos: As its name implies, this site is a modern version of the Periodic Table of Elements, with short videos explaining each element’s significance and how they’re used. 

7. goREACT: From the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, this site lets you create virtual chemical reactions by dragging elements from the periodic table to a “reaction area." 

8. Chemical Symbols Game: This game is designed to help players identify the first 92 elements by their symbols. Players must combine the correct elements in the "reactor" to make various compounds. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more links on chemical equations and the periodic table.

9. AP Chemistry Videos: This comprehensive collection is found at Curriki.

10. Chemistry GamesInstructions and patterns for making and playing several card and board games to teach chemistry topics. 

Free Readers: 

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