Today’s review is on the book Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers by Funtastic Unit Studies. This book is by Susan Kilbride; we received a physical copy of the book in the mail, and did two units from it with our 4 year old, 6 year old, and 8 year old kids.
This book has 20 units of science material, plus an answer key at the back. It’s a fairly hefty paperback book with a lot of information in it. The recommended age range is 4-13 years old, with each unit marked with the suggested age range next to it in the table of contents. There are few reproducibles scattered throughout the lessons, and there is a test at the end of each chapter that you could print if you like, or you can give the test orally.
I decided to tackle the Ch 9, the Plants Unit, for a few reasons: first, my kids love plants and gardening, and second, because there were some cool things in there that we have never done, even though the kids garden on their own and we have talked about plants and seeds quite a bit. The experiments looked like fun. There are 8 parts of this unit including the review, and each has multiple activities in it.
How We Used This Unit:
Part 1: Introduction. The activity for this day is to create a vegetable tray and talk about the various parts of the plant that we eat (roots, stems, fruit, leaves, flowers, or seeds) This was review for us, but a lot of fun. We also talked about other things that are made of plants like rope and clothing.
Part 2: Seeds. The activity for this day was to collect seeds. It’s over 100 degrees outside (by a lot!), so I opted to go through our seed collection for the garden instead. The kids have enjoyed planting seeds every year, and we have a wide variety of seeds now: fat, thin, tiny, and gigantic. We also “planted” alfalfa sprouts on the kitchen counter for sandwiches.
Part 3: Roots. We talked about what roots do and the kids drew pictures of plants complete with roots. We also watched a YouTube video of an acorn sprouting via time lapse on YouTube, which was really fun to watch.
Part 4: Stems. The lesson for this day was to talk about the parts of the stem (sapwood, heartwood, bark, and pith), then make a paper plate model of the cross-section of a stem. Instead of using paper plates, we cut out three sizes of construction paper, pasted them together, and labeled the parts.
Part 5: Leaves. The activity for this day was to collect leaves and make leaf rubbings
Part 6: Flowers. There are a lot of options for learning about flowers; we have no flowers in bloom here, right now, but the kids remember the beautiful wildflowers and sunflowers we grew not too long ago. We talked about flowers, but didn’t do one of the listed activities which include cookies, pressing flowers, and making tissue paper flowers.
Part 7: Growing Plants. This one was tricky for us. The listed activities include starting a vegetable garden (not much will grow right now!), planting tubers, and growing flowers in a clay pot. We wound up talking about the potatoes we have growing (the kids helped plant them a few months ago), and talking about the plants already growing in our garden (just parsley and tomatoes right now until it cools off).
Part 8: Review. This day is for going over what you learned and is a 15 question oral “quiz”, which was fun to do. It’s more of a guessing game or riddles than a hard “test”.
All told, this book is very worth it if you love to do unit studies with your kids. This unit, as well as the Atoms and Molecules unit, are offered FREE right now if you want to check this curriculum out before you buy it. As of right now, you can get this book on Amazon for $15.26 and have it shipped free if you have Amazon Prime. It’s a fun way to teach science with a hands-on approach. The author also has additional freebies here.
If you want to read more reviews like this, check out the Review Crew at the link below. They are an awesome group of ladies who all home school in diverse environments, and we all used this curriculum for the last six weeks. Go check them out!