These mostly cover the first four weeks of my classes on ‘Changes to the Earth’s Surface’. We get through a lot of cool stuff, as you can see.
General Science, and Evolution
“Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding” (book) by Bernie Nebel. This is the first book in a series of four, aimed at primary-aged children. I like his books and his approach to teaching science. This book is designed in four strands, roughly Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Earth and Space Science. He doesn’t shy away from exposing young children to high-level concepts, but each lesson builds on the one before and he always says what prior knowledge he expects.
I started my pre-school science classes using this book. I have deviated from his structures as I find it hard to follow anyone else’s lessons too rigidly. I also find there is too much use of ‘discussion’ pre or post the hands-on activities. But I still use many of his ideas.
A website created by the University of Berkeley, in California.The xenosmilus activity we did in Week 1 was recommended on this site. It has loads of resources and links. I haven’t looked at them all. However, I particularly like their ‘How Science Works’ flowchart. It has been adapted for different ages, although those with pre-readers should note that all versions of the flowchart are text-heavy. It would be good to have a purely pictoral version – maybe that’s feedback we could leave on the site.
I also like their notes for teachers, that are divided into different stages, and suggest what is best to focus on for different aged children, taking into consideration what they will be interested in at each level.
Created by the same people as the above Understanding Science site, with some of the same links and resources, but focussed specifically on Evolution.
Another wealth of information and links, although not set out as well as the above sites, and with a very North American focus.
‘Bones Rock!’, by Peter Larson and Kristin Donnan (book). Aimed at children, but packed full of information, not just about the discipline of palaeontology but also the scientific method. Printed by Invisible Cities Press, ISBN 1-931-229-35-X.
“Digging into Deep Time”, by Paul Willis and Abbie Thomas. Aimed at adults. Takes a small number of key Australian sites and uses them to explain the history of living creatures on Earth.
Solar System and Cosmology
George’s Secret Key to the Universe, written by Lucy and Stephen Hawking. Any child who is interested in astronomy or the solar system would do far worse than to read or to listen to this book. My boys had this as a bedtime story a few years ago and we all learned a lot about the solar system. I spotted a copy in Desire Books, Manly, our local secondhand bookshop. If you’re lucky it may still be there.
One of our families brought along the ‘Big Picture’ book by John Long to our house. This would fit into either of the Cosmology or Earth Science categories. It is a great book about the history of our universe, providing a pictorial overview of what happened when.
Earth Science and Geology
As mentioned previously, Cracking Up is a great book explaining weathering and erosion.
Short promotional video about sand grains (for younger group)
“Earthly Treasure” by Kate Petty and Jennie Maizels is a pop-up book full of information about Earth Science and minerals. (Look out for other pop-up books by this duo on many other subjects.)
Beautiful TedEd video with pop-up book to explain Pangaea and movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates.
What is a volcano? Also briefly includes plate boundaries.
The Hottest Place on Earth from MinuteEarth.
Note: Many of these videos were first found on The Kid Should See This, which is a great blog for children who learn well from videos. I have given up following the blog myself, because there are just too many videos posted for me to keep up, but I still use it to search for specific videos from time-to-time.